The Paris Review se onderhoud met Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Goeie nuus is dat The Paris Review onlangs al die onderhoude wat die afgelope dekade in hul tydskrif verskyn het, op die internet geplaas het. Tussen ‘n indrukwekkende aantal digters is dit die een wat in 2001 deur George Plimpton met Billy Collins gevoer is, wat my my oog gevang het. In Plimpton se inleidende kommentaar word Collins se digkuns soos volg beskryf: “His work is identified largely by its humor, which he speaks of as being “a door into the serious”-a comment echoed by John Updike’s sentiment: “Billy Collins writes lovely poems . . . limpid, gently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.”

Enkele fokuspunte uit die onderhoud is die volgende:

Op die vraag hoe ‘n gedig by hom ontstaan: “There’s a lot of waiting around until something happens. […] So there’s a lot of waiting, and there’s a kind of vigilance involved. I think what gets a poem going is an initiating line. Sometimes a first line will occur, and it goes nowhere; but other times-and this, I think, is a sense you develop-I can tell that the line wants to continue. If it does, I can feel a sense of momentum-the poem finds a reason for continuing. The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. […] Now it’s tone that establishes the poet’s authority. The first few lines keep giving birth to more and more lines. Like most poets, I don’t know where I’m going. The pen is an instrument of discovery rather than just a recording implement. […] In a poem, the pen is more like a flashlight, a Geiger counter, or one of those metal detectors that people walk around beaches with. You’re trying to discover something that you don’t know exists, maybe something of value.”

Oor die kwessie van ‘n “eie stem”: “I think ‘finding your voice’ is a false concept. It leads you to believe that it’s out there somewhere, like it’s behind the sofa cushions. I think your voice is always inside of you, and you find it by releasing things into your work that you have inside. I grew by allowing aspects of myself that I had previously excluded into the poetry. I think all poets-younger poets particularly-have a private sense of decorum, meaning they feel there are certain things they should write about and other things they shouldn’t …”

En, ten slotte, sy advies aan aspirant-digters: “I don’t know if I’d say this at the beginning, but the most difficult question you can put to people who want to write poetry is this: Ask yourself if what you are trying to say can be said in any other form-story, memoir, letter, phone call, e -mail, magazine article, novel. If the answer is yes, stop writing poetry. Put it in an e-mail, write a memoir, write a letter to your granny, use whatever form will accommodate what you’re going to say. Stop writing poetry unless you’re doing things that you can only do in poetry. And that means exercising your imaginative freedom, because in a poem you have the greatest imaginative freedom possible in language. You have no allegiance to plot, consistency, plausibility, character development, chronology. You can fly. Clear the trees at the end of the runway, and off you go. So if you’re not taking advantage of the giddy imaginative liberty that poetry offers, you should try a form that’s a little more restrictive.”

Dit is ‘n lang onderhoud. En beslis elke woord se lees werd.

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Vanoggend kondig ons graag ‘n nuwe inisiatief op die webblad aan en dit is Keelskoonmaak. Dit is ‘n ruimte waarheen jy daardie gedigte wat met nuusgebeure te make het en na alle waarskynlikheid nooit hul pad na ‘n bundel sal vind nie, kan stuur. Ons leef (en skryf) immers nie in ‘n vakuum nie. Uiteraard sal die eerste reeks plasings verse wees wat tydens die onlangse US Kollokwium voorgelees is; enige vers wat met eietydse aktualiteite te make het, kan egter ingestuur word. Die eerste plasings is Charl-Pierre Naudé en Zandra Bezuidenhout se verse.

Nog nuwe leesstof op die webblad is ‘n nuwe gedig deur Daniel Hugo, asook nuwe blog-inskrywings deur Desmond Painter en Philip de Vos onderskeidelik. Dan is daar ten slotte ook nog die onderhoud wat met Tom Gouws gevoer is, waaraan jy jou kan verlekker.

So, geniet die week wat op hande is.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

 

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Een Kommentaar op “The Paris Review se onderhoud met Billy Collins”

  1. Dankie vir hierdie heerlike artikel. Billy Collins is inderdaad ‘n heerlike digter wat gedigte toeganklik maak, veral met humor en sonder om knie te buig vir “dumbing down” .
    evette

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