Desmond Painter. August Kleinzahler: Twee Gedigte

August Kleinzahler

August Kleinzahler

August Kleinzahler is (soos Bruce Springsteen!) in 1949 in New Jersey gebore. Sedert die verskyning van sy eerste digbundel in 1977 het hy al ‘n stuk of 10 bundels gepubliseer. In 2008 wen hy die gesogte National Book Critics Circle Award vir sy bundel Sleeping It Off in Rapid City.

Kleinzahler skryf gedigte met ‘n dikwels sardoniese inslag. Weens hulle effektiewe gebruik Amerikaanse spraakvorme en -ritmes, en hulle fokus op alledaagse situasies, vertoon sy verse by tye ook ‘n sekere verwantskap aan die werk van William Carlos Williams.

Kleinzahler het by geleentheid al skerp kritiek gelewer op die self-referensialiteit of oordrewe tekstualiteit van sekere postmodernistiese tendense in die (Amerikaanse) digkuns. In ‘n artikel wat in 1992 in die tydskrif Harper’s verkyn het, “Poetry’s Decay”, maak hy die volgende stelling: “The language and movement of poetry have become disconnected from the body, away from physical expression — breath, mouth, muscle, and pulse — to lexical meaning. Because of this break, the poetic line has lost its structural integrity”. Hier is twee van sy gedigte:


Meat – August Kleinzahler


How much meat moves

Into the city each night

The decks of its bridges tremble

In the liquefaction of sodium light

And the moon a chemical orange


Semitrailers strain their axles

Shivering as they take the long curve

Over warehouses and lofts

The wilderness of streets below

The mesh of it

With Joe on the front stoop smoking

And Louise on the phone with her mother


Out of the haze of industrial meadows

They arrive, numberless

Hauling tons of dead lamb

Bone and flesh and offal

Miles to the ports and channels

Of the city’s shimmering membrane

A giant breathing cell

Exhaling its waste

From the stacks by the river

And feeding through the night



The strange hours travelers keep – August Kleinzahler


The markets never rest

Always they are somewhere in agitation

Pork bellies, titanium, winter wheat

Electromagnetic ether peppered with photons

Treasure spewing from Unisys A-15 J mainframes

Across the firmament

Soundlessly among the thunderheads and passenger jets

As they make their nightlong journeys

Across the oceans and steppes


Nebulae, incandescent frog spawn of information

Trembling in the claw of Scorpio

Not an instant, then shooting away

Like an enormous cloud of starlings


Garbage scows move slowly down the estuary

The lights of the airport pulse in morning darkness

Food trucks, propane, tortured hearts

The reticent epistemologist parks

Gets out, checks the curb, reparks

Thunder of jets

Peristalsis of great capitals


How pretty in her tartan scarf

Her ruminative frown

Ambiguity and Reason

Locked in a slow, ferocious tango

Of if not, why not

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