​ Ana Luisa Amaral
Ana Luísa Amaral at the 2013 Gothenburg Book Fair (Photo: Mattias Blomgren via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

The poet and academic Ana Luísa Amaral was born in Lisbon in 1956 but lived, for most of her life, in Leça da Palmeira, a seaside suburb to the north of Porto. After the publication of her first collection in 1990, she quickly became one of Portugal’s best-loved poets, writing 17 books of poetry and texts in many other genres, not to mention extensive academic research, newspaper articles and public radio broadcasts. Although she did not start publishing until 1990, she had written poems since childhood. She did not consider poetry to be her main profession (that was academia), but a compulsion, an activity she carried out with passion. 

In her first collection, Minha Senhora de Mim (1990), she began the practice of dialoguing intertextually with other poets, from antiquity to the present, from Portugal and further afield. Other hallmarks of her poetry are its celebration of difference, in all its senses, and its attention to the everyday joys and challenges of life, especially the expression of women’s lives.

After her undergraduate degree, Amaral studied for a Master’s at the University of Coimbra, where she also started reading feminist literature and theory. She went on to complete a doctorate on Emily Dickinson, a poet who would inspire her throughout her career: the title of her collected works, O Olhar Diagonal das Coisas (2022), references ‘Tell all the Truth but tell it Slant’. 

For many years Amaral taught in the Department of Anglo-American Studies at the University of Porto, where she pioneered the teaching of Women’s Studies and Queer Studies in an education system which was still resistant to new ways of thinking about literature and culture. In 1997 she and her former supervisor Maria Irene Ramalho co-authored the ground-breaking essay ‘Sobre a Escrita Feminina’ and eight years later she co-edited, with Ana Gabriela Macedo, the Dicionário da Crítica Feminista (2005), which introduced influential Anglo-American and French feminist texts and concepts to Portuguese readers. 

She was a founder member of the University of Porto’s ‘Institute for Comparative Literature’ (the ILCML, established 1985), named after her friend and colleague Margarida Losa. Ever active and keen to stimulate meetings, research and conferences, Amaral became the ILCML’s Director and Leader of the ‘Intersexualities’ Research Group, one of several that make up the Institute. She headed up projects such the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the publication of the feminist classic Novas Cartas Portuguesas (1972), overseeing an annotated edition of the original text and a volume of essays on the book’s international impact, New Portuguese Letters to the World, co-edited with Marinela Freitas (2015).

As well as being a committed educator, and poet, Amaral supported the left-wing Bloco de Esquerda party, taking a stand against the financial restrictions and austerity measures imposed on Portugal by the ‘troika’ (the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank) in the wake of the post-2008 Economic Crisis. She was elected to the Municipal Assembly of Porto in 2013 and in the same year wrote a series of critical crónicas (opinion pieces) for the daily newspaper Público

Amaral’s poetry, like her politics, reflects her interest in all of humanity, no matter how humble, and her determination to speak for those without a voice: refugees, the elderly, the poor. In her last collection, Mundo (2022), her attention shifted further, towards the more-than-human world. Her queer sensibility led her towards a poetic exploration of the sensibilities and lives of other species, like magpies, or ants.

From 2017, she presented a weekly radio programme for the national broadcaster RTP2, called O Som que os Versos Fazem ao Abrir. In conversation with journalist and broadcaster Luís Caetano, she would introduce the audience to poems and poets she admired, translating many of them into Portuguese for the first time This was just one of the ways she demonstrated her life-long commitment to being a public intellectual, and championing and making accessible the enlivening powers of poetry.

Amaral was an experienced translator, of poetry, notably Emily Dickinson and Shakespeare’s sonnets, but also prose, including Patricia Highsmith and John Updike. As her fame grew and her work was awarded prizes (culminating in Spain’s Prémio Rainha Sofia de Poesia Ibero-Americana in 2021) and translated into other languages, she was regularly invited to attend literary festivals, academic conferences and poetry readings around the world. She built up a particularly fruitful relationship with her translator into English, Margaret Jull Costa; they often presented their work at joint readings, touring publications around Europe and the United States, clearly enjoying the collaborative process. Jull Costa’s translation of ‘Testament’ was printed in The Guardian on International Women’s Day 2017. 

