CHRISTOPHER MACK IT WAS a strangely unreal experience. The little stage on which I sat was hot, the lights bright, the atmosphere expectant. In front was a select gathering of arts and literary academics in this, the cultural heart of Sao Paulo - Brazil's sprawling metropolis.

In as natural a dialect as a native Glaswegian can muster, I was about to deliver a selection of Edwin Morgan poems to an audience of eager Paulistas.

Quite what they made of "Hovoplodok - doplodovok - plovodokot - doplodokosh?" from The Loch Ness Monster's Song, for example, I didn't find out. But the applause was polite and, to my relief, didn't start until my recitation finished.

Of course, they were there really only to listen to the sound and texture of my voice. For the subtleties of Morgan's words, they came to hear Virna Teixeira's lyrical delivery in their native Portuguese and to help launch her collection of his translated poetry, Na Esta�o Central (At Central Station) just a few weeks ago.

Should we be surprised that the Scots makar's work reaches the heart of this vast South American nation? Certainly not. Morgan's poems are universal in scope, depth and appeal. True, interest in him in this vast country remains limited - perhaps to a few thousand. But it is an important cultural link and much of it is due to the woman responsible for translating his work.

Surprisingly, she is not a literary academic, nor even an expatriate Scot, but a Brazilian neurologist. Teixeira, a 37-year-old doctor at the University of Sao Paulo specialising in sleep disorders, is intense, vivacious and charming and utterly in love with the work of Morgan and other modern Scots poets.

On Friday, she is in Edinburgh giving readings from yet another new book, Ovelha Negra (Black Sheep), the first Brazilian anthology of Scottish poetry in translation, including works by Stewart Conn, Dilys Rose and Ken Cockburn.

How does a woman born 3000km north of Sao Paulo, in the city of Fortaleza, on the dry, windswept, north Atlantic coast of Brazil, come to be enmeshed in contemporary Scots poetry?

The second daughter of academic parents, her father, a doctor, and her mother, an economics lecturer, were deeply interested in the arts and were avid readers. As a youngster, Teixeira found herself walled in by a vast library of books. And when she started reading poetry, she found she couldn't stop.

Today, her passion for literature is evident. The coffee table in her apartment buckles under the weight of it. During our conversation she repeatedly breaks off and rushes to another room, each time returning behind a stack of new and interesting books, many about Scotland or Scottish poetry.

Moving to Sao Paulo in 1994, she began translating some North American poets, including Robert Creeley and Gertrude Stein, and it was this interest in translation that later drew her into Morgan's work.

As her neurology specialism evolved, she won a British Council scholarship, in 2001, to the world-renowned sleep laboratory run by Professor Neil Douglas at Edinburgh University. While preparing for her journey, she had her first encounter with Morgan's work in an anthology of Scottish poetry. She described those first impressions: "Morgan's poetry is a very interesting mixture of his skills as a poet, his very impressive knowledge of poetry from different parts of the world, and a lot of Scottish culture. What I think is really very interesting ... is that he mixes a love scene with the Scottish landscape, scenes from Glasgow. It's alive, it's exciting, it has soul."

But there was another reason why her desire to share Morgan's work was strong. During her scholarship in Edinburgh, she discovered that he was a phenomenal translator himself, working in eight languages. Teixeira was surprised and fascinated. Even more so when she learned that Morgan had translated Brazilian poetry into English in the 1960s. She felt her own translations were somehow reciprocal.

Morgan's contact with Brazil harks back to a time that he acknowledges as the starting pistol for his life as a poet. Events at the beginning of the sixties were transformational: an awakening of counterculture; other possible worlds; new, experimental perspectives.

He and his friend, Ian Hamilton Finlay, experimented with some of these new forms and, more importantly, corresponded directly with other international writers.

The idea, moreover, the manifesto, behind what is known as concrete poetry - which was the subject of an international exhibition in Sao Paulo in 1956 - was that the typographical arrangement of words should be as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements such as rhyme and metre.

Morgan went on to translate the works of three Brazilian concrete poets: Edgard Braga, Haroldo de Campos and Pedro Xisto, into English. Morgan, whom she met in Edinburgh, assisted with her translations.

She recalls: "For example, for The Loch Ness Monster's Song a work that takes the form of the monster and consists solely of onomatopoeia, he suggested that I translate the sounds using Portuguese phonemes."

She communicates regularly with the Scots poet and, depending on his health, hopes to meet up with him this week. "I am so excited about the visit. I can't wait. I have a piece of my heart there," she said.

So her love affair with our small nation continues to grow and her latest anthology, Ovelha Negra, contains translations of works by celebrated contemporary Scottish poets including MacDiarmid, MacCaig, Mackay Brown, Alastair Reid and Douglas Dunn as well as Morgan and Ian Hamilton Finlay, alongside the original English versions.

It is the first work of its kind in Brazil. And seems certain not to be the last. Ovelha Negra is published in Brazil by Lumme Editor. Virna Teixeira is at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh on Friday from 6.30pm, as part of a tour supported by the Scottish Arts Council and Cultura Inglesa of Brazil.

See Edwin Morgan reading his work online