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A special thank you to those who have passed it on to others. We are heading quickly to amazing page visits to this blog! Welcome to folks from all over the country and other countries as well, including Lisbon!!

The "Village", as it was called, is located in the northwest corner of the city of Taunton, Massachusetts U.S.A. It covers about 1 square mile with the center being School Street. A large portion of the Village population was Portuguese when I was growing up.

This blog covers a lot of the history of the Village, much to do with my years as a child there: 1940 through the late 1950's. I do have many wonderful photos and information prior to that that and will share those as well. Always looking for MORE PHOTOS AND MORE STORIES TO TELL.

If you would like to send photos or share a memory of growing up in the Village
e-mail me at
feel free to comment on the posts. Directions are on the right side of the blog posts. Jump in, the water is fine and it is easy!!!

I will be posting photographs but not identifying individuals unless I have permission or they are a matter of public record. It you wish to give me permission, please let me know.

I am looking for any and all photos of the Village...

Please note: the way blogs work is that the latest post is first. It you would like to start from the beginning of the blog, check out the post labels on the right of the blog and go from there. Thanks.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Wordsmiths, word artists, fabricators of the beauty of the written word touching our hearts.  That is what I believe to be the definition of a poet, cousin to writers and songsters.  One such came forth from our Village, after my time and too soon gone in his own time, but making
himself live on through his art.

I introduce you to the late, Jose "Joe Gouveia", poet laureate of Cape Cod
and a son of the School Street Village.

Joe Gouveia

Once again, threads of the Village wind themselves around our hearts, 
no matter how far we wander.  It is unusual to have so much current information on someone I write about. This time, we can read Joe's poems and actually see and hear him on You Tube.

Initially, some time back, I received information about Joe from Arlene Gouveia, one was his obituary and the other a listing of famous people from Taunton in which he was included.  I filed it ,as I often I do, until the time is ripe to research it at greater length .  I also had received an e-mail from a reader,  Elizabeth Gouveia Miner.  She wrote to tell me of her father, Joe Gouveia Sr.,who owned and operated Joe's Superette located on the corner of Wilbur and Purchase Streets in the Village.  Before Joe Senior had owned it, it had been owned by his in-laws, the Jardin family. A daughter of that family, Caroline, was a close early childhood friend and classmate before she and her family moved to California.  We lost touch with each other... until the daughter of Joe Gouveia Sr. and  sister of our poet, Elizabeth  Gouveia, connected us all over again. 
 Elizabeth gifted us once more by introducing us to her late brother and his achievements
culminating in his last book, 

Too soon, Joe left us.  He passed on at the age of 49 years. He died of cancer.  But, not before he created his poems about his journey and that of the Portuguese American experience. He graced the Village, the family and people who shaped him, leaving an heirloom 
for each of us who shared that experience with him.

                                            I wager not many villages have their own poet.


Above photograph: Joe Gouveia Sr. and his family.
From left to right: Ann Gouveia Frias.  paternal grandmother Isabel Gouveia, Lori Gouveia Fyfe, Joe's mother Mary Gouveia standing next to her husband Joe Sr.  who is and holding their son and our late poet: Joseph Gouveia.

            I recognize the house and the grapevine right next to it.
            Shared by Elizabeth this was taken 8 years before her arrival.

               Fellow poet, Martin Espada , describes that home beautifully as Joe growing up as:
                      " ...the lone brother in a sweet sea of sisters, a cherished son..."

In a poem by Joe himself entitled Fala Portuguese.he speaks of bigotry overcome by toughness, communal feasting, the pilgrimage to the old country and the return to the Americas when. "they always came back plus one.'  I can identify with this description of growing up in the Village as the culture of being fully Portuguese seeded itself in our hearts.

Our future poet (yes, he is ours) would have run about the Village as he grew getting into the mischief Village boys did in those days, attended St. Anthony's Church and heard the humming lullaby of the Portuguese language all around him.  He would have taken in  the culture just as he absorbed the air all around him. It would have been engraved on his soul.
                                                He would have breathed in Saudade.

His greatest poetic achievement, the book Saudades, was his first fully published work, and he tasted that achievement before sickness overpowered him. Besides his work, he was a presence that made him his adopted Cape Cod's Poet Laureate. It was written that he imbued 
the Cape and beyond with poetry.

We of Portuguese descent know what Saudade is.  Difficult to translate fully into English, its meaning goes beyond nostalgia to more of a yearning, a longing for something you can never have again.   "JoeGo", as he was sometimes called, captured that yearning in Saudade for us and all those who are descendants of those intrepid folk who came to America with courage and dignity. He wrote of growing up in Taunton, and right there he is ours! I do not speak Portuguese, to my dismay, I also do not read it.  Therefore, I cannot read the great poets of the Portuguese language.  But, Joe tells us, that we who grew up in the Village, descendants of immigrants, indeed have our own language, even if it dwells deep in our beings.  I so regret never having met Joe Gouveia, poet and person of great distinction.  I am honored to be able to use his sister's words and those of his friends and colleagues to speak of him here. The more I read and researched the more I found to admire and cherish.

Joe did not want to go to college, but his mother, the daughter of immigrants, and his father, also an immigrant, insisted. At Bridgewater State University he was asked to write a poem in one of his classes.  He did not want to, his professor insisted.  He wrote it in ten minutes in the men's room and the rest is the history we are reading about here.  He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry and went on for further studies as he honed his own work.

