Nuuswekker. Blomtyd vir die konkrete digkuns?

joanne-margaret-paul

Joanna Margaret Paul

Kyk, Nieu-Seeland is uiteraard bekend vir sportprestasies, maar hulle het darem ook ‘n besonder aktiewe digkuns om mee te spog. Daarom dat die herwaardering van Joanna Margaret Paul (1945 – 2003) se lewe en werk op Jacket2 my oog gevang het. Cy Mathews, skrywer van die artikel, motiveer die behoefte aan ‘n herwaardering van Paul se digkuns soos volg: “In 1978, Joanna Margaret Paul published Imogen, a limited edition book of poems dealing with the death of her infant daughter. Despite winning the Pen Best First Book of Poetry award, it received little critical attention. Only one brief review appeared in Landfall written by the then rising-star poet Brian Turner. Turner, while impressed with the book’s typographical layout—Paul was already an established visual artist—wrote of how he was “left drained” by its emotional intensity. The book, he concluded, was more of “an experience than a poem”: there just wasn’t “enough poetry” in it […] At a time when the literary revolutions of modernism were already being disrupted by postmodernism, it seems strange to encounter such a narrow definition of poetry.”

Terwyl haar tydgenote, insluitend Brian Turner, voortgegaan het en hul gevestig het as van die vernaamste en mees invloedryke figure in die Nieu-Seelandse lettere, het Paul vergete gebly. Volgens Mathews is die rede hiervoor nie dat sy “te min poësie” gelewer het nie, maar weens die feit dat die meeste van haar publikasies buite die hoofstroom verskyn het as kladboeke en dan boonop in beperkte oplae. Die rede vir die ovoldoende kritiese waardering reflekteer dus eerder, volgens hom, die onverkrygbaarheid van haar publikasies as die gehalte van haar digwerk.

Fotostaatmasjien se omslag

Fotostaatmasjien se omslag

Hoekom hierdie artikel my in die besonder interesseer, is dat ons hier ter lande nou nie juis kan spog met ‘n sterk tradisie van gedigte wat die tipografiese moontlikhede ontsluit nie. Enkele voorbeelde is daar wel, met Willem Boshoff en Wopko Jensma as waarskynlik die vernaamstes. En meer onlangs digters soos Hennie Meyer, Jan A.F. du Plessis en dan nou: Bibi Slippers met haar onlangse debuut Fotostaatmasjien (2016: Tafelberg).

Die vermoede bestaan dat ons in die komende jare sommer heelwat meer digkuns van hierdie aard onder oog gaan kry. Sal ons eie literatore (en lesers) in staat wees om dié opwindende, dog ongewone, tekste na waarde te skat? Graag sal ek so wil dink; veral na aanleiding van die evalueringswerk wat reeds deur persone soos Bernard Odendaal, Leti Kleyn, e.a. gedoen is. Ek voorspel ‘n uiters dinamiese bloeityd vir ons meer konkrete digters danksy Slippers se indrukwekkende publikasie.

Maar gaan lees gerus die volledige artikel op Jacket2. Die bied veel stof tot nadenke. Hieronder volg enkele voorbeelde van Joanna Margaret Paul se digwerk.

Ek groet met Cy Mathews se slotopmerkings: “The movement of Paul’s poems is a long arc inwards, but it is an arc towards a centrepoint forever out of reach. Her shapes map the body, the landscape, the ephemera of the everyday, but they also explore absence, negative space, loss.”

*

I cannot write a sonnet
that opens from rooms to measured
rooms with windows partitioned into
panes
but
only
another
poem
called
CAVE
centre
hollowed from the
ever       earth
no lights or limestone ornaments
but space
hollowed by the shape
of its
inhabitant

*

the water is ‘beautiful,’ ‘beautiful’
& ‘fucking lovely’
a thin woman
leans over a child with great
tenderness
the hills are yellow
a man’s body
white on
grey gold
water

*

eye
look look
it’s in
my pictures
all lines
converge
at the centre
not the middle
but
just outside
the picture
here

 

© Joanna Margaret Paul

Uit: Like Love Poems: Selected Poems, ed. Bernadette Hall. Victoria UP, 2006.

 

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3 Kommentare op “Nuuswekker. Blomtyd vir die konkrete digkuns?”

  1. John Speleologist :

    Lovely contribution. But the typographical form is orginally like this, which forms part of the meaning, centred on “CAVE:”:

    I cannot write a sonnet
    that opens from rooms to measured
    rooms with windows partitioned into
    panes
    but
    only
    another
    poem
    called
    CAVE
    centre
    hollowed from the
    ever earth
    no lights or limestone ornaments
    but space
    hollowed by the shape
    of its
    inhabitant [5]

    https://jacket2.org/commentary/circling-absent-centre-poetics-joanna-margaret-paul

  2. John Speleologist :

    It refuses to appear in the correct form – just check the website to view.

  3. Louis Esterhuizen :

    I do apologise, John. I did try to correct it, but somehow WordPress won’t take the changes. As you said: best if the reader go to the website. Also to read the entire article on a very special poet. (The hyperlink also did not take, it seams.)
    https://jacket2.org/commentary/circling-absent-centre-poetics-joanna-margaret-paul