In 2007, Amaral was awarded her first major prize, the Portuguese Correntes d’Escritas prize, shortly followed by the Italian Giuseppe Acerbi prize. In 2008 she won the prestigious Grande Prémio APE (Associação Portuguesa de Escritores). The accolades continued, not just for her poetry: PEN Clube Português de Novelística (2014); Prémio de Ensaio Jacinto do Prado Coelho (2018); and the Prémio Vergílio Ferreira, in 2021. That same year, she was only the third Portuguese poet to win Spain’s Prémio Rainha Sofia de Poesia Ibero-Americana, awarded at the University of Salamanca during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ana Luísa Amaral was one of the main authors due to be feted at the 2022 Porto Book Fair, a special tribute from the city she called home, but her untimely death shortly beforehand occasioned a different kind of honour. A tree was planted in her memory in the Avenida das Tílias in the Gardens of the Palácio de Cristal. Her passing also prompted many eulogies, obituaries, special editions and issues of journals.

Ana Luísa Amaral was a great friend and supporter of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing (CCWW) at the ILCS. She participated in the Centre’s first event, ‘Writing Childhood’, in 2009, and was one of the keynote speakers at the Motherhood Conference in 2013. Recordings of her presentations at both events are available via the CCWW website.

Original page compiled by Teresa Louro; updated (2023) by Claire Williams (Oxford) and Andrzej Stuart-Thompson



Minha Senhora de Quê (Fora do Texto, 1990; new ed. Lisbon: Quetzal, 1999)

Coisas de Partir (Fora do Texto, 1993; new ed. Lisbon: Gótica, 2001)

Epopeias (Fora do Texto, 1994)

E Muitos Os Caminhos (Poetas de Letras, 1995)

Às Vezes o Paraíso (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1998; new ed. 2000)

Imagens (Porto: Campo das Letras, 2000)

Imagias (Lisbon: Gótica, 2002)

A Arte de ser Tigre (Lisbon: Gótica, 2003)

A Génese do Amor (Porto:Campo das Letras, 2005, 2006; Rio de Jeneiro: Gryphius, 2008)

Entre Dois Rios e Outras Noites (Porto: Campo das Letras, 2008)

Se Fosse um Intervalo (Lisbon: Dom Quixote, 2009)

Inversos: Poesia Reunida 1990-2010 (Lisbon: Dom Quixote, 2010)

Vozes (Lisbon: Dom Quixote, 2011, 2012, 2015; São Paulo: Iluminuras, 2013)

Escuro (Lisbon: Assírio e Alvim, 2014; São Paulo: Iluminuras, 2015)

E Todavia (Lisbon:Assírio e Alvim, 2015)

What’s in a Name (Lisbon: Assírio e Alvim, 2017)

Ágora (Lisbon: Assírio e Alvim, 2019)

Luzes (São Paulo: Iluminuras, 2021)

Mundo (Lisbon: Assírio e Alvim, 2021)

O Olhar Diagonal das Coisas (Lisbon: Assírio e Alvim, 2022)


Prospero morreu (Lisbon: Caminho, 2011)


Ara (Lisbon: Sextante, 2013; São Paulo: Iluminuras, 2016)

‘The Dying Animal’ in Do Branco ao Negro ed. by São José Almeida (Lisbon: Sextante, 2014, pp. 9-13)

‘A Voz’ in Bode Inspiratório / Escape Goat (Lisbon: Relógio d’Água, 2020)

Children’s Books

Gaspar, o Dedo Diferente e Outras Histórias (Porto: Campo das Letras, 1999; Porto: Civilização, 2011; Lisbon: Zero a Oito, 2019)

A História da Aranha Leopoldina (Porto: Campo das Letras, 2000; Porto: Civilização, 2010) 

A Relíquia [based on the novella by Eça de Queirós] (Vila Nova de Famalicão: Quasi, 2008)

Auto de Mofina Mendes [based on the play by Gil Vicente] (Vila Nova de Famalicao: Quasi, 2008)

