Desmond Painter. ‘His poetry spits blood’: Verdere gedagtes oor Manuel Bandeira

In 2002 het Manuel Bandeira se Selected Poems (uit Portugees in Engels vertaal deur David Slavitt) in ‘n tweetalige uitgawe by Sheep Meadow Press verskyn. Die flapteks van daardie boek bied ‘n goeie kort beskrywing van Bandeira se loopbaan en die kenmerkendste aspekte van sy digterskap: ‘Widely accepted as the greatest of the Brazilian Modernist poets, Manuel Bandeira (1886–1968) spent most of his life suffering from tuberculosis. It has been said “his poetry spits blood” and yet he is a poet of wit and humor. Bandeira’s poetry wanders through Brazil’s hidden life, beauty and language, through the slums of Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon, European and Brazilian civilization. […] There is something of the carnival in Bandeira’s poetry, a wild celebration that precedes and perhaps precluded the Passion. He is a poet of revelation, mystery and strangely ironic humor.’

Hier is een van Bandeira se kenmerkende gedigte oor die dood: 


Absolute Death – by Manuel Bandeira

To die.
To die body and soul.

To die without leaving the sad remains of flesh,
Without leaving the bloodless mask of wax,
Surrounded by flowers,
Which will rot away — so happy! — one day,
Bathed in tears
Born less from grief than from the shock of death.

To die without leaving perhaps even a pilgrim soul…
On the way to heaven?
But what heaven can fulfil your dream of heaven?

To die without leaving a furrow, a trace, a shadow,
Without leaving even the remembrance of a shadow
In any human heart, in any human thought,
In any human skin.

To die so completely
That one day when somebody sees your name on a page
He will ask: “Who was he?…”

To die still more completely:
Without leaving even this name.


En hier is een oor die digkuns self (beide vertaal deur John Nist):

Poetica – by Manuel Bandeira


I am sick of limited lyricism
Of well-behaved lyricism
Of public-servant lyricism
With its time-clock card
And its clerkly protocol
And its ass-kissing flattery of the boss.

I am sick of halting lyricism
That has to look up in the dictionary
The vernacular meaning of a word.

Down with the purists!

I want all the words
Chiefly the universal barbarisms
I want all the constructions
Chiefly the syntactical ones of exception
I want all the rhythms
Chiefly the unnumbered.

I am sick of flirting lyricism
Of political lyricism
Of rickety lyricism
Of syphilitic lyricism
Of all lyricism which surrenders
To anything which is not its true self.

After all, that is not lyricism
That is only bookkeeping
A table of cosines
A handbook for the perfect lover
With a hundred models of letters
And the different ways to please the ladies.

I prefer the lyricism of madmen
The lyricism of drunkards
The difficult and poignant lyricism of drunkards
The lyricism of Shakespeare’s fools.

I will have nothing more to do
With a lyricism which is not freedom.

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3 Kommentare op “Desmond Painter. ‘His poetry spits blood’: Verdere gedagtes oor Manuel Bandeira”

  1. Daniel Hugo :

    Desmond, ken jy Uys Krige se kort opstelletjie uit 1975 oor Bandeira (met vertalings van drie van sy verse) wat opgeneem is in “Die naamlose muse” (Protea Boekhuis, 2002)?

  2. Desmond Painter :

    Hallo Daniel, nee, ek ken Krige se Bandeira-vertalings in “Brasilie Sing!”, maar nie die essay waarna jy verwys nie. Ek sal dit sommer more by die Gericke gaan uitneem. Dankie vir die verwysing.

    Ek het nog nie Kannemeyer se Krige-biografie gelees nie, so ek weet ook nie of Krige ooit self in Brasilie was nie, en hoe goed sy Portugees was nie. Kan jy dalk onthou?

    Ek het onlangs ‘n paar van Krige se vertalings van Brasiliaanse gedigte vergelyk met Engelse vertalings van dieselfde gedigte, en in amper al die gevalle was daar nogal beduidende verskille tussen die Afrikaans en die Engels… Ek vermoed dat Krige, eerder as die meer onlangse Engelse vertalers, homself nogal heelwat vryhede veroorloof het!

  3. Daniel Hugo :

    Krige is deur Bandeira uitgenooi om hom in Brasilië te besoek, maar in sy opstel vertel Krige hoekom hy nooit daar uitgekom het nie. Hoe goed sy Portugees was, weet ek nie.