Vir dekades al wonder die mens waarheen kouse wat verlore raak, eintlik gaan. Net so kan ‘n mens sekerlik die vraag vra na waar vrot verse heen verdwyn. Wel, via ‘n skakel wat Marlene Malan enkele dae gelede op haar FaceBook-profiel geplaas het, het ek die antwoord gevind: die heimat van vrot gedigte is naamlik ‘n webblad, VeryBadPoetry, waar jy soos volg verwelkom word: ”Welcome to the last refuge for the world’s worst poetry. It’s difficult to understand how, in this age of information, poems that merely miss the mark can be tossed into the cold world to fend for themselves, only to whither and be forgotten. Please help us to help them to help us.”
En watter heerlike leeservaring is dié webblad nie! Tong in’ie kies, nommerpas. Hul missie word soos volg gestel: “VeryBadPoetry is a resource to collect and share some of the worlds most overlooked poetry. Everyone is free to submit their leftover, unused or unwanted poems. We will sort, catalog and give new life to the wayward verse and prose. It’s easy so don’t let your shabby old poems slowly fade away. Let them live on for all of eternity in a well equipped home built just for them. If you have any ideas about how we can make these little poems more comfortable please let us know.”
Inderdaad. En so ‘n vinnige loer na hul ledelys toon dat daar bykans 600 lede is wat op gereelde basis hul vrotste gedigte hier liasseer. Ook is daar al ‘n bloemlesing uit dié bydraes voortgebring …
Wat ook besonder lekker is, is dat elke kliek van die muis ‘n nuwe vrot vers lukraak na vore bring. En so ontdek ek die voorheen onbekende digter Amri Jasael. Sy biografie lees soos volg: “Since joining on 30/11/99, Amri has published 5 works. “A Blade, a Bullet” remains to a work that the Very Bad Staff can’t forget. Although it’s both extremely puzzling and didactic, we like to think of it as the worst produced by a sane human mind since Grandpa Jaesal led the family into a 30 day foray to the land of poetry during the summer of ’37. However, we kind of like the quaint feeling we get when reading “Back and Forth”.”
(Vir jou leesplesier plaas ek die gedig waarna verwys word, “A Blade, a Bullet” heelonder.)
Maar eers ietsie oor wat dan nou eintlik bedoel word met “vrot gedig”; ‘n vraag wat De Waal Venter eweneens enkele dae gelede elders op die webblad gestel het. Die antwoord vind ek op die webblad Literacy, Language, Education and Life waar ene Andrew Lambirth juis oor dié netelige saak besin.
Te midde van sy uitvoerige betoog, waag Lambirth twee haalbare sienings rondom die fenomeen ‘Vrot Gedig’. Ek haal aan: “Peter Sansum (1994), in his book ‘Writing Poetry‘ says that some poems are ‘tripe’. He is certain that bad poems are very common. These are poems which are some-how dishonest about the meanings they convey and how this is done and/or are full of cliche.”
‘n Meer uitgebreide definisie vind hy by Seamus Cooney: “To achieve memorable badness is not so easy. It has to be done innocently, by a poet unaware of his or her defects. The right combination of lofty ambition, humorless self-confidence, and crass incompetence is rare and precious. (There is a famous anthology of bad poetry called The Stuffed Owl, which I recommend to those interested.)”
Volgens Lambirth is dit noodsaaklik om te verstáán wat ‘n swak gedig is alvorens jy ‘n goeie gedig na waarde kan skat: “For the student, having a genuine insight into the true badness of some poems is, I think, a necessary corollary of having a grasp of what makes good poems good.”
Vervolgens die nege kategorieë waaarvolgens swak gedigte volgens hom ingedeel kan word:
1. Poems which are written for occasions which contain language and/or are about subjects which are inappropriate to be read in particular contexts.
3. Poems which are stated as being written in a particular form which break the rules – e.g. a ballad which is not a ballad.
4. Poems which are written by someone who has no interest in writing one and little effort has been made in its composition.
5.Poems written by those who do not know what a poem is and what it can do and/or have read very little poetry.
6. A poem no one can understand.
7. A poem that people know about, but no one has any interest reading.
8. Poems written by those who are not genuine about writing poems. There is another motive other than poetry.
9. A poem everyone thinks is bad.
A Blade, a Bullet
Remorse stealing my soul,
I’m afraid to move.
Afraid to think.
Afraid to exist.
It feels wrong.
I want to live,
But I can’t.
Not without you.
Not without love.
I can, but I might as well kill myself.
I would not feel the pain.
Neither would hurt me.
I would smile as I died.
Why are we different?
To accomodate for new others
Turns old friends against us.
Why bother with friendship,
As it breaks more often than mends.
I want to speak,
But I can’t.
Not as insecure
As I am now.
Neither would pain me.
I would kiss you as I bled.
(c) Amri Jasael (Soos geplaas op VeryBadPoetry)