Guilherme de Andrade e Almeida was born in Campinas, São Paulo, on July 24, 1890. He was the son of Estevão de Araújo Almeida, a jurist and law professor, and Angelina de Andrade Almeida, and spent his early childhood first in the cities of Limeira and Araras before his family moved to Rio Claro, where he attended his first school. In 1902 Guilherme became a student at the Ginásio de Campinas and, after his family arrived in São Paulo in 1903, he enrolled at the Colégio São Bento. He completed High School in 1907, graduating from the Ginásio Nossa Senhora do Carmo, run by Marist Brothers. Five years later he graduated from the prestigious Largo de São Francisco Faculty of Law and worked for a short time as public prosecutor in the towns of Apiaí and Mogi-Mirim. Upon his return to the state Capital in 1914, he joined his father’s firm and remained there until 1923, when he decided to dedicate himself entirely to his writing; a calling he had started to follow some years earlier.

Guilherme's literary debut came in 1916 with of Mon Coeur Balance and Leur Âme, two plays published under one title, ‘Théatre Brésilien’ and written in collaboration with Oswald de Andrade. His first book of poetry, Nós, was published in 1917, followed by A dança das horas and Messidor, both published in 1919, and then the Livro de Horas de Sóror Dolorosa, in 1920. This productive phase continued into 1921, when he wrote the essay Natalika and the acts in verse Scheherazada and Narciso – A flor que foi um homem. Era uma Vez... was published in 1922, the year in which he also played a decisive part in the Semana de Arte Moderna (literally: Modern Art Week), together with Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Di Cavalcanti and Menotti del Picchia, among others. He helped found the magazine Klaxon (the movement's main publication) and, as part of the editorial team, he designed its front cover and sponsor ads, which became the seeds of the visual aspect of avant guard art and of modern advertising itself.

Poet Guilherme married Belkiss Barroso do Amaral (Baby) in 1923 and moved to Rio de Janeiro, where the couple lived until 1925, the year in which he published four books of poetry: Narciso, Encantamento, Raça and Meu, with the latter two (and Meu in particular) containing what is considered the best examples of his modernist poems. This was also the year in which he wrote and presented his lecture "Revelação do Brasil pela poesia moderna" (literally: Revealing Brazil through modern poetry) in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco and Ceará to divulge Modernist ideas about aesthetics, before returning to São Paulo.

After voluntarily enlisting as a first private in the Revolução Constitucionalista (Constitutionalist Revolution) in 1932, Guilherme was posted and saw action in the city of Cunha. After the Movement was quashed he was arrested and exiled to Portugal, where he stayed until the following year. His experience in Europe inspired the basis for O meu Portugal, a collection of stories published in 1933 about the time he spent exiled in that country.

Elected to the Academia Paulista de Letras (the São Paulo Academy of Letters) in 1928 and to the Brazilian Academy in 1930, Guilherme de Almeida's popularity as São Paulo’s best known poet spanned several decades. His complete works include 70 publications comprised of poetry, prose, essays and translations, not to mention his extensive journalistic work, of which his column "Cinematographos" is perhaps the most notable for being a critique of Brazilian cinema written and published in the broadsheet O Estado de S. Paulo for over two decades. In 1959, Guilherme competed against other Brazilian canonical poets such as Manuel Bandeira, Carlos Drummond da Andrade, Vinicius de Moraes and Mauro Mota and among which he was elected the "Prince of Brazilian Poets" in a contest patroned by the Correio da Manhã in the section "Writers and Books" – chosen by an "electoral collegiate" of approximately 1,000 voters.

Guilherme died on July 11, 1969, at his home which was known as the "Casa da Colina" ('the House on the Hill'), at Rua Macapá, in the district of Pacaembu, São Paulo. He had lived there since 1946. A few years after his death, the 'House on the Hill' was bought by the São Paulo State Government and became the ‘Casa Guilherme de Almeida biographic and literary museum’. Inaugurated in 1979, what was once the poet's home is now home to the Literary Studies and Translation Center that carries his name.

Gifted with a renowned technical mastery, Guilherme was able to transition through various literary fields with equal competence. In his introduction to the second edition of Raça, Lêdo Ivo wrote, "Perhaps more than anyone else who was part of the Semana de Arte Moderna, Guilherme de Almeida experienced the dilemma of reconciling the new with the old in the field of aesthetics; of reconciling form and content; of reconciling tradition with vanguard; of reconciling the machinelike qualities of routine and formulas with the longing and yearn for creativity.”

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