Kortlys vir TS Eliot-prys veroorsaak ‘n ligte gefladder

Sam Willetts

Sam Willetts

Die T.S. Eliot-prys vir poësie bestaan reeds 18 jaar en word allerweë beskou as die mees gesogte prys vir Engelstalige digters. Met ‘n prysgeld van £15,000 is dit nie net die mees lonenende prys nie, maar die aansien wat daarmee gepaard gaan is eweneens van groot belang.

Die Poetry Book Society het pas die finaliste van die prys, wat op 24 Januarie volgende aangekondig word, bekend gemaak. Volgens Anne Stevenson, voorsitter van die beoordelaarspaneel, was dit ‘n kroonjaar met sy 123 inskrywings waaruit die nege finaliste gekies is: “This was an exceptional year for poetry, with a record number of entries and the judges had agreed on a strong shortlist which is unusually eclectic in form and theme.”

Onder dié finaliste is bekendes soos Seamus Heaney (Human Chain), Derek Walcott (White Egrets), Simon Armitage (Seeing Stars) en Annie Freud (The Mirabelles). Die insluiting van ‘n selfverklaarde sluipslaper (‘homeless person’) en voormalige heroïen-verslaafde, Sam Willetts, wat vir sy debuutbundel New Light for the Old Dark benoem is, het egter die wenkbroue laat lig; aldus ‘n berig op The Guardian se webtuiste.

Gelukkig het sy verslawing en gebrek aan holte vir sy voet klaarblyklik nie sy poëtiese orgaan aangetas nie. Altans, so wil dit voorkom. Hieronder plaas ek ‘n gedig van Willetts, “Digging“. oordeel maar self of dié man die bottelnek gaan rook teen meer  sobere swaargewigte soos Heaney en Walcott.

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‘n Besonderse plasing vanoggend is drie gedigte wat DJ Opperman as student geskryf het. Die kontekstualisering is deur Amanda Botha verskaf.  Onder die bloggers het een nuwe bydrae bygekom en dit is Andries Bezuidenhout wat skryf oor gedigte in die lug. In die vertaalkamers kan jy gedigte van Daniel Hugo vind wat deur Jacqueline Caenberghs en Jooris van Hulle vertaal is na Vlaams. Die gedigte is geneem uit Daniel se mees onlangse bundel, Die panorama in my truspieël (2010: Protea Boekhuis) en sal saam met ‘n onderhoud wat met die digter gevoer is, in die volgende uitgawe van Poeziekrant verskyn.

Lekker lees en geniet die dag.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

Digging

 

Missionary girl reports that Chinese addicts say

your heart begs you to stay away

even while your legs are carrying you back.

After the merry little jitter of the filter

 

and the smack dancing in the spoon, after

the absorbed, childlike, assassin-like procedure-

 

citric, water, flame-I’m back in the basement,

heartsick, digging for a vein in February

 

as in a February gone and a February

still to come, spitting prayers through the tourniquet

 

between my teeth, licking up tears and pleading

for my blood to plume up in the barrel, please

 

blossom up, squid-ink, blood-anemone

in the works-though you can have all that and miss,

 

or pull out and find you’d had a vein, now “pissing

blood”-Deano’s words as his gray fringe smeared across

 

his forehead, as he missed and bled and raged

to get it IN. Blood: thank Christ. Spit out

 

the tie, inject the welling gratitude

that flushes pleasure through the grief-

 

for the help and hope of friends

sold out, for all her loving years-

 

all of it driven down before one flood,

one gut-bracing stealth of warmth. Ah

 

well: restorative as sunshine to a snake.

So around the days and seasons

 

the junkies go-you might as well accelerate

us till our days and nights are strobing by-

 

use, cluck, raise, score, use, cluck, raise

lantern-show flicker of tail-chasing, nameless days

 

spent waiting, cheating, waiting, struggling to outrun

the burn-and-freeze and-maybe worse-

 

the waking up to all that’s lost: her happiness,

her younger years, the child she might have had.

 

FOOTNOTES: cluck: cold turkey; raise: raising money to score

 

© Sam Willetts (Uit: New Light for the Old Dark)

 

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