Charles Simic oor prosaverse

Charles Simic

Charles Simic

Die nuutste uitgawe van Poetry International Web is verlede week geplaas en uiteraard fokus dit uitsluitlik op die jaarlikse poësiefees wat Vrydag, 11 Junie, in Rotterdam begin. Op hul webblad is daar heelwat inligting oor die fees en ook skakels, onder andere na ‘n Feesblog, beskikbaar.

Soos ek reeds vantevore berig het, fokus die fees vanjaar op die raakpunte tussen prosa en poësie. Volgens die begeleidende dekbrief is dit nie so maklik om die onderskeid tussen prosa en poësie te tref nie:  “We might associate rhyme, metre and verse forms with poetry; and yet most people acknowledge that these aren’t prerequisites of poetry. Do other factors, then, such as diction, tone, narrative, length and syntax differentiate between what is poetry and what is prose? Some may argue simply that prose is written in paragraphs and poetry line by line, but, as much of the writing in this issue proves, this observation can not be applied to prose poetry, a genre that has embraced the use of the paragraph.”

‘n Besonder interessante essay is egter Charles Simic se kontekstualisering van die sogenaamde “prosavers”. Simic, wat nie net ‘n kenner van dié genre is nie, maar ook in 1990 die Pulitzer-prys vir poësie verwerf het met sy bundel prosaverse, The World Doesn’t End, is uiteraard een van die belangrikste kommentators oor dié onderwerp. Sy openingsparagraaf lees soos volg: “Prose poetry has been around for almost two centuries and still no one has managed to explain properly what it is. The customary definitions merely state that it is poetry written in prose and leave it at that. For many readers, such a concept is not just absurd but a blasphemy against everything they love about poetry. Free verse, of course, still has its opponents, but no one in their right mind would maintain that all genuine poetry must adhere to rhyme schemes or regular meters. It’s an entirely different matter when it comes to prose poetry.”

Oor sy eie prosaverse het hy die volgende te sê: “The hardest thing for poets is to free themselves from their own habitual way of seeing the world and find ways to surprise themselves. That’s what I liked about these pieces. They seemed effortless and, like all prose poems, came, as James Tate once said, in ‘deceptively simple packaging: the paragraph’. They were unpremeditated, and yet they could stand alone and even had a crazy logic of their own.”

Die kern van sy essay is egter die volgende paragraaf: “I would have placed emphasis on the subversive character of prose poetry. For me, it is a kind of writing determined to prove that there’s poetry beyond verse and its rules. Most often it has an informal, playful air, like the rapid, unfinished caricatures left behind on café napkins. Prose poetry depends on a collision of two impulses, those for poetry and those for prose, and it can either have a quiet meditative air or feel like a performance in a three-ring circus. It is savvy about the poetry of the past, but it thumbs its nose at verse that is too willed and too self-consciously significant. It mocks poetry by calling attention to the foolishness of its earnestness.”

Met die lees van hierdie essay het ek egter opnuut besef dat Charl-Pierre Naudé en Danie Marais inderdaad korrek is wanneer hulle die stelling maak dat die sogenaamde “praatvers” of “anekdotiese vers” wat hulle bedryf, hoegenaamd níks met die tradisionele “prosavers” te make het waarmee dit dikwels verwar word nie. En die verskil lê rondom die veelgeroemde enjambement, klankplastiek en verskuiwende ritmepatrone wat dit myns insiens volledig aan die poësiekant van die draad plaas in teenstelling tot die prosakant waarvan Charles Simic se vers hieronder van getuig.

Of wat praat ek nou?!

***

Vanoggend is daar sommer weer heelwat nuwe inhoud op die webblad om jou aandag op te fokus: Yves T’Sjoen skryf insiggewend oor die peritekste by K. Schippers,  Leon Retief vertel van Robert Currie, ‘n besonderse digter van Moose Jaw waar hy woon, Francilié Hoek besin oor die vele soorte brood wat meel tot gevolg het, Andries Bezuidenhout loop in die voetspore van sy voorsate en Desmond Painter gaan in Havana op soek na die John Lennon Park.

Alles pure leesplesier. So – geniet dit …

Mooi bly.

LE

 

Blue Notebook Number 10

There was once a red-haired man who had no eyes and no ears. He also had no hair, so he was called red-haired only in a manner of speaking.
He wasn’t able to talk, because he didn’t have a mouth. He had no nose, either.
He didn’t even have any arms or legs. He also didn’t have a stomach and he didn’t have a back, and he didn’t have a spine, and he also didn’t have any other insides. He didn’t have anything. So it’s hard to understand
who we’re talking about.
So we’d better not talk about him anymore.

© Charles Simic (vertaal deur: George Gibian)

 

 

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