Desmond Painter. Engels met ‘n aksent: Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra

Vergun my om u voor te stel aan nog ‘n postkoloniale Britse digter, Daljit Nagra (geb. 1966). Nagra is van Sikh Punjabi herkoms, maar is gebore in Londen en het daar en in Sheffield grootgeword. Tans woon hy in Londen, waar hy benewens digter ook onderwyser is.

Nagra se eerste bundel, Look We Have Coming to Dover!, het in 2007 by Faber verskyn. Dit het die Forward Prize for Best First Collection asook die South Bank Show Decibel Award gewen. Verder was dit benoem vir die Guardian First Book Award. Sy tweede bundel is geskeduleer om in 2011 by Faber te verskyn. Die titel is uitstekend: Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man Eating Tiger-Toy Machine!!!

Nagra se gedigte eksploreer en artikuleer meervoudige aspekte van die hedendaagse Indiese ervaring in Brittanje. Dit lewer ook speelse, sardoniese, en soms woedende kommentaar op die Britse kultuur vanuit die perspektief (of perspektiewe) van Indiese immigrante. Die taalgebruik van die Indiese gemeenskap waaruit hy afkomstig is, Punjabi-Engels of ‘Punglish’, vind idiomaties sowel as ritmies neerslag in sy werk. Anders gestel, Nagra skryf gedigte met ‘n aksent… Soos byvoorbeeld (uit sy eerste bundel se openingsgedig):

‘Di barman’s bell done dinging
 so I phone di dimply-mississ,
Putting some gas on cookah,
 bonus pay I bringin!

Downing drink, I giddily
 home for Pakeezah record
to which we go-go, tango,
 for roti – to kitchen – she rumba!’

Terloops, google Nagra gerus; daar is heelwat opnames van sy voorlesings beskikbaar op die internet, en dit is beslis die moeite werd om sy gedigte ook te hoor. Hier volg die merkwaardige titelgedig uit sy eerste bundel:   

 

Look We Have Coming to Dover!

      So various, so beautiful, so new …
                        Arnold, Dover Beach

Stowed in the sea to invade
the alfresco lash of a diesel-breeze
ratcheting speed into the tide, brunt with
gobfuls of surf phlegmed by cushy come-and-go 
tourists prow’d on the cruisers, lording the ministered waves.

Seagull and shoal life
vexing their blarnies upon our huddled
camouflage past the vast crumble of scummed
cliffs, scramming on mulch as thunder unbladders
yobbish rain and wind on our escape hutched in a Bedford van.

Seasons or years we reap
inland, unclocked by the national eye
or a stab in the back, teemed for breathing
sweeps of grass through the whistling asthma of parks, 
burdened, ennobled — poling sparks across pylon and pylon.

Swarms of us, grafting in
the black within shot of the moon’s
spotlight, banking on the miracle of sun:
span its rainbow, passport us to life. Only then
can it be human to hoick ourselves, bare-faced for the clear.

Imagine my love and I,
our sundry others, Blair’d in the cash
of our beeswax’d cars, our crash clothes, free, 
we raise our charged glasses over unparasol’d tables
East, babbling our lingoes, flecked by the chalk of Britannia!

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