Jong Belarusiese digter veroorsaak beroering

Valzhyna Mort

Valzhyna Mort

Dit is seker gepas dat ’n letterkunde opgewonde sal raak oor haar jong(er) talent en dit sal koester ten einde volle wasdom oor ’n aantal jare te kan bereik. Maar wie is hierdie ontluikende stemme op die verhoog van die wêreldpoësie? Een so ’n kandidaat is beslis die 28-jarige Belarusiese digter Valzhyna Mort wat nog verlede maand met groot sukses aan die Rotterdamse Poetry International deelgeneem het. Mort het in 2005 gedebuteer met I’m as Thin as Your Eyelashes. Hiervoor het sy Slowenië se Crystal of Vilencia Award in 2005 ontvang en die Duitse Burda Poësie-prys in 2008. Van haar verse is ook opgeneem in die gesaghebbende bloemlesing New European Poets wat verlede jaar by Graywolf Press verskyn het.

Op die oomblik trek sy egter baie aandag met haar tweede digbundel, Factory of tears, wat einde verlede jaar in die VSA verskyn het waar sy sedert 2006 woon en as skrywer-in-residensie by die Universiteit van Baltimore betrokke is. (Vantevore was sy in soortgelyke poste by die Literarisches Colloquium en die Sylt-Quelle in Duitsland.) Die verse in Factory of tears is deur Mort in samewerking met die Pulitzer-wenners Elizabeth Oehlkers en Franz Wright na Engels vertaal.

Volgens Svetlana Tomić se resensie van die bundel in die nuutste uitgawe van World Literature Today word Mort se poësie gekenmerk deur “an obstinate resistance and rebellion against the devaluation of life, which forces her to multiply intelligent questions, impressive thoughts, and alluring metaphors, while her rhythm surprisingly arises as a powerful tool for the most dramatic moments of her verses.” (WLT, May-June, p.71) Of soos Poetry International dit hier op hul webblad stel: “The musical litanies of the poems’ phrases mesmerise the reader, but sudden moments of discord remind us that Mort’s world is not entirely harmonious.” Mort se verse, wat ek wel te lese kon kry, is inderdaad indrukwekkend. ’n Mens kan nie anders as om met Tomić saam te stem dat Valzhyna Mort beslis een van die mees belowende jonger digters vandag in die wêreldpoësie is nie.

Ter illustrasie, haar gedig Belarusian I hieronder. Maak seker dat jy ook haar gedig Grandmother lees wat op Poetry International se webblad geplaas is.

Lekker lees en geniet die naweek. Nuuswekker hervat weer Maandag.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

BELARUSIAN I

even our mothers have no idea how we were born
how we parted their legs and crawled out into the world
the way you crawl from the ruins after a bombing
we couldn’t tell which of us was a girl or a boy
we gorged on dirt thinking it was bread
and our future
a gymnast on a thin thread of the horizon
was performing there
at the highest pitch
bitch

we grew up in a country where
first your door is stroked with chalk
then at dark a chariot arrives
and no one sees you anymore
but riding in those cars were neither
armed men nor
a wanderer with a scythe
this is how love loved to visit us
and snatch us veiled

completely free only in public toilets
where for a little change nobody cared what we were doing
we fought the summer heat the winter snow
when we discovered we ourselves were the language
and our tongues were removed we started talking with our eyes
when our eyes were poked out we talked with our hands
when our hands were cut off we conversed with our toes
when we were shot in the legs we nodded our head for yes
and shook our heads for no and when they ate our heads alive
we crawled back into the bellies of our sleeping mothers
as if into bomb shelters
to be born again
and there on the horizon the gymnast of our future
was leaping through the fiery hoop
of the sun

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