Louis Esterhuizen. Nuwe president vir Poetry Society

 

Na die iewat ongemaklike omstredenheid waarin Brittanje se Poetry Society onlangs gedompel is weens bestuursprobleme en die onttrekking van twee kandidate op die kortlys vir vanjaar se T.S. Eliot-prys, het hulle verlede week hul nuwe president aangewys. En verrassend genoeg is dit die veteraan, dog uiters gewilde, Roger McGough (foto).

Hierdie aanstelling volg nadat Judith Palmer in Mei verlede jaar bedank het weens kritiek teen haar administrasie; sy is toe deur Jo Shapcott opgevolg, met Sean O’Brien, Don Paterson en Anne Stevenson as bestuurslede. In Augustus verlede jaar is Palmer egter weer in haar vroeerë pos aangestel nadat meer as 1,000 geregistreerde digters ‘n petisie ten gunste van haar heraanstelling aan die Arts Council England voorgelê het. ‘n Verdere komplikasie vir die Poetry Society is dat die Arts Council England die £360,000 befondsing vir hul projekte weerhou het vanweë hierdie onsmaaklike geskrop in ‘n onwelriekende hoenderhok. Verlede week het die ACE egter bekend gemaak dat hulle “recently released some funding to the Poetry Society in recognition of the considerable progress it has made towards meeting the conditions we set over the summer”, en dat hulle van voorneme is “to move to a full restoration of funding in the new year”.

Volgens The Guardian se berig is die aanstelling van Roger McGough as nuwe president ‘n gewilde een. McGough het aan The Guardian se beriggewer genoem dat hy geëerd voel met die aanstelling en bygevoeg: “I believe that poetry will become more relevant and important over the coming years, and an efficient and well-run Poetry Society should be there to embrace it.”

Shapcott het na McGough verwys as “a wonderful new president”, vanweë sy “strong connection with poetry readers, his generosity to other poets and the range and brio of his own work”. Carol Ann Duffy, Brittanje se poet laureate, het McGough beskryf as ‘n “national treasure” en “patron saint of poetry”. Volgens Duffy kenmerk “a serious depth of experience, vitality and irrepressible wit” die nuwe president.

Vir jou leesplesier volg ‘n toepaslike vers hieronder; dieselfde vers waarmee die kersboom op Trafalgar Square versier is.

***

 

Roots

 

Like a poem around a tree
Like a freedom flag unfurled
A homeless refugee
I have travelled round the world

I remember slanted mountains with dusted white peaks
ivory snow and emerald green trees.
I remember the tickle going up my spine
when birds settled on my branches.
The soft footfall of a passing fox.

I remember the sweet smell of pine-scented smoke
wafting from chocolate log cabins.
I remember thinking that there will come a time soon
When I will no longer remember any of this:

A sickle moon
The scrunching sound of footsteps
A brutal saw chomping through my bark
and the snow slides off me like a silken robe.

The squabble of sea birds and an icy deck
the savagery of ropes and roller-coasting waves,
until eventually, the warm cuddle of sleep.

In a clearing in the concrete forest of a city
I rise to the noise of pigeons and car horns,
Of children laughing and crowds cheering.
With 500 white lights I am adorned. Am excited.
Crowned with a star. I am adored and delighted.

When the children leave and the music stops
And the lights and the words taken down
Unlike the tree I have put down roots
In London, my new home town

Lights, camera, action!
A switch is pulled
and I light up like an angel.

 

© Roger McGough

 

 

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