John Ashbery as oorskatte digter

John Ashbery

John Ashbery

Via ‘n berig op De Contrabas beland ek op Huffington Post waar ene Anis Shivani ‘n blog gelewer het oor die 10 mees oorskatte skrywers in die VSA en dié man gebruik nie pynstillers wanneer hy ‘n tand trek nie, glo my. Volgens hom het dit problematies geraak om skrywers na waarde te skat aangesien die akademie in die beheer is van “… theorists who consider their work superior to the literature they deconstruct, and moreover they have no interest in contemporary literature. As for the reviewing establishment, it is no more than the blurbing arm for conglomerate publishing, offering unanalytical ‘reviews’ announcing that the emperor is wearing clothes.”

Hy gaan egter verder en lê die blaam vir die komkommerslaaibenadering tot letterkunde skaamteloos voor die yskasdeur van skryfprogramme aan universiteite en die hele kwessie van “politiek korrekte” skryfwerk. (‘n Benadering wat ‘n mens onwillekeurig laat terugdink aan Danie Marais se essay nie te lank gelede nie …) “The ascent of creative writing programs means that few with critical ability have any incentive to rock the boat – awards and jobs may be held back in retaliation. The writing programs embody a philosophy of neutered multiculturalism/political correctness; as long as writers play by the rules (no threatening history or politics), there’s no incentive to call them out.”

Nietemin, die digter wat in hoofsaak deur hom uitgesonder word as die een wat oorskat word in die ekstreme, is niemand minder as John Ashbery nie. Volgens Shivani is Ashbery ” … more responsible than anyone else for turning late twentieth-century American poetry into a hermetic, self-enclosed, utterly private affair. Displays sophomoric lust to encode postmodern alienation into form that embodies the supposed chaos of the mind. Though he has somehow acquired a reputation for the visionary (especially among the Brits, who think he’s the greatest American poet), John Berryman’s Dream Songs are infinitely more on the mark.”

By wyse van toegeeflikheid eindig Shivani sy tirade met die volgende toegewing: “Among the writers listed here, I want to like him the most – it’s too bad he’s been a parody of himself for so long.”

Nou ja, toe. Onderaan die Nuuswekker plaas ek ‘n gedig deur die einste John Ashbery. Oordeel maar self of hy volgens jou ‘n oorskatte digter is.

***

En dan: Ke Nako! Dit is tyd … Vandag, presies ‘n maand van nou, vind die Versindaba-poësiefees op Stellenbosch plaas en soos julle almal waarskynlik teen dié tyd weet, word hierdie fees vanjaar as ‘n verdere inisitaief van die US Woordfees gereël. En, glo my, dit is ‘n watertand-program wat in die vooruitsig gestel word vir die naweek van 17 & 18 September. Inderdaad, ‘n omvattende program waartoe ek en Marlise met ons beperkte hulpbronne nooit in staat sou gewees het nie …

As vroeë lusmaker kondig ons dus vanoggend die feesbundel aan wat by dié geleentheid verskyn, en binnekort in die boekwinkels beskikbaar sal wees. Verdermeer, met die vriendelike vergunning van die uitgewer, Protea Boekhuis, plaas ons dan ook Nicol Stassen se voorwoord op die webblad. En dit is ‘n móét lees aangesien hy sommer ‘n hele aantal belangrike opmerkings in dié besonderse stuk maak.

Terselfdertyd maak Andries Bezuidenhout op sy blog voorbrand vir ‘n besonderse geleentheid Vrydagaand in Pretoria.

So, haal jou dagboek uit en kry jou beplanning vir die volgende maand in orde.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

Just walking around

 

What name do I have for you?
Certainly there is not name for you
In the sense that the stars have names
That somehow fit them. Just walking around,

An object of curiosity to some,
But you are too preoccupied
By the secret smudge in the back of your soul
To say much and wander around,

Smiling to yourself and others.
It gets to be kind of lonely
But at the same time off-putting.
Counterproductive, as you realize once again

That the longest way is the most efficient way,
The one that looped among islands, and
You always seemed to be traveling in a circle.
And now that the end is near

The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
There is light in there and mystery and food.
Come see it.
Come not for me but it.
But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other.

 

© John Ashbery

 

 

 

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