A Tempestade [based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest] (Porto: Quidnovi 2011) 

Como Tu (Porto: Quidnovi, 2012; Lisbon: Zero a Oito, 2020)

Lengalenga de Lena, a Hiena (Lisbon: Zero a Oito, 2019)

Non-Fiction and Academic (selected)

‘Sobre a “Escrita Feminina”’ [with Maria Irene Ramalho de Sousa Santos] (Oficina do CES, no.90 [Coimbra: Centro de Estudos Sociais], 1997, pp. 1-41)

Dicionário de Crítica Feminista [ed. with Ana Gabriela Macedo] (Porto: Afrontamento, 2005)

‘Aranhas e Musas: representações de poeta, subjectividades e identidades na poesia’ [with Rosa Martelo] (Cadernos de Literatura Comparada 14/15: 2, 2006, pp. 31-63)

Novas Cartas Portuguesas 40 Anos Depois  [ed. with Marinela Freitas] (Lisbon: Dom Quixote, 2014)

New Portuguese Letters to the World [ed. with Marinela Freitas] (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2015)

‘Poetry, Love and Potatoes’ in Motherhood in Literature and Culture: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Europe ed. by Gill Rye, Victoria Browne, Adalgisa Giorgio, Emily Jeremiah and Abigail Lee Six (London: Routledge, 2017)

Arder a palavra e outros incêndios (Lisbon: Relógio d’Água, 2018)

Do corpo: outras habitações Identidades e desejos outros em alguma poesia portuguesa [ed. with Marinela Freitas] (Lisbon: Assírio e Alvim, 2018)

E Contudo, Elas Movem-se! Mulheres e Ciência [ed. with Marinela Freitas] (Porto: Universidade do Porto, 2019)

Legados e Heranças – Políticas (Inter)Sexuais Hoje [ed. with Marinela Freitas, Maria de Lurdes Sampaio and Alexandra Moreira da SIlva] (Porto: Afrontamento, 2020)

‘O Corpo é Poroso ao Mundo’ in Mulheres, Artes e Ditadura. Diálogos Interartisticas e narrativas da Memoria ed. by Ana Gabriela Macedo, Márcia Oliveira, Margarida Esteves Pereira, Joana Passos and Laís Natalino (Vila Nova de Famalicão: Húmus, 2022, pp. 171-177)

Translations by the Poet

Xanana Gusmão, Mar Meu/My Sea of Timor [with Kristy Sword] (Porto: Granito, 1998)

Eunice de Souza, Poemas Escolhidos (Lisbon: Cotovia, 2001)

John Updike, Ponto Último e Outros Poemas (Porto: Civilização, 2009)

Emily Dickinson, Cem Poemas (Lisbon: Relógio d'Água, 2010)

Emily Dickinson, Duzentos Poemas (Lisbon: Relógio d’Água, 2015)

Patricia Highsmith, Carol (Lisbon: Relógio d'Água, 2015)

William Shakespeare, 30 Sonetos (Lisbon: Relógio d'Água, 2015)

Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Seven Songs of Decline and Other Poems [with Margaret Jull Costa, ed. Ricardo Vasconcelos] (London: Francis Boutle, 2020)

Louise Glück, A Íris Selvagem (Lisbon: Relógio d'Água, 2020)

Arnold Wesker, Primavera Selvagem (Vila Nova de Famalicão: Húmus, 2020)

Louise Glück, Vita Nova (Lisbon: Relógio d'Água, 2021)

Emily Dickinson, Herbarium (Lisbon: Relógio d'Água, 2022)

Margaret Atwood, Políticas de Poder (Lisbon: Relógio d'Água, 2022)

Translations into Foreign Languages


Wachten op Odysseus: Gedichten 1990–2011: een keuze [Translation of selected poems by Arie Pos] (Utrecht: uitgeverij IJZER, 2011)


Nude: A Study in Poignancy [Translation of selected poems by Margaret Jull Costa] (Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2019)

The Art of Being a Tiger. Poems by Ana Luísa Amaral [Translation of a selection of poems by Margaret Jull Costa] (Oxford: Aris & Phillips, 2016)

