W.H. Auden en Voznesensky

WH Auden

WH Auden

In ‘n onlangse Nuuswekker het ek berig dat die Russiese digter, Andrei Voznesensky, twee weke gelede na ‘n beroerte oorlede is. Uiteraard was daar heelwat beriggewing oor sy digkuns en afsterwe op die internet om te lees na sy dood. Die één wat my egter in die besonder beïndruk het, is ‘n essay wat W.H. Auden in 1966 oor Voznesensky se digwerk geskryf het en wat nou weer deur New York Review of Books uit die argiewe opgerakel is.

En dit wat ‘n mens opnuut tref, is Auden se styl van rustige belesenheid en die oorwoë wysheid wat uit sy formulerings spreek. Reeds met die openingsparagraaf van sy essay het hy die volgende oor vertaalde poësie te sê: “It is, of course, sheer folly to imagine that one can pass judgments which are either accurate or just upon poems written in a language which one does not know. Irrespective of their relative merits, some poets lose less in translation than others. Even in the crudest prose translation a non-Italian reader can immediately recognize that Dante is a great poet, because much of the impact of his poetry depends upon his use of similes and metaphors drawn from sensory experiences which are not confined to Italians but common to all peoples, and upon his gift for aphoristic statements expressed in the simplest everyday words for which every language has a more or less exact equivalent.”

Hieropvolgend verwys hy heel oorsigtelik na enkele digters en hoe ons hulle via vertaling leer ken het; hetsy positief of negatief. Oor Vaznesensky het hy egter die volgende te sê gehad: “In the case of  Mr. Voznesensky, at least I know that he is greatly admired by many of his fellow countrymen, and, after reading literal prose translations of his poems, studying metrical models, and listening to tape-recordings of him reading his own work, I am convinced that his admirers are right. As a fellow maker, I am struck first and foremost by his craftsmanship. Here, at least, is a poet who knows that, whatever else it may be, a poem is a verbal artifact which must be as skillfully and solidly constructed as a table or a motor-bicycle.”

Dit is egter Auden se slotparagraaf wat ek vanoggend aan jou wil voorhou; hierin verwoord hy nie net die belangrikheid van vertaling nie, maar maak hy ook ‘n uiters insiggewende stelling oor die aard van die digkuns, naamlik dat ‘n gedig geen “objektiewe waarheid” bevat nie. Die betekenis van ‘n vers lê in die gesprek tussen teks en ontvanger; daarom het elke gedig ‘n eie, unieke betekenis vir elkeen van ons. Die implikasie hiervan is natuurlik dat dit die eksamengerigte onderrig van poësie op skool van die tafel af vee. Eweneens die beswaar wat so dikwels by nie-poësieliefhebbers gehoor word: “Ek lees nie gedigte nie, want ek verstaan dit nie.” Sug.

Graag plaas ek die betrokke paragraaf volledig as leesprikkel vanoggend:

“The meaning of any poem is the result of a dialogue between the words on the page and the particular person who happens to be reading it, that is to say, to no two readers is its meaning identical. Our social and historical memories as Americans or Englishmen are quite different from those of a Russian. To mention only one difference, poets in our countries have never been considered socially important enough for the State to take any notice of them, to encourage or discourage, finance or censor; whereas in Russia, whatever the regime, they have been taken seriously. But it is only in terms of our own experience that we can profitably read Mr. Voznesensky. If we should attempt to read him as if we were members of his Russian audience, our interpretation will almost certainly be wide of the mark. Besides being foolish, such an attempt is quite unnecessary. One of the primary proofs that a poem, or any work of art, has value is that, wherever, whenever, and by whomever it was made, we find it relevant to ourselves, our time, and our place. I am certain that Mr. Voznesensky is a good poet because, though I know no Russian and have never been to Russia, his poems, even in English translation, have much to say to me.”

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Op die webblad vanoggend is daar ‘n digstring deur Melanie Grobler oor ‘n ongepubliseerde vers wat sy onlangs geskryf het na haar besoek aan Rwanda;  ook nuwe blogs deur Andries Bezuidenhout en Desmond Painter. Ten slotte maak ons graag bekend dat Oewerbestaan, Melt Myburgh se debuutdigbundel, gister by die boekwinkels afgelewer is. By Publikasies kan jy solank meer oor dié besonderse bundel lees. 

En doen wat jy moet doen vandag met alle ywer.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

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