Dokumentêre poësie

Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham

In navolging van Danie Marais se belangwekkende essay oor die aktualisering van bepaalde sosio-politiese temas in ons digkuns, plaas ek vanoggend ‘n Nuuswekker wat handel oor wat in die VSA bekend staan as “Documentary poetry”; ‘n poëtika wat reeds in 2007 op die spits gedryf is tydens ‘n simposium wat by die Universiteit van Colombia in samewerking  met die Poetry Foundation aangebied was. Die gevolg daarvan was ‘n aantal artikels, waaronder “From Reznikoff to Public Enemy” deur Philip Metres wat ek dan as bronteks wil gebruik vir vanoggend se Nuuswekker.

Volgens Metres het “Documentary poetry” sy ontstaan te danke aan die neiging onder die sogenaamde “Objectivists” en hip-hop kunstenaars om nuusgebeure met poësie te vermeng in ‘n poging om hul verse meer aktueel en relevant ten opsigte van die bepaalde tydsgewrig te maak: “Drawing from the ballad tradition and from Modernist poets’ experiments with collage, these poets frequently employed documentary materials to give voice to stories of people and movements that the mass media tend to ignore or misrepresent.” Hiervolgens is die gedig dus geen “heilige” ikoon wat afstandelik betrag moet word nie, maar ‘n dinamiese, meelewende medium “that informs and is informed by the history of the moment”.

Die teenstem het egter in die Oktober-uitgawe van Poetry gekom toe George Szirtes krities op dié tendens reageer het: “Poetry is useless as evidence,” het hy geskryf. “[ … ]The truths the poem deals with are not evidentiary truths. . . . They do not lead back to the real life outside the poem: their truths refer to the real life inside the poem.” Die dokumentêre gedig verskil dus van hierdie “tradisionele” siening van die gedig as “geslote entiteit” deurdat die “real life outside the poem” as vertrekpunt geneem word in die reis na die intrinsieke hart van die gedig; iets wat dikwels tot die mislukking van die gedig aanleiding gee: “Because of this double movement, documentary poems constantly court their own collapse, testing a poem’s tensile boundaries in the face of what Wallace Stevens called ‘the pressure of reality.’ He defined this as ‘life in a state of violence, not physically violent as yet for us in America, but physically violent for millions of our friends and for still millions of our enemies and spiritually violent, it may be said, for everyone else’ (“The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words“).

Die sukesvolle dokumentêre gedig is dan, volgens Metres, ‘n gedig “that withstands the pressure of reality to remain a poem in its own right: its language and form cannot be reduced to an ephemeral poster, ready made for its moment but headed for the recycling bin.”

Hierna volg ‘n lang uiteensetting, met voorbeelde, van digters wat in hierdie dokumentêre styl skryf. Gaan lees gerus die volledige artikel op die Poetry Foundation se webblad indien dié onderwerp jou interesseer. As voorbeeld plaas ek graag uittreksels uit Jorie Graham se lang gedig, “Overlord“, wat bestaan uit flardes dialoog en gedagtes van Amerikaanse soldate se landing aan die Normandiese kus tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, onder aan vanoggend se Nuuswekker. (‘n Volledige bespreking deur Susan McCabe van dié onthutsende teks kan hier op Jorie Graham se webtuiste gelees word.)

Ten slotte, jy kan gerus ook by Wisselkaarten kyk na Edwin Fagel se “Eerste brief aan O.” en die daarop volgende “Antwoord van O.” wat hoeka oor die kwessies van “waarheid” en “werklikheid” in die gedig handel.

***

 Afgesien van die reeds genoemde essay deur Danie Marais, is daar by Charl-Pierre Naudé se blog ‘n skakel na ‘n nuwe rubriek van hom by Beeld, terwyl Desmond Painter weer terugverlang na die poëtiese spyskaart van sy wittebrood. In die Brieweboks is daar ‘n bydrae tot ons Blogfokus deur Chris Coolsma en in die gedigtekamers is daar ‘n nuwe vers van Jelleke Wierenga.

Lekker lees en mag hierdie dag punte werd wees vir jou …

Mooi bly.

LE

 

Overlord 

 

I was given

            birth November 1,1917, Winchester, Wisconsin. They took us to

            Fort Dix for England. We took the northern route in the extreme rough sea of

            January. It was thought that this would confuse the

 

            German subs. It didn’t exactly work that way.

            A convoy ahead of us by a few days was hit, many ships sank.

            I saw the bodies of so many sailors and soldiers floating by us

 

            with all the other debris and ice on the water.

 

***

knee, bullets up through our feet, explosion of Jack’s face, more

                        sudden openings

            in backs, shoulders, one in a neck, throat open, I happen to see, I see

                        an eye

            pushed back, through the face, then on back through

            the canvas skin (“Spoken from the Hedgerows [H-Hour146 minutes]”)

 

***

mostly all still

            alive-off-schedule-including the

            sweepers-all dragged down, freezing, waves huge-meant to land

            where gun emplacements were less thick and channels between lines

                        of tracer-fire

            could be read through the surface of

                                                the beach.

 

***

I have borrowed faith. I have borrowed

            words, style, thoughts, obedience. I have borrowed the smile,

            I have borrowed the still moonlit field, the hoarfrost glowing in it, borrowed

            the phone, called the number listed, called the other number, also

            borrowed one person’s name, then another’s, also gave one to a newborn

            person. I have tried to understand the messages. I have tried to take them

            back. I do not know where back is.

 

 © Jorie Graham (Uit: Overlord, Ecco Press, 2005)

 

 

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Een Kommentaar op “Dokumentêre poësie”

  1. Desmond :

    Ek het nog altyd aan Dylan se The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol en Hurricane as twee voorbeelde van dokumentere poësie gedink, en tot my vreugde sien ek Philip Metres noem wel hierdie twee lirieke in sy interessante artikel. Dankie vir die skakel, Louis!

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