Om jou eerste liefde te versaak

Persoonlik vind ek dit altyd interessant om op te let hoeveel prominente prosaskrywers hul skrywersloopbaan as digter begin het. Hier ter lande hoef ‘n mens maar net te dink aan bekendes soos Marlene van Niekerk, Etienne van Heerden, Koos Kombuis en Abraham de Vries; om maar net enkeles te noem. Internasionaal bestaan daar natuurlik dieselfde tendens.

Paul Auster

Paul Auster

Een van die bekendste voorbeelde hiervan is Paul Auster wat nog altyd een van my gunstelingdigters was; trouens sy Collected Poems (2007: Faber & Faber) is een van my mees-geleesde boeke. Daarom was dit amper ‘n instinktiewe reaksie om die onderhoud op The Paris Review wat in 2003 deur Michael Wood met hom gevoer is, te lees. In dié onderhoud word Auster uiteraard uitgevra oor sy jare van poëtiese aspirasies: “The last poem I wrote was in 1979. I ran into a wall. For ten years, I concentrated the bulk of my energies on poetry and then I realized that I’d written myself out, that I was stuck. It was a dark moment for me. I thought I was finished as a writer. I think it happened at the moment when I understood that I didn’t care anymore, when I stopped caring about making Literature. I know it sounds strange, but from that point on writing became a different kind of experience for me and when I finally got going again after wallowing in the doldrums for about a year, the words came out as prose. The only thing that mattered was saying the thing that needed to be said. Without regard to preestablished conventions, without worrying about what it sounded like. That was the late seventies and I’ve continued working in that spirit ever since.”

Michel Houellebecq

Michel Houellebecq

Die grootste verrassing vir my was toe ek egter die onderhoud lees wat Susannah Hunnewell vroeër vanjaar vir The Paris Review met Michel Houellebecq gevoer het; ook dié befaamde skrywer was eens ‘n digter! “I think poetry is the only domain where a writer you like can truly be said to influence you, because you read and reread a poem so many times that it simply drills itself into your head […] I loved the alexandrine, the traditional twelve-syllable verse. When I was at university, I wrote quite a bit of classical verse in tetrameters, which appealed to the other poets. They said, Hey, that’s not bad. Why not write in classical verse? It can be done.”

En op die vraag of hy hom as digter sowel as prosaïs sou beskryf, was sy reaksie: “Not really. It’s sad to say, but when you write novels that have a certain impact, you start to sense that editors are publishing your poems out of charity. And it becomes embarrassing.”

Nou ja, toe. So is dit met die verlooptes onder ons …

Vir jou leesplesier plaas ek vanoggend een van Paul Auster se vroeëre gedigte onder aan die Nuuswekker.

***

Sedert Vrydag het daar weer heelwat nuwe leesstof op die webblad bygekom. So is daar ‘n onderhoud wat Lucie Möller met Martjie Bosman gevoer het; in Keelskoonmaak kan jy Jo Prins se bydrae lees, terwyl daar ook nuwe gedigte deur Joan Hambidge en Fanie Olivier in hul onderskeie gedigtekamers te lese is. Onder die bloggers is daar sommer twee bydraes deur Luuk Gruwez in Wisselkaarten, oor die digter Pim te Bokkel en ‘n “brief” aan Leonard Cohen, en ten slotte ‘n kort stuk deur Andries Bezuidenhout oor die kerk se hekkies en ‘n volgende aflewering deur Charl-Pierre Naudé oor nuttelose begrippe in die poësiekritiek.

Inderdaad ‘n lorrievol om die week mee te begin …

Lekker lees.

LE

 

WHITE NIGHTS

No one here,
and the body says: whatever is said
is not to be said. But no one
is a body as well, and what the body says
is heard by no one
but you.

Snowfall and night. The repetition
of a murder
among the trees. The pen
moves across the earth: it no longer knows
what will happen, and the hand that holds it
has disappeared.

Nevertheless, it writes.
It writes: in the beginning,
among the trees, a body came walking
from the night. It writes:
the body’s whiteness
is the color of earth. It is earth,
and the earth writes: everything
is the color of silence.

I am no longer here. I have never said
what you say
I have said. And yet, the body is a place
where nothing dies. And each night,
from the silence of the trees, you know
that my voice
comes walking toward you.

 

 

© Paul Auster (Uit: Wall Writing, 1971 – 1975)

 

 

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