Eietydse Ierse digkuns byeengebring

Ierse digkuns

An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry

Dit word vry algemeen aanvaar dat die Ierse digkuns een van die mees dinamiese digkunste ter wêreld is, en indien ‘n mens in ag neem hoeveel digters aktief daarby betrokke is, verbaas dit ook nie. So het Patrick Kavanagh by geleentheid die (ietwat moedswillige) opmerking gemaak dat “the standing army of Irish poets never falls below 20,000.”

Daarom is die publikasie van ‘n nuwe bloemlesing, “An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry” deur Belknap/Harvard, ‘n besonder welkome gebeurtenis. Hierdie monumentale werk, wat deur Wes Davis saamgestel is, betrek die poësie van meer as 50 digters in ‘n baksteen van ‘n boek wat 967 bladsye beslaan.

Wat dié bloemlesing egter uitsonderlik maak, is dat dit die digters wat in Engels skryf, sowel as die wat in Iers (of meer korrek: Hiberno-English) skryf, in een band byeenbring. In sy bespreking van die bloemlesing op The Wall Street Journal se webblad stel Richard Tillinghast dit soos volg: “Clearly the long decline of Irish in ordinary life shows no sign of abating-much to the alarm of many Irish poets, even though most of them don’t use the language in their own work. Perhaps inevitably, then, the tension between Irish and English words is also at play in this anthology. Pearse Hutchinson, for instance, who has worked in both Irish and English, writes in the poem “Achnasheen” of ‘The Gaelic names beating their wings madly / behind the mad cage of English.’ His best-known poem, ‘The Frost Is All Over,’ begins: ‘To kill a language is to kill a people.'”

En daarmee wil ek volstaan. Gaan lees gerus die volledige oorsig en bespreking deur Tillinghast. As toegif plaas ek Michael Hartnett (1941 – 1999) se hartskeurmooie gedig “Death of an Irishwoman” onder aan vanoggend se Nuuswekker. En, indien jy wonder, dié uitsonderlike boek behoort teen die einde van Junie beskikbaar te wees by Protea Boekwinkel op Stellenbosch.

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Vanoggend is daar net een nuwe plasing om aan te kondig, en dit is André Pretorius se manjifieke stuk oor Anna Akhmatova en die wêreld van St. Petersburg waarvan sy so ‘n integrale deel was.

En daarmee groet Nuuswekker eers weer tot Maandag. Geniet die naweek en onthou veral dat Sondag ‘n besonderse dag is vir ‘n baie spesiale persoon in jou lewe.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

Death of an Irishwoman

Ignorant, in the sense
she ate monotonous food
and thought the world was flat,
and pagan, in the sense
she knew the things that moved
all night were neither dogs or cats
but hobgoblin and darkfaced men
she nevertheless had fierce pride.
But sentenced in the end
to eat thin diminishing porridge
in a stone-cold kitchen
she clenched her brittle hands
around a world
she could not understand.
I loved her from the day she died.

She was a summer dance at the crossroads.
She was a cardgame where a nose was broken.
She was a song that nobody sings.
She was a house ransacked by soldiers.
She was a language seldom spoken.
She was a child’s purse, full of useless things.

 

(c) Michael Hartnett

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