Die stand van die Amerikaanse digkuns

Ron Silliman

Ron Silliman

Nie te lank gelede nie het Anis Shivani ‘n stortvloed kommentare ontkeken toe hy op Huffington Post ‘n blog geplaas het oor die 15 mees oorskatte skrywers in die VSA. Dié blog van hom het nie minder nie as 1,705 kommentare uitgelok. Pas het hy egter nóg ‘n mieliepit in die hoenderhok gegooi: hy het naamlik ‘n hele galery van die mees prominente digters in die VSA genader met ‘n lys vrae warop hulle moes reageer ten einde die stand van die digkuns in die kollig te plaas.

Die volgende vrae is aan hulle gestel: “Is American poetry at a dead-end? Have American poets betrayed the great legacy of modernism? Why or why not? What worries you about the present moment in poetry? Do you see signs of life? Where is the most promising work coming from? What is your advice to a young poet trying to make sense of the current poetry scene?”

Die eerste vier reaksies is pas op Huffington Post geplaas. Vir jou leesplesier (en kennisname) haal ek die volgende aan:

“The hundreds of undergraduate and graduate university degree programs offering majors in writing poetry and fiction worry me. This system is producing thousands of talented but unoriginal writers, many of whom would not be writing at all if it were not for jobs. Once upon a time, there was a ‘left bank’ and a ‘right bank’ in our poetry: the innovative vs. the traditional. Today the writing scene resembles a blizzard on an archipelago of sites. Not only has the laudable democratization of poetry been compromised by being brick-layered into the academy but with few exceptions there is a lack of strong ‘signature’ and a tacit affirmation of the bourgeois status quo, the politics of no politics.” (Clayton Eshleman)

“I do see signs of life. Poetic form and meter are increasingly hip, and poets with ears trained in performance poetry are using their skills to learn meter; we see more and more of this at Stonecoast, the MFA program I direct. Poetry is increasingly apparent on the radio, in ads, and other places that non-poets hang out. This is a healthy sign for the art, since general readers/hearers keep us honest; they remind us that we have a needed role to play in the culture. And long-overdue appreciation is finally growing for the three modernist poets with the best poetic ears: Crane, Hughes, and Millay.” (Annie Finsch)

En ten slotte, my ou gunsteling Ron Silliman se advies aan jong digters: “My advice to a young poet would be to know your songs well before you start singing, to paraphrase Bob Dylan. You need to both understand the full field & history of writing and to recognize that we are in the very first moments of whatever the next age in history will be, and that the poetry of the future cannot simply be the past dragged on by habit. This is necessarily a both/and requirement. One without the other will only lead to work that is arid & pointless. But the two together yield almost limitless possibilities. And then there is that third requirement, which is that we have to rescue the planet if we are to have futures of any kind whatsoever.”

Gaan lees gerus die volledige berig op Shivani se blog. Daar is inderdaad heelwat interessante punte wat geopper word.


Sedert gister het slegs die bekendmaak van ‘n Oopmond-sessie in Nelspruit gisteraand verskyn. Dié besonderse geleentheid, wat deur Andries Bezuidenhout geadverteer is, vorm deel van die Inniebos-kultuurfees. Hopelik sal hy ons volgende week vertel hoe dit afgeloop het …

Intussen is dit naweek; ‘n langnaweek, bygesê. So, geniet die ekstra rusdag.

Mooi bly. Ons hervat weer Maandag.




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