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Zé Vicente (Lindolfo Mesquita)

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Journalist, Poet, Political activist



Zé Vicente (Lindolfo Mesquita)

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 13/06/2022

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation - Specialist in Scientific Documentation

Zé Vicente, a popular poet from Pará, Lindolfo Marques de Mesquita’s pseudonym, was born in Belém on January 11, 1898.


In the 1920s, he made a career in journalism. He worked as a reporter at Folha do Norte, where he created a column with comedic chronicles, titled In the Police and in the Streets, under the pseudonym Zé Vicente, then began to collaborate with O Estado do Pará, also as a chronicler-humorist.


With the Revolution of 1930, he lost his job at the newspaper, because he was a civil servant and identified with the deposed regime. In February 1932, he published on Guajarina an autobiographical cordel pamphlet narrating the situation:

I almost didn’t know
If I still was Brazilian,
For even my fellow citizens
Kicked me out of the yard
And I lived, people,
On my own land — foreigner.
— You suck, you bastard,
You will go to Arumanduba -
A guy told me one day,
Instantly making a “truba”,
As if I had been
Some kid cotuba.
I sell the hard thing
I went to the Brazilian Lloyd
And I bought a ticket
To Rio de Janeiro
Where in November I arrived
With very little money
In Rio de Janeiro
I was enchanted,
But I also ate the bread
That Satan’s rejected
For the money I had
Soon had ended […]

Back in Pará, he gets closer to the new powerful ones, mainly Major Joaquim Cardoso de Magalhães Barata, joining the Revolution and becoming a rebel:
The Revolution was good,
It was for the “corner”, “here”
Because it came to recover
The region of Jari
That I know how beautiful it is
From a writing I do read.

Probably his first pamphlet published by Guajarina was The bad luck, the cross and the devil: An amusing story about the unluckiest man in the world (with 38 six-lined stanzas), but the printing date is unknown. He also published, before 1930, The Pixininga (22 six-lined stanzas), which tells the story of a steer, as it is called.
In May 1931, when he was “exiled” in Rio de Janeiro, he wrote the cordel The Saint of Coqueiros, narrating a mystical case that occurred near the capital of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte. In 1932, this pamphlet was published by Guajarina, as well as two others: The mysterious abduction of Lindbergh’s son and The naval battle of Itacoatiara.


Besides being a journalist, a political activist and a cordel poet, Lindolfo Mesquita held many positions in public administration and politics in his home state. He was mayor of the city of Vigia, during the Estado Novo (1933); director of the State Department of Press and Propaganda (DEIP), in 1943; director of the Library and Public Archives, from 1944 to 1947; state representative from 1947 to 1950; judge of the Court of Auditors of the State of Pará (1951) and its president for two terms (1957/1958 and 1967), also occupying, from 1965 to 1966, the position of vice-president. He retired on February 8, 1968.


Author of several cordel pamphlets, in the late 1930s he wrote the classic The Animal strike, with 62 six-lined stanzas. A critique on customs about the uselessness of strikes in the animal world. Published by Guajarina in 1939, it has numerous editions published both in Pará and in the Northeast of Brazil.
Zé Vicente addressed political and social issues, as well as stories about animals and bullies.
In the 1930s, he engaged in the cycle of revolutions, producing, in 1937, The coup on Mr. Gegê or The cry of representatives. A masterpiece of the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas, with 62 six-lined stanzas. The cordel Work hard by Armando Salles and Zé Américo is from the same year, another political satire on the Estado Novo.
In the 1940s, his work deals with World War II (1939 to 1945), producing seven pamphlets about it. The following is an alphabetical list of his cordéis:
• The sinking of the German cruiser “Graff Spee” (1940);
• Now I am a rebel (1932);
• Germany eating fire (1945);
• Germany v England (1940);
• The bad luck, the cross and the devil (no date indication);
• The battle of Germany v Russia (1941);
• The naval battle of Itacoatiara (1932);
• Brazil broke up with them (1943);
• Lampião’s combat and death (1938);
• The end of the war (no date indication);
• The coup on Mr. Gegê or The cry of representatives (1937);
• The animal strike (1939);
• Italy’s war with Abyssinia (1935);
• Complete stories in verses by the famous Zé Vicente, the warrior of Ponte Nova and Furtado de Campos (no date indication);
• Japan is going down (1941);
• The rebel monkey (1938);
• The granddaughter of Cancão de Fogo: Complete story of Chica Cancão (1938);
• Work hard by Armando Salles and Zé Américo (1937);
• Work hard by Chico Raimundo with Zé Mulato (1937);
• The mysterious abduction of Lindbergh’s son (1932);
• The Saint of Coqueiros (1931).
Lindolfo Mesquita, or Zé Vicente, died in the city of Belém on January 11, 1975.


Recife, October 17, 2012.


sources consulted

LINDOLFO Marques de Mesquita. Disponível em: Acesso em: 11 out. 2012.

LINDOLFO Marques de Mesquita [Foto neste texto]. Disponível em: Acesso em: 24 de janeiro de 2018.

LACERDA, Franciane Gama. Imprensa e Poesia de Cordel no Pará nas primeiras décadas do século XX. In: ENCONTRO REGIONAL DE HISTÓRIA, 19, 2008, São Paulo. Anais [...] Poder, Violência e Exclusão. São Paulo: ANPUH/SP-USP, 2008.

SALLES, Vicente. Repente & cordel: literatura popular em versos na Amazônia. Rio de Janeiro: Funarte, Instituto Nacional do Folclore, 1985.

ZÉ Vicente. Introdução e seleção Vicente Salles. São Paulo: Hedra, 2000.  

how to quote this text

GASPAR, Lúcia. Zé Vicente (Lindolfo Mesquita). In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2012. Available from: Access on: Month. day, year. (Ex.: Aug. 6, 2009.)