The Art of Being a Tiger. Selected Poems [Translation of a selection of poems by Margaret Jull Costa] (Dartmouth: MA: Tagus Press, 2018)

What’s in a Name? [Translation of What’s in a Name? by Margaret Jull Costa] (New York: New Directions, 2019; London: Penguin, 2019)

World [Translation of Mundo by Margaret Jull Costa] (New York: New Directions, 2023)


Comme Toi [Translation of Como Tu by Catherine Dumas] (Paris: Editions Theatrales, 2013)

Images [Translation of Images by Catherine Dumas] (Pau: Vallongues Éditions, 2000)

L’Art d’être tigre [Translation of A Arte de ser Tigre by Catherine Dumas) (Paris: Phare du Cousseixo, 2015)


Was ist ein Name. Geduchte [Translation of What’s in a Name? by Michael Kegler and Piero Salabe] (Munich: Hanser Verlag, 2021)


La Genesi dell’Amore [Translation of A Genêse do Amor by Piero Ceccucci] (Florence: Florence University Press, 2009)

La Scala di Giacobbe: Poesia di Ana Luísa Amaral [Translation of selected poems by Livia Apa] (Milan: Manni, 2010)

Poesie [Translation of selected poems by Livia Apa] (Lisbon:  Instituto Camões, 2008)

Voci [Translation of Vozes by Chiara De Luca] (Bologna: Kolibris, 2018)

What's in a Name e altri versi [Translation of What’s in a Name? and other poems by Livia Apa] (Milan: Crocetti, 2019)

Mondo [Translation of Mundo by Livia Apa] (Milan: Crocetti, 2022)


What’s in a Name [Translation of Whats in a Name? by Barbara Juršič] (Ljublana: Beletrina, 2021)


Ana Luisa Amaral, Antología Poética [Translation of selected poems by Nidia Hernandez] (Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores, 2012)

Como Tu [Translation of Como Tu by Lauren Mendinueta] (Bogotá: Taller de Edición-Rocca, 2014)

El Exceso Más Perfecto [Translation of selected poems by Pedro Serra] (Salamanca: Ediciones de la Universidad de Salamanca, 2021)

Entre otras noches, Antologia Poética [Translation of selected poems by Lauren Mendinueta] (Bogotá: Taller de Edición-Rocca, 2013)

Mundo [Translation of Mundo by Paula Abramo] (Madrid: Sexto Piso, 2021)

Oscuro [Translation of Escuro by Luis Maria Marina] (Tarazona: Zaragoza, Olifante, 2015)

Oscuro [Translation of Escuro by trans. Blanca Luz Pulido] (San Nicolás de los Garza:  Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Léon, 2017)

Qué Hay en un Nombre [Translation of What’s in a Name? by Pedro Rapoula] (Bogotá: Puro Pássaro, 2020)

What's in a Name [Translation of What’s in a Name? by Paula Abramo] (Madrid: Sexto Piso, 2020)


Mellan tva floder och andra natter [Translation of Entre dois rios e outras noites by Ulla Gabrielson] (Gothenburg: Diadorim, 2009)

Mitt Klärobskyra, En Antologi Poesi av Ana Luísa Amaral [Translation of selected poems by Ulla Gabrielson] (Gothenburg: Diadorim, 2021)


Alonso, Cláudia Pazos: ‘The Transnational Dissemination and Reception of Portuguese Poetry: Espanca, Andresen and Amaral’ (2022) availble online at https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:8f8ee316-3d54-4396-bc53-d985d5bf394f/download_file?file_format=application%2Fpdf&safe_filename=Pazos_Alonso_2022_the_transnational_dissemination_.pdf&type_of_work=Journal+article

Alves, Ida: ‘Da alegria na poética de Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Colóquio Letras, 212, 2023, pp. 9-18)

Dumas, Catherine: ‘L’écho comme pratique allusive: pour une poétique de l’entre-deux dans la poésie de Ana Luísa Amaral’ in L’Allusion en Poesie, Études Reunies par Jacques Lajarrige et Christian Moucelet  (Clermont-Ferrand: Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal, 2002, pp. 421-432)

─: Dumas, Catherine: ‘O mundo calibanesco de Ana Luísa Amaral’ in Cadernos de Literatura Comparada, 39, 2018, pp. 39-52)

Fernandes, Ana Raquel: ‘A Poetics of Resistance – Four Exceptional Voices in 20th and 21st-century Portugal’ in Beyond Binaries: Sex, Sexualities and Gender in the Lusophone World ed. by Paulo Pepe and Ana Raquel Fernandes (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009). 

