Andrew Motion in plagiaat-herrie

Andrew Motion

Andrew Motion

Volgens ‘n berig in The Guardian het ene Ben Shepard, ‘n militêre historikus en skrywer van ‘n boek oor soldate wat aan bomskok lei, Andrew Motion van plagiaat beskuldig na Motion se gedig “An equal voice” verlede Saterdag in die koerant verskyn het. Volgens Shepard het die voormalige poet laureate vrylik gebruik gemaak van sy boek, “A war of nerves” , sonder om erkenning te gee aan die soldate wie se kommentare in die gedig betrek is. Hy beskuldig Motion byvoorbeeld daarvan dat 16 reëls direk uit die boek oorgeneem is.

Dié aantyging kom ietwat vreemd voor, want Motion het sy werkswyse immers baie duidelik gestel in die meegaande teks by die gedig: “Doctors, historians and other experts have documented the effects of shellshock – thanks to them, we know that the term covers a multitude of ailments, and is the result of far more than just shells going off. But, as Ben Shephard wrote in his history of medical psychiatry, the people who have suffered from it have often been too ill to speak. They have been left out of the record. I wanted to hear from them. This is a “found” poem, a stitching together of the voices of shellshocked people … Together, they give a sense of moving through time to establish what is horribly recurrent about this affliction. It is a poem by them, orchestrated by me.”

Andrew Motion se verweer is dat die gebruik van “optelverse” (found poetry) ‘n baie ou tradisie is, wat onder andere TS Eliot se “The Waste Land”en Ruth Padel se poëtiese biografie van Charles Darwin insluit. “It goes right back to Shakespeare,” het hy gesê. “It’s very well established.”

Terloops, hy is glo tans besig om met die Departement vir Verdediging te onderhandel ten einde onderhoude met oorlogsveterane te mag voer oor hul oorlogservarings aangesien hy van voorneme is om sy volgende digbundel aan dié onderwerp te wei. “I’ve written about 25 or 30 pages, with one or two entirely by me, about my father who fought in the second world war and my grandfather who fought in the first world war,” het hy gesê. “The subject has always interested me very much. The thing which is the most depressing of all, apart from the individual stories of suffering, is that nothing changes. The reasons for killing each other become more terrible, but the human feelings in it all are the same.”

Nou ja, toe. Wat my van Andrew Motion se gedig getref het, is dat dit nogals herinner aan die eksperiment waarmee Charl-Pierre Naudé en ander op sy blog mee besig is. Die vraag bly natuurlik staan: Is dit (goeie) poësie? Tans probeer ek wel nog om die hekke van my kop nie hierteen te sluit nie, maar ek moet erken: die drade hang slap. Ter illustrasie plaas ek onder aan vandag se Nuuswekker die voorlaaste strofe uit Andrew Motion se gedig; na my mening die enigste strofe met ‘n mate van poëtiese resonansie. Die volledige gedig kan hier gelees word. Lees ook sommer Stephen King se gedig, “The bone church” wat op Playboy se webblad geplaas is. In soverre dit versvorm en aanslag betref, is daar nogal heelwat ooreenstemming, myns insiens.

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Dan kan Andries Bezuidenhout se stuk oor ‘n woonstelblok in Yeoville gelees word, asook Ilse van Staden se poëtiese besinning oor ‘n haelstorm en die verwoesting wat daarmee gepaard gaan.

Ten slotte hoop ek dat die struikrowers jou vandag met rus sal laat; die week is immers halfpad daarmee heen.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

An equal voice

 

Naturally it can save a good deal of time if men,

before battle, have pictures from the Hate Room hung

in their minds of things the enemy has already done,

waiting to be remembered. Starving people for instance

and sick people, and dead people in ones and in heaps.

If that proves ineffective, then treatment is post facto.

Compulsory mourning is no longer recommended

whereby the hospital confines a man for three days

alone in a darkened room and orders him to grieve

for dead comrades. But other cures must be attempted,

and in some cases men wish to return to do their duty.

See, your eyes are already heavier. Heavier and heavier.

You are going into a deep, deep sleep. A deep, far sleep.

You are far asleep. You are fast sleep. You have no fear.

 

© Andrew Motion (Uit: “An equal voice”)

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