Billy Collins se nuutste gedig

Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Die nuutste uitgawe van Poetry Magazine is onlangs op die Poetry Foundation se webblad beskikbaar gestel en tot my vreugde is daar ‘n nuwe gedig deur Billy Collins wat jy kan geniet. Aangesien Chris Coolsma ons met toegewyde ywer bewus hou van dié besonderse digter se werk, was ek oombliklik geïnteresseerd.

Volgens die biografiese skets op Poetry Magazine se webblad, vir die van julle wat nog nie kennis gemaak het met ‘the most popular poet in America’ nie, die volgende: “Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. John Updike praised Collins for writing “lovely poems…Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.”

Maar Collins selwers het ‘n ander beskouing van sy digkuns. Wel gee hy toe dat sy digkuns beskryf kan word as “suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.” In ‘n onderhoud met Richard Howard word hy egter soos volg aangehaal en getipeer: “He has a remarkably American voice … that one recognizes immediately as being of the moment and yet has real validity besides, reaching very far into what verse can do.” Collins has described himself as ‘reader conscious’: “I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I’m talking to, and I want to make sure I don’t talk too fast, or too glibly. Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong. I think my work has to do with a sense that we are attempting, all the time, to create a logical, rational path through the day. To the left and right there are an amazing set of distractions that we usually can’t afford to follow. But the poet is willing to stop anywhere.”

Mmm, pure leesplesier. Vir twee tydperke was hy immers die nasionale poet laureate gewees (2001 – 2003 en 2004 – 2006) en vir al die regte redes die digter van wie daar die meeste bundels verkoop in die VSA.

En natuurlik – hoe dan anders?! – hieronder volg sy nuutste gedig vir jou leesplesier.


Daar het net een nuwe plasing op die webblad bygekom sedert gister; Andries Bezuidenhout wat skryf oor Die See, ‘n nuwe groep wat hy onlangs ontdek het.

En daarmee is die week daarmee heen … Geniet die naweek wat op hande is. Nuuswekker hervat weer Maandag.

Mooi bly.



Memorizing “The Sun Rising” by John Donne


Every reader loves the way he tells off

the sun, shouting busy old fool

into the English skies even though they

were likely cloudy on that seventeenth-century morning.


And it’s a pleasure to spend this sunny day

pacing the carpet and repeating the words,

feeling the syllables lock into rows

until I can stand and declare,

the book held closed by my side,

that hours, days, and months are but the rags of time.


But after a few steps into stanza number two,

wherein the sun is blinded by his mistress’s eyes,

I can feel the first one begin to fade

like sky-written letters on a windy day.


And by the time I have taken in the third,

the second is likewise gone, a blown-out candle now,

a wavering line of acrid smoke.


So it’s not until I leave the house

and walk three times around this hidden lake

that the poem begins to show

any interest in walking by my side.


Then, after my circling,

better than the courteous dominion

of her being all states and him all princes,


better than love’s power to shrink

the wide world to the size of a bedchamber,


and better even than the compression

of all that into the rooms of these three stanzas

is how, after hours stepping up and down the poem,

testing the plank of every line,

it goes with me now, contracted into a little spot within.


© Billy Collins (Uit: Poetry, November 2010)




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2 Kommentare op “Billy Collins se nuutste gedig”

  1. Riet :

    Dankie vir die gedig Louis. Ek is mal oor Billy C en wil oral oral oral van sy verse lees. Maar watter boekwinkel hou dit aan? Sal my maar wend na Loot…of Amazon.

  2. Louis :

    Jammer, Riet, maar ons voorraad van Billy Collins (en ook Tony Hoagland) is ongelukkig uitverkoop. Ons het egter reeds weer bestel en behoort einde Desember weer vooraad te hê.
    Vriendelike groete,