Freitas, Marinela: ‘“Meu Senhor de Quê”: Travestimentos da voz na Poesia de Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Pontos de Interrogação: Revista de Crítica Cultural 10:2, 2020, pp. 145-163)

Freitas, Marinela: ‘“Neither Man nor Woman”: Ana Luísa Amaral's Queerful Poetics’ (Portuguese Studies, 36:2, 2020, pp. 220-235) 

Klobucka, Anna: O Formato Mulher: A Emergencia da Autoria Feminina na Poesia Portuguesa (Coimbra: Angelus Novos, 2009)

Lima, Isabel Pires de: ‘Concertos/desconsertos: arte poética e busca do sujeito na poesia de Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Cadernos de Literatura Comparada, 2, 2001, pp. 49-61)

Lima, Isabel Pires de: ‘Invariantes para o olhar diagonal’ (Colóquio Letras, 212, 2023, pp. 25-31)

Lopes, Silvina Rodrigues: ‘A proximidade do caos’ (Público, 14 May 1993, p. 7)

Lourenço, Eduardo: ‘Obscura luz’ [Review of Escuro] (Colóquio Letras, 187, 2014, pp. 198-205)

Louro, Teresa: ‘Ana Luísa Amaral’s “The Genealogy of Love”’ (2001) available online at http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/3067/ 

Magalhães, Isabel Allegro de: ‘“O gesto, e não as mãos”. A figuração do feminino na obra de Fernando Pessoa: uma gramática da mulher evanescente’ (Colóquio Letras, 140/141, 1996, pp. 17-47)

Martelo, Rosa Maria: ‘O salto do tigre’ in Rosa Maria Martelo, A Forma Informe: Leituras de Poesia (Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 2010, pp. 264-273)

─: Esplendores de nada, ou a nostalgia do sublime’ (Relâmpago, 18:4, 2006, pp. 191-196)

─: ‘Receita contra a melancolia’ (Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias, 31 January 1996, pp. 22-23)

─ : ‘Maneira de ao desviar ser centro’ (Colóquio Letras, 212, 2023, pp. 19-24)

Medeiros, Paulo de: ‘Introduction: What the hammer? What the anvil?’ in Ana Luísa Amaral, The Art of Being a Tiger: Poems (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2016, pp. 1-11)

─: ‘Beauty, power, and desire : notes on Ana Luísa Amaral’s poetics’ (Journal of Romance Studies, 19:3, 2019, pp. 469-485)

─: ‘Blood Evocations: Subversion, Resistance, and Afterimage in Ana Luísa Amaral's Ágora’ (Portuguese Studies, 36:2, 2020, pp. 190-205)

Morão, Paula: ‘Prólogo: O manto mais brando do pensar – Lendo A génese do Amor, de Ana Luísa Amaral’ [Introduction] in Ana Luísa Amaral, A génese do amor (Rio de Janeiro: Gryphus, 2007, pp. vii-xv)

Morna, Fátima Freitas: ‘O Excesso mais Perfeito’ in Século de Ouro. Antologia Crítica da Poesia Portuguesa do Século XX ed. by Osvaldo Manuel Silvestre and Pedro Serra (Braga/Coimbra/Lisbon: Angelus Novus & Cotovia, 2002, pp. 194-201)

Ramalho, Maria Irene: ‘Paraíso de Poeta – Ana Luísa Amaral de Minha Senhora de Quê a Às Vezes o Paraíso’ (Tabacaria, 6, 1998, pp. 63-69)