His accomplishments are so many, no doubt I will forget some.  He wrote the "Meter Man" column for the Barnstable Patriot newspaper, he was Poet-In-Residence at Cape Cod Community College, Cape Cod. Poet Laureate Massachusetts Poet of the Year 2001 (awarded by Cambridge Poetry Awards no less), Poetry Curator at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, hosted a weekly radio show on WOMR called The Poet's Corner as well as Poet's Corner Open Mik for 18 years.  He started the Cape Cod Poet's Theatre. He was a guest on numerous Television shows, including PBS, KDVS-FM University of California Davies, Radio Soulspeak and more. His poetry was published in six countries and four continents. He edited  numerous anthologies and opened for readings for Robert Pinksy, one time Poet for the United States who often was heard on PBS, among other noted poets.

He took poetry to nursing homes and loved open miks (microphones), he mentored many aspiring poets and became beloved because of his generosity. He spoke of his poetry in the rough as "lumps of clay.  Maybe a half page from a journal or five pages, some from here and some from there, ..forming a poem; I take the best of it, reshape it."  These words in an article ,authored by Lee Roscoe, further said hat Joe had worked as a construction worker and "there is somehow a good deal of hand hewn-heft, hammered rhythmically into his words, spoken or on the page. Joe's poems "carried secrets and layer upon  layer of experience and language you cannot absorb in one reading."

Joe taught  bringing "Keep the Rage on the Page" to juvenile delinquents. He mentored and encouraged burgeoning poet after poet.  This is the true sign of a real artist, this confidence, this love of the art and all those who follow it.

Joe and Maya Angelou

There are You Tubes of Joe reading. You can find them easily as they have his name.  Joe shared his experience with cancer with courage and you can see and hear his poem about the last of his treatments in  Joe Gouveia: In Place Live  on You Tube. He married the love of his life, Josy,  from Brazil.  They married on the beach after he had been told he had two months to live.
Two years were their gift after he had been given that dire diagnosis.
Those years were filled with love and creativity.

I urge you to listen to this next video of an interview with Joe...listen to the whole interview!  Take the time and hear how he laces his Portuguese heritage throughout.  Privileged am I to write this and share him with others around the world, for this where this blog reaches.  Privileged in that I knew Joe's father and his mother.  H wrote what is my heritage, too.

 Godspeed to you, Joe, I deeply regret never having met you. Your brief spell here was too short.  But, what a legacy, what a footprint you have left!  For that we thank you and we will remember, for your poetry is living on in our hearts.

Joe's friend, and a poet himself said:
"If Walt Whitman were alive today to hear America singing, he'd hear the voice of Joe Gouveia."

I end this post with this
 excerpt from the poem
The Distraction in Saudades
 by Joe Gouveia.  

All this work in retirement.  All those dreams of afterlife.
If there is a secret to this life, let it be flowers and grass,
because when He said that the world would end
not by flood but by fire, it was because
on God's green earth growth is stronger
and colors brighter after the first burn.
Must be why there is so much war, all those firebombs,
and all that blood soacking the earth with the stud of creation.

Perhaps that is why some settle down - to find sanity
in an insane world.  Let us embrace our joys now,
impatient for an end that comes as slowly
as a single bare footstep amongst the wild fields.
Take my hand, let us rest here, looking to Heaven
for answers, and each other for distraction.

Joe Gouveia


There are many sources for this post and I thank them all
for introducing us to this incredible man.  I apologize for omitting a source,
please let me know if I did and I will rectify the fact.  There is so much written about
Joe Gouveia that I may have lost my way.

As always, Arlene Gouveia for starting me on this search.
Joe's younger sister Elizabeth Gouveia Miner for inspiring it and for the photographs.
Thank you for letting this post come about.  It is each of us, children on the
Village, that keep our history alive.

For the photo of Joe and Josy and the accompanying article.
,,,,,,,, :
a poem written by Martin Espada for his friend and fellow poet, Joe Gouveia.

Joe's website


Saudades, by Joe Gouveia (you can order your copy at Amazon
Do yourself a favor and read the reviews.



  1. Joe's Superette was a staple in our neighborhood. I remember feeling grown up as my mother might send me to the store once I was old enough but still protected by our neighbors. Joe senior was a disciplined and proud man as I recall. I remember seeing his wife bustle around the store or behind the counter even while watching her kids.. This Joe is the same age as my oldest son. So I had already left the Village to start my own home. The Village was already changing , yet Joe and his wife managed to instill the pride we all have of our heritage in their children like ours did too. I was saddened when I heard the store had closed, just another facet of the changes I saw happening in the place I cherished as home. I was thrilled as my son Roger and his wife Susan just returned from a vacation in Lisbon and felt his heritage too. Wants to go back again. This is the fabric of our lives as that soap opera once said after each show when I was younger..

  2. Lovely tribute to Joe, who I knew mostly online, but who I did meet in person at AWP and in Salem about a year ago. It seemed he sprang forward from chemo to participate in the MA Poetry festival, following his poetry muse.

  3. comment printed by Sandra as erroneously deleted. Thank you Millicent for sharing.

  4. Thank you so much for this wonderful article about my husband. We had the gift of only two years, but it feels we were together for a lifetime. A lot of love and creativity indeed. The most wonderful, loving and caring person I had the privilege/blessing to know and love.
    Josy Gouveia