Poetry International Web fokus op Wilma Stockenström

Wilma Stockenström

Wilma Stockenström

In navolging van onlangse berigte oor die blootstelling wat die Afrikaanse digkuns tans in die Lae lande geniet, was ek verheug om te sien dat Poetry International Web met hul mees onlangse uitgawe o.a. op die digkuns van Wilma Stockenström fokus.

Uit die oorsigartikel deur Johann de Lange, die volgende aanhalings by wyse van ‘n leesprikkel: “When Wilhelm Grütter approached her about the possibility of publishing a volume of poetry, Stockenström had only twelve poems ready for publication. He proposed using beautiful paper and typesetting the manuscript in a large font. Wilma playfully suggested calling it Vir die bysiende leser (For the Near-sighted Reader). This throwaway line later proved a fitting and astute title to the collection with which she made her poetic debut in 1970. Published initially by Rijger, a small independent press, this slim volume might have gone unnoticed were it not for the expert eye of poet and critic D.J. Opperman. He convinced the major publishing house, Human & Rousseau, to acquire the publication rights, to buy up the remaining stock, and to cultivate her as important voice.”

In De Lange se artikel bekyk hy haar digkuns dan van die vroegste verse af tot en met haar mees onlangse. Oor haar vroeë verse het hy die volgende te sê: “Stockenström’s early style and themes arrived as if fully formed, unadorned and devoid of affectation and poetic fashion. Rhyme, conventional musicality and traditional forms were abandoned in favour of more sober language and a strongly ironic stance. Her individual approach to syntax reveals a strong Germanic influence. In this, as in her love of coining new words, she has a strong affinity with the rebel poet, Peter Blum, most likely born in Trieste. Her poems spring from the “stony bedrock of birth and death” which is Africa, immediately relevant, intense and interwoven with the politics, prehistory, myths and folklore of the continent.”

Maar dit is veral vir sy slotopmerkings wat ‘n mens die trompette wil blaas: “Wilma Stockenström has an undeserved reputation as a difficult, hermetic poet. Yet her inimitable poetry is accessible and offers a stimulating reading experience. There is no poet in Afrikaans that can sensibly be compared to her. With Monsterverse she created a body of poems which holds its own next to other great volumes of poetry in Afrikaans, like N.P. van Wyk Louw’s Tristia (Tristia) and Komas uit ‘n bamboesstok (Comas from a Bamboo Stick) by D.J. Opperman.”

Inderdaad ‘n besonderse erkenning van een van ons vernaamste digterskappe.

Ook is daar saam met die artikel vyf gedigte in die Afrikaans sowel as Engelse vertaling (deur Johann de Lange) om te geniet. Vir jou leesgenot plaas ek die Engelse vertaling van die bekende gedig “Die skedel lag al huil die gesig” onder aan vanoggend se Nuuswekker.


Tydens my afwesigheid gisteroggend het daar twee nuwe bydraes verskyn. Astrid Lampe vertel in Wisselkaarten van ‘n besonderse geleentheid by Oostende, terwyl Jelleke Wierenga na maande van uitmuntende deelname aan die webblad besluit het om as blogger uit te tree met ‘n besonderse stuk oor ‘n geliefde padda wat daarmee heen is. Baie dankie vir jou wonderlike bydraes, Jelleke. (En voorspoed met al die nuwe projekte wat voortaan jou aandag gaan opeis …)

Dan eers weer groet. Intussen is daar ‘n naweek om te geniet. 

Mooi bly.





One day, I know, I’ll outface
death with skull grinning. At least
I’ll retain my sense of humour. But
whether, like the late Mrs. Ples
or the bluebuck of my native land,
I’ll warrant a glass case in a museum . . . ?
Man is not exactly a rare animal.

Still, how clever we are with our
inner clockwork-genius, how strong
the wide swaying crane-like gestures
with which we drop rectangular skyscrapers
in residential areas and business centres.
Remarkable our scrambling research
right through dolomite to sink our arms
shaft-deep to grab and haul up
the grey ore, grinding
and refining it to bar on bar of hive-like
packed safes of investments. Oh yes,
absolutely marvelous our ability to enrich
discarded sand to fire-dust
which, if we wanted to, might just
furiously, beautifully burn up everything
in an ultimate unrepeatable blaze.

Didn’t I say the skull laughs
though the face cries?

© Vertaling: 2007, Johann de Lange
Uit: The Wisdom of Water: Selected Poems
Uitgewer: Human & Rousseau, Kaapstad, 2007


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