Luiheid, verveling, kreatiwiteit …

Kreatiewe ontploffing

Kreatiewe ontploffing?

Chekov het glo by die geleentheid die volgende stelling gemaak: “Everything I am writing at present bores me and leaves me indifferent, but everything that is still only in my head interests me, moves me, and excites me.” Carmine Starnino, Kanadese digter en skrywer van die essay “Lazy Bastardism – A notebook” in die nuutste uitgawe van Poetry Magazine, voer dié uitspraak van Chekov tot die volgende slotsom: “I would say that boredom is the highest state of creativity. It is the mind at its best: unable to accept compromises with intention, and unable to lie about it.”

Sjoe, wat ‘n stelling! Lanklaas het ek so ‘n omvattende, insiggewende stuk skryfwerk óór die digkuns – en die vele aspekte wat daarmee verband hou – teëgekom. Starnino begin sy betoog heel konvensioneel met ‘n persoonlike agtergrondskets van hoe hy tot die digkuns “bekeer” is. En dan laat val hy die eerste kartets: “Today the verse hook is planted deep. And with it, the wound: that one of the central activities of my life is tinged with the sense of being dissolute, escapist, fey. Even at those rare moments when, fresh off a new poem, I feel the artisanal high of every word fitting flush, the crash comes swiftly: depression and anxiety at having gotten away with something slightly preposterous.”

En watter digter ken nie die emosie wat Starnino hier beskryf tot in die murg nie?  

Of wat van die volgende opmerking ten opsigte van literêre kritiek: “Can critical faculties show signs of wear and tear? Eliot thought so. ‘As one gets older,’ he said in his 1959 Paris Review interview, when he was seventy-one, ‘one is not quite confident in one’s own ability to distinguish new genius among younger men. You’re always afraid that you are going as you have seen your elders go.’ Helen Vendler admitted as much in her 2006 New York Times profile. Then seventy-three, Vendler said she avoided poets under fifty, citing new ‘frames of reference’ that baffled her. ‘They’re writing about the television cartoons they saw when they were growing up. And that’s fine. It’s as good a resource of imagery as orchards,’ she said. ‘Only I’ve seen orchards and I didn’t watch these cartoons . . . So I don’t feel I’m the best reader for most of the young ones.'”

Die beste gedeeltes in hierdie lang essay is egter wanneer hy skryf oor die verplatting van die digkuns ten einde aan die verwagtings van lui lesers te voldoen: “The point here is that aesthetic change is an elite activity, done out of professional boredom. Poets who say different, who claim to heed the wishes of the common reader out of populist duty, are lazy bastards. Lazy bastardism kowtows to the convenience of see-Jane-run simple-mindedness because, by gosh, that’s what most people want from their poetry. Lazy bastardism is the only way to explain the existence of phrases like “the roaring juggernaut of time” or “the once gurgling fountain of creativity” (both plucked from Billy Collins‘s The Trouble with Poetry). Lazy bastardism will never come clean and tell you that poetry is an acquired taste, that the pleasure of reading it is assembled over years from smaller, slow-to-learn skills. Lazy bastardism will never insist that you should read a lot of poems, old and new, and try to keep them in your head to help train and trust your ear. And lazy bastardism will certainly never stress that you need to love poetry’s artificial and formal aspects.”

Nou ja, toe. Gaan lees gerus die volledige essay op die Poetry Foundation se webblad.

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Vanoggend wemel hierdie webtuiste met onvergeetlike plasings: van Hennie Aucamp se besadigde beskouings oor die stand van ons digkuns, tot Bernard Odendaal se inspirerende besinnings oor die “vermensvuldiging” van ons ervarings; van Andries Bezuidenhout se openingsrede tydens die Walter Meyer-kunsuitstalling, tot Desmond Painter se stuk oor hoe hy tot die digkuns “verlei” is; van De Contrabas se Nuusbrief oor elektroniese publikasies en boeke tot Luuk Gruwez en Edwin Fagel se stukke in Wisselkaarten.

En wees gewaarsku: hierdie stukke is almal só boeiend dat jy maar weer en weer sal moet terugkom om dit álles te lees. Trouens, indien ons oor 10 jaar sou besluit om ‘n gedenkbundel byeen te bring met die beste stukke wat op hierdie webblad verskyn het, sal etlike van die plasings wat hierbo genoem is, verseker daarin verskyn.

Dit is die gehalte daarvan.

Daarom – lekker lees en wees verseker: Poësie kán jou lewe red …

Mooi bly.

LE

 

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