Posts Tagged ‘Maya Angelou’

Nini Bennett. Digterlike bloudrukke

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

        

Die hoofkarakter in Stieg Larsson se Millennium-trilogie het ’n onuitwisbare indruk op die hedendaagse zeitgeist gemaak. Die Sweedse aktrise Noomi Rapace vertolk die rol van ’n swaar getatoeëerde Lisbeth Salander in die 2011-film, The girl with the dragon tattoo. Selde was daar so opwindende protagonis soos Salander in moderne fiksie – sy is ’n kuberkraker en ly aan Asperger-sindroom; beskik oor ’n fotografiese geheue; is afsydig, biseksueel, onafhanklik, avontuurlustig en wraaksugtig. Sinoniem met die karakter is ’n tatoeëermerk van ’n draak op haar rug: dit vorm deel van Salander se ikoniese beeld.

Alhoewel die gebruik van tatoeëermerke 5000 jaar oud is, beleef ons die afgelope dekade werklik eers ’n tatoe-renaissance. “Waar het jy daardie mooi tatoe gekry?” skerts ’n vriendin van my onlangs. En sy antwoord laggend haar eie vraag: “Twaalf jaar vir messteek in Pollsmoor.” Dit som in ’n sekere sin die stereotipering, en sy tweeling, vooroordeel, jeens die dra van tatoeëermerke op. Studies rondom die aanbring – en die sielkundige dryfvere – rondom tatoeëermerke word gereeld geloods; dit is veral ’n gewilde onderwerp binne die populêre sielkunde. Hierdie bevindinge moet egter met omsigtigheid benader word. Die dae wat tatoes leuenverklikkers was vir ’n individu se promoskuïtieit, kriminele, verslawende of emosioneel labiele gedrag, is lankal verby. Tatoeëermerke is stadigaan besig om hulle sosiale taboes, wat bloot veldiep is, af te skud. Soortgelyk aan die mites rondom die terugspeel van langspeelplate wat kwansuis obskure, bose boodskappe bevat. Vandag is tatoeëermerke waarskynlik niks meer as ’n teken van selfekspressie of mode nie. Om Johnny Depp aan te haal: “My body is my journal, my tattoos are my story.”

Die woord “tatoe” is afgelei van die Tahitiaanse woord “tatu”, wat streep of vlek beteken, en behels ’n vorm van liggaamsmodifisering waar naalde gebruik word om ink onder die opperhuid aan te bring om die vel se pigment te verander. Die simboliese waarde van tatoes verskil van kultuur tot kultuur en van individu tot individu. Tatoes is onder meer tekens van liefde, assosiasie, stam en etnisiteit, beskerming, dapperheid, godsdiens, rang of seksualiteit. Die nagatiewe konnotasies verbonde aan tatoeëermerke is deels te wyte aan die volgende historiese faktore: (1) Keiser Konstantyn die Grote het in 330 n.C. die tatoeëering van gesigte verbied, terwyl die Tweede Konsilie van Nicea in 787 die tatoeëering van enige deel van die liggaam as ’n heidense praktyk verklaar het. (2) Slawe en gevangenes is met tatoes ‘gemerk’, byvoorbeeld die identifikasie van Jode in konsentrasiekampe deur die Nazi’s, asook die gesigstatoeëermerke wat die Zhou-dinastie in China aan gevangenes en slawe aangebring het. (3) Die negatiewe assosiasies rondom tatoes het later jare van China na Japan oorgespoel. Seevaarders, op hul beurt, het tatoeëerkuns na Europa gebring. ’n Mens kan vandag net jou kop skud oor die ondergrondse ateljees van daardie jare, die angs en die opwinding oor die verbode yk…en die onhigiëniese toerusting wat plek gemaak het vir moderne bio-elektriese werktuig en ’n groter toleransie jeens individualiteit. Baie ateljees is egter steeds laatnag of deurnag oop, omdat voornemende kliënte ná ’n partytjie of ’n paar drankies (waarskynlik heel impulsief) besluit om ’n tatoeëermerk te laat aanbring.

Die joernale van idividue se lewens verskil inderdaad: so sal die narratiewe van hulle liggaamskuns ook verskil. Literêre tatoes is al lankal nie meer ’n nuutjie nie, maar die aanvraag na boek- of poësietatoes het vinnig begin toeneem. Nadat ek honderde fotobeelde van literêre tatoeëermerke bekyk het, het ek tot die volgende gevolgtrekking gekom: literêre tatoes bestaan uit ikoniese tatoes, wat vir die individu ’n subjek of simbool rondom ’n vers of boek beliggaam; en literêre tatoes kan bestaan uit aanhalings, hetsy reëls uit ’n betrokke boek of vers, asook die hele vers, of ’n kombinasie van grafika en aanhalings.

Voorbeelde van ikoniese literêre tatoeëermerke    

Die gesig van Ernest Hemingway:

Die groen lig in The Great Gatsby:

Die vyeboom – en die siening rondom keuses – is geïnspireer deur die onderstaande gedeelte in Sylvia Plath se roman, The Bell Jar. Plath is ’n gunsteling onder vroue as dit by die keuse van literêre tatoeëermerke kom.

“…I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

Literêre tatoeëermerke: aanhalings en verse

Valentina Tagliabue het die hele Annabel Lee van Edgar Allan Poe op haar rug laat tatoeëer. Tydens ’n onderhoud op Contrawise. org vertel sy meer van die ervaring:

“The tattoo took me about eighteen hours, divided into three days plus one more afternoon to redo some letters. The font is called litos script. Why did I want the entire poem on me? Because my first love in this life is poetry; because when I met the brilliant works of Poe – his novels but especially his poems – they burned my soul so deeply that I wanted a sign of this feeling forever engraved also on my body. The whole text, because you never should break a poem in half or more: all, or nothing.” Tatoeëerkuns van Poe se werk is veral gewild onder aanhangers van die Gotiese subkultuur.

