Vroue domineer kortlys vir Dylan Thomas-prys

Caroline Bird

Caroline Bird

Die Dylan Thomas-prys vir letterkunde word jaarliks aan ‘n internasionale skrywer jonger as 30 toegeken en met ‘n prysgeld van £30,000 is dit ongetwyfeld een van die meer gesogte pryse ter wêreld. Luidens ‘n berig in The Guardian heers daar vanjaar sommer groot opgewondenheid rondom dié prys aangesien die kortlys pas bekend gemaak is en spog met vyf vroueskrywers onder die ses kandidate. (Helaas, net twee van hulle is digters, te wete Caroline Bird (Engeland) en Elyse Fenton (VSA). Bird, wat ook in 2008, is genomineer vir haar bundel Watering can en Fenton vir haar “beautifully composed war poetry” Clamor.)

Nietemin, prof. Peter Stead, sameroeper van die keurpaneel, het hom soos volg uitgelaat oor hul keuses: “I am delighted with this year’s shortlist, the Prize is gaining momentum year on year and I think the quality of entries we receive for each award is always reflected in the long and shortlist. As a panel, we were both pleased and surprised to see that the final six were predominately female writers, as there was a fairly even spread on the longlist. Regardless of gender, this is an outstanding shortlist that, in my opinion, rivals that of the world’s best-known literary awards. What strikes me this year is the sheer readabilty and accessibility of these books. These are great books: books to be read and enjoyed by all readers and not least by young people. I am confident that we will again have a winner worthy of Dylan Thomas himself in 2010.”

Ook prof. Marc Clement, vise-kansellier van die Universiteit van Wallis en voorsitter van die pryskomitee, het sy tevredenheid uitgespreek: “The work of the young writers whose work has been selected for this year’s shortlist displays a breathtaking wealth of skill and talent, and reflects the ethos of the Prize perfectly. I wish the judges well in the extremely daunting task of choosing the most deserving.”

Nou ja, toe. Nou moet ons net wag vir die wenner wat tydens ‘n glansgeleentheid op 1 Desember bekend gemaak sal word. Hoe dit ook al sy. Vir jou leesplesier plaas ek ‘n gedig van Caroline Bird onder aan vanoggend se Nuuswekker. (Terloops, nog verse van haar kan op haar persoonlike webtuiste gevind word.)

Maar, ter wille van volledigheid, die kortlys: Caroline Bird (23) vir Watering Can, Elyse Fenton (29) vir Clamor, Eleanor Catton (24) vir The Rehearsal, Emilie Mackie (27) vir And This is True, Karan Mahajan (26) vir Family Planning en Nadifa Mohamed (28) vir Black Mamba Boy.

***

Vanoggend is dit veral die bloggers wat sedert gister hul kant gebring het. So is daar Andries Bezuidenhout wat sy brief aan Suid-Afrika geplaas het, Desmond Painter wat ons bekend stel aan Patience Agbabi, ‘n Britse digter, Carina Stander wat skryf oor The Great Gatsby en Philip de Vos wat van ‘n besonderse vroeë foto wat hy geneem het, vertel. In Keelskoonmaak is Leon de Kock se bydrae wat hy tydens die US Kollokwium voorgelees het.

Hê pret met dit alles. In Brittanje vier hulle vandag hul Nasionale Poësiedag en om 13:00 maak die Sweedse Akademie vanjaar se wenner van die Nobelprys vir Letterkunde bekend.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

Poetry as a competitive sport

 

We brawl in the bookshops over scraps of bursary.
Firemen flip coins for a burnt child: ‘heads I’m hero!’
Gardeners nibble their neighbour’s carrots at midnight.
Musicians pour cola down competing Cello holes.

We used to believe in the job itself. Mime artists
built invisible campervans from united limbs,
now they wall themselves into singular boxes.
Chuckles the Clown pissed in Koko’s confetti-bucket.

With my basket full of severed thumbs, I bumbled back
from the strawberry-picking competition. We’d rather
eat naked cheesecake than share the fruit of our labours, 
ever since that little birdie told us a story: 

There’s a place reserved for you in a horn-gabled hall
where dragons flex their book-spines in shadowy alcoves.
Come with me, said the birdie, to the Land of Prestige
where the sound of your name carries water from the sun.

But the moat is soupy with bones, immigrants who rode
by tandem bike or passenger car, ignored the signs:
‘IF YOU SHARE A SEAT ON THE FUNICULAR RAILWAY,
PRESTIGE WILL BE DENIED.’ Samaritans are labelled.

The locals flaunt Olympian hats on the boardwalk,
enamel-white Ipods spurting gunfire in their ears.  
Property developers receive upgraded wives
as theatre critics bake in moleskin conservatories

and this is the world of giant sunflowers, big cheese,
the world we swapped a kidney for. I clutch my talent
in the holding room, nose-to-neck with previous friends.
Every time the turnstile clicks, we bubble at the mouth. 

 

(c) Caroline Bird (Uit: Watering Can)

 

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