─: ‘Re-inventing Orpheus: Women and Poetry Today’ (Portuguese Studies, 14, 1998, pp. 122-137)

─: ‘Prefácio, Dez Anos Depois’ and ‘Duplo Posfácio’ in Minha Senhora de Quê (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1999, pp. 7-14 and pp. 95-98)

─: ‘Versos inversos’ (Colóquio/Letras, 177, May 2011, pp. 191-199)

─: ‘“Quando o lírico interrompe o épico – e vice-versa”: Apresentação de Escuro, de Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Abril – Revista do Núcleo de Estudos de Literatura Portuguesa e Africana da UFF, 6:13, 2014, pp. 161-165)

─: ‘O lírico e o poético: a propósito de Ágora, de Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Revista da Anpoll, 51.3, 2020, pp. 225-229)

─: ‘Próspero Morreu? Amor e Magia na Teoria e Prática Poéticas de Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Colóquio Letras, 212, 2023, pp. 32-36)

Silvestre, Osvaldo Manuel: ‘Recordações da Casa Amarela – A Poesia de Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Relâmpago, 3:10, 1998, pp. 37-57)

─: ‘Imagens (d)e bastidores, ou ‘as labaredas calmas’ do revisionismo de Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Inimigo Rumor, 11, 2001, pp. 63-70)

Stennett, Tom: ‘Ana Luísa Amaral and the Portuguese Canon’ (STAAR, 7, 2017): 23-31) available online at https://st-annes-mcr.org.uk/staar/publications/staar-7-2017/stennett-2017-ana-luisa-amaral-and-the-portuguese-canon/

Interviews/in the Media

Amaral, Ana Luísa: ‘Also our sea. Of solidarity: my Europe’ (22 Poesie Festival Berlin Media Library, 2021) available online at  https://2021.poesiefestival.org/en/media/ana-luisa-amaral-also-our-sea-of-solidarity-my-europe/ 

Carvalho, Paula: ‘A previously unpublished interview with Ana Luísa Amaral’ (University of Porto Press, 2020) available online at https://www.up.pt/press/a-previously-unpublished-interview-with-ana-luisa-amaral

Costa, Margaret Jull: ‘Obituary: Ana Luísa Amaral’ (The Guardian, 24 August 2022) available online at  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/aug/24/ana-luisa-amaral-obituary

Constenla, Tereixa: ‘Muere Ana Luísa Amaral, la escritora que vivía la poesía como una necesidad’ (El País, 6 August 2022) available online at  https://elpais.com/cultura/2022-08-06/fallece-ana-luisa-amaral-la-escritora-que-vivia-la-poesia-como-una-necesidad.html

Leal, Diogo Costa: ‘Ana Luísa Amaral: “Preciso da minha língua à minha volta”’ Jornal de Notícias (30 Abril 2015) available online at https://www.jn.pt/artes/ana-luisa-amaral-preciso-da-minha-lingua-a-minha-volta-4540937.html

Ribeiro, Anabela Mota: ‘Ana Luísa Amaral Não Sabe Ser Cautelosa’ (Público, (11 December 2011) available online at https://www.publico.pt/tema/jornal/ana-luisa-amaral-nao-sabe-ser-cautelosa-23546482

Ruiz, Valorie and Matt Fowler: ‘Interview with Ana Luísa Amaral’ (Poetry International Online, 2018) available online at https://www.poetryinternationalonline.com/interview-with-ana-luisa-amaral-by-valorie-ruiz-and-matt-fowler/


‘“Tudo aquilo que fiz, fiz com paixão”. A entrevista à TVI em 2019 de Ana Luísa Amaral (1956-2022)’ (CNN, 2019) available online at https://cnnportugal.iol.pt/ana-luisa-amaral/obituario/tudo-aquilo-que-fiz-fiz-com-paixao-a-entrevista-a-tvi-em-2019-de-ana-luisa-amaral-1956-2022/20220806/62ee6a690cf2ea367d48a203

Gonçalves, Vítor: ‘Grande Entrevista’ (RTP, 29, 6 August 2022) available online at https://www.rtp.pt/programa/tv/p41641/e29