Desmond Painter. Ferlinghetti se populistiese manifes

Wie, wonder ek, onthou nog vir Lawrence Ferlinghetti? Hierdie Amerikaanse digter, gebore in 1919, is veral beroemd vir sy bundel A Coney Island of the Mind (1958) en vir sy rol as medestigter van San Francisko se legendariese City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in 1953. Allen Ginsberg se “Howl” was maar een van die vele legendariese titels wat by hierdie uitgewershuis verskyn het.

 

Ferlinghetti voor sy boekwinkel in San Francisko

Ferlinghetti voor sy boekwinkel in San Francisko

Al sedert ek Ferlinghetti se gedigte die eerste keer vroeg in my studentejare ontdek het –- waar hy ‘n gedig voorlees in Martin Scorsese se dokumentêre film oor The Band, The Last Waltz, en daarna in ‘n bloemlesing, gekoop in Langstraat, met gedigte deur hom, Ginsberg en Gregory Corso –- het ek ‘n sagte plekkie vir hierdie digter. Daar is iets in sy stem waarby ek aanklank vind, meer so as by sekere van sy tydgenote. Miskien is dit omdat sy digkuns, ten spyte van sy noue assossiasie (as uitgewer en vriend) met die digters van die “Beat Generasie”, nooit ten volle ingepas het by die Beats se estetika en lewensbeskouinge nie. Hy was in verhouding tot Ginsberg en Kerouac soos ‘n ouer, maar tog boheemse broer; hy was miskien ook meer burgerlik as hulle, in die beste, mees demokratiese sin van daardie woord.

Ek vind dan ook veral aanklank by Ferlinghetti se politieke stem. In sy Poetry as Insurgent Art, nog steeds ‘n “work in progress”, skryf hy hierdie woorde: “If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic. You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words…” Vanoggend plaas ek graag een van Ferlinghetti se meer politieke gedigte; môreoggend een van sy sportgedigte.
 

Populist Manifesto No. 1

Poets, come out of your closets,
Open your windows, open your doors,
You have been holed-up too long
in your closed worlds.
Come down, come down
from your Russian Hills and Telegraph Hills,
your Beacon Hills and your Chapel Hills,
your Mount Analogues and Montparnasses,
down from your foothills and mountains,
out of your teepees and domes.
The trees are still falling
and we’ll to the woods no more.
No time now for sitting in them
As man burns down his own house
to roast his pig
No more chanting Hare Krishna
while Rome burns.
San Francisco’s burning,
Mayakovsky’s Moscow’s burning
the fossil-fuels of life.
Night & the Horse approaches
eating light, heat & power,
and the clouds have trousers.
No time now for the artist to hide
above, beyond, behind the scenes,
indifferent, paring his fingernails,
refining himself out of existence.
No time now for our little literary games,
no time now for our paranoias & hypochondrias,
no time now for fear & loathing,
time now only for light & love.
We have seen the best minds of our generation
destroyed by boredom at poetry readings.
Poetry isn’t a secret society,
It isn’t a temple either.
Secret words & chants won’t do any longer.
The hour of oming is over,
the time of keening come,
a time for keening & rejoicing
over the coming end
of industrial civilization
which is bad for earth & Man.
Time now to face outward
in the full lotus position
with eyes wide open,
Time now to open your mouths
with a new open speech,
time now to communicate with all sentient beings,
All you ‘Poets of the Cities’
hung in museums including myself,
All you poet’s poets writing poetry
about poetry,
All you poetry workshop poets
in the boondock heart of America,
All you housebroken Ezra Pounds,
All you far-out freaked-out cut-up poets,
All you pre-stressed Concrete poets,
All you cunnilingual poets,
All you pay-toilet poets groaning with graffiti,
All you A-train swingers who never swing on birches,
All you masters of the sawmill haiku in the Siberias of America,
All you eyeless unrealists,
All you self-occulting supersurrealists,
All you bedroom visionaries and closet agitpropagators,
All you Groucho Marxist poets
and leisure-class Comrades
who lie around all day and talk about the workingclass proletariat,
All you Catholic anarchists of poetry,
All you Black Mountaineers of poetry,
All you Boston Brahims and Bolinas bucolics,
All you den mothers of poetry,
All you zen brothers of poetry,
All you suicide lovers of poetry,
All you hairy professors of poesie,
All you poetry reviewers
drinking the blood of the poet,
All you Poetry Police –
Where are Whitman’s wild children,
where the great voices speaking out
with a sense of sweetness and sublimity,
where the great’new vision,
the great world-view,
the high prophetic song
of the immense earth
and all that sings in it
And our relations to it –
Poets, descend
to the street of the world once more
And open your minds & eyes
with the old visual delight,
Clear your throat and speak up,
Poetry is dead, long live poetry
with terrible eyes and buffalo strength.
Don’t wait for the Revolution
or it’ll happen without you,
Stop mumbling and speak out
with a new wide-open poetry
with a new commonsensual ‘public surface’
with other subjective levels
or other subversive levels,
a tuning fork in the inner ear
to strike below the surface.
Of your own sweet Self still sing
yet utter ‘the word en-masse –
Poetry the common carrier
for the transportation of the public
to higher places
than other wheels can carry it.
Poetry still falls from the skies
into our streets still open.
They haven’t put up the barricades, yet,
the streets still alive with faces,
lovely men & women still walking there,
still lovely creatures everywhere,
in the eyes of all the secret of all
still buried there,
Whitman’s wild children still sleeping there,
Awake and walk in the open air.

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6 Kommentare op “Desmond Painter. Ferlinghetti se populistiese manifes”

  1. Wat ‘n magtige, inspirerende gedig. Ek het dit afgelaai om weer te lees. Maar ek wonder oor dié reël:
    “All you hairy professors of poesie”

    ‘n Freudiaanse glipsie van jou kant?

  2. Desmond :

    Jelleke, nee, nogal nie. So ek wonder ook daaroor…

  3. Johann Lodewyk Marais :

    City Lights Books is in Junie 1953 deur die digter Lawrence Ferlinghetti en Peter D. Martin in San Francisco gestig om slegs sagtebandboeke te verkoop. Ferlinghetti is in New York gebore en het aan die Sorbonne in Parys gestudeer, terwyl Martin in New York gebore en getoë is en in die 1940’s na San Francisco verhuis het om sosiologie aan die San Francisco College te doseer. Ná meer as vyftig jaar noem City Lights Books se webruimte die winkel “one of the few truly great independent bookstores in the United States, a place where booklovers from across the country and around the world come to browse, read, and just soak in the ambiance of alternative culture’s only ‘Literary Landmark’. Although it has been more than forty years since tour buses with passengers eager to sight ‘beatniks’ began pulling up in front of City Lights, the Beat legacy of anti-authoritarian politics and insurgent thinking continues to be a strong influence in the store, most evident in the selection of titles.”

  4. Desmond :

    Dankie vir die ekstra informasie, Johann. Ek sal City Lights graag eendag besoek, maar ek was nog nooit in SF nie. Terloops, ek het julle artikel oor Wopko Jensma erg baie geniet en nuttig gevind.

  5. Desmond, Dankie vir die mooi woorde oor my en Leti Kleyn se artikel oor Wopko Jensma in Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, Herfs 2010. Ons het natuurlik nog nie die helfte vertel nie!

  6. Desmond :

    Wel, dan hoop ek terdee dat julle wel die res van die storie sal vertel!

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