Klik gerus op die volgende skakel om die bekende  Annabel Lee te lees:  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44885/annabel-lee

Hierdie dame het die volgende aanhaling uit Charles Bukowski se vers op haar ribbes laat tatoeëer.

all theories

like clichés

shot to hell,

all these small faces

looking up

beautiful and believing;

I wish to weep

but sorrow is

stupid.

I wish to believe

but belief is a

graveyard.

we have narrowed it down to

the butcherknife and the

mockingbird

wish us

luck.

Die man in die onderstaande foto het ’n fragment uit Allen Ginsberg se vers, America, op sy arm laat tatoeëer.

Klik gerus op die skakel om die hele gedig te lees. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49305/america-56d22b41f119f

En vervolgens Robert Frost: die immergroen Stopping by woods on a snowy evening.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

*

Die gewilde Maya Angelou, soos die refrein, “Still I rise”, op hierdie vrou se arm getuig:

Still I rise

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Onderskeidend is natuurlik die betrokke individue en tatoeëerkunstenaars se vertolking van gekose literêre tatoes. “There is a bluebird in my heart that / wants to get out” van Bukowski word onder meer verbeeld as ’n anatomiese hart met ’n gevange voëltjie voel binne-in, of bloot net grafika van hierdie blou lyster. Die grootte en lettertipe, en die spesifieke lokalisering op die liggaam speel ’n intieme rol in die subjektiewe interpretasie van die idee of beeld. Die draers van literêre tatoes is diskreet in die keuses van hulle kuns (en verkies meesal net één (literêre) tatoe; smaakvol, en aggressie is opvallend afwesig.) Oor die redes vir hierdie liggaamskuns kan ’n mens lank spekuleer. In baie gevalle funksioneer die tatoeëermerke as ’n herinnering aan ’n moeilike tydperk in die persoon se lewe: die tatoe “merk” die persoonlike swaarkry as ’n liminale gebeurtenis, wat op sy beurt dien as tipe trofee vir die persoon se deursettingsvermoë. Hierdie herinnering dien dan as motivering om sterk of moedig te wees later. Die rol van die sosiale media lei tot nabootsing in die keuse van tatoes onder verbruikers, soos dit blyk uit die voorbeelde wat ek bekyk het via Google Image, Tumblr, Pinterest en Instagram. Die koste verbonde aan ’n tatoe, asook die beskikbaarheid van goeie of bekwame tatoeëerkunstenaars, is deurslaggewend in die finale keuse. Die populêre kultuur van die dag beïnvloed eweneens mense se sienswyses (byvoorbeeld Harry Potter), alhoewel aanhalings van Shakespeare steeds gewild blyk te wees. Sommige literêre tatoes signalleer bloot aangename herinneringe, soos die voorliefde vir Alice in Wonderland-tatoeëerkuns. Om die woorde van ’n vers te laat vervlees, of om ’n bloudruk daarvan op jou liggaam te ets vra vir diéper bepeinsing as ’n tatoeëermerk wat terloops na ’n verloopte partytjie bekom is.

Verwysings:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/swim-in-denial/201310/if-tattoos-could-talk

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems

Nuuswekker. Waar was die digters met die presidensiële inhuldiging?

Thursday, January 26th, 2017
Maya Angelou tydens die 1993 presidensiële inhuldiging. (Foto: Mark Lennihan / AP)

Maya Angelou tydens die 1993 presidensiële inhuldiging. (Foto: Mark Lennihan / AP)

Nou ja, uiteindelik het die stofwolke in die Amerikaanse draadkamp tot kalmte gekom na die opstootjies rondom pres. Donald Trump se verkiesing tot president en sy inhuldiging ‘n week gelede. Nou vra The Atlantic in ‘n onlangse berig héél tereg waar die digters dan was, want nie minder as vyf vorige presidente het ‘n digter van statuur gehad om ‘n spesiale vers tydens hul inhuldigingseremonie voor te lees, te wete: John F. Kennedy (Robert Frost), Bill Clinton (Maya Angelou), Jimmy Carter (James Dickey) en Barack Obama twee keer: eers Rita Dove, en met sy tweede inhuldiging: Richard Blanco.

Toevallig was al vyf dié voormalige presidente Demokrate. Dit wil dus voorkom asof Trump, en by implikasie die Republikeinse Party, téén die gebruik van ‘n inhuldigingsgedig besluit het.

Volgens The Atlantic se berig, die volgende: “The lack of poetry may seem like a break with precedent, or it may seem especially telling given news that Trump intends to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities […] But in that fact alone—the fact of presidential poetry as a partisan tradition—is a reminder of America’s cultural divides. In the weeks after the election, many Americans turned to poetry for guidance and comfort, as my colleague Megan Garber has chronicled. Now, Leslie Lawrence at WBUR’s website suggests that anyone yearning for some verse on Inauguration Day might want to revisit the works of Walt Whitman. (From Song of Myself: ‘Whoever degrades another degrades me.’)”

Vir jou leesplesier volg Maya Angelou se gedig wat sy tydens Bill Clinton se inhuldiging voorgelees het.

Geniet die naweek wat op hande is.

Louis

*

Inaugural Poem

 

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers–desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

 

© Maya Angelou, 20 Januarie 1993