Louis Esterhuizen. ‘n Opwindende jong Britse digter

Met die nuutste uitgawe van Poetry International Web word daar onder andere gefokus op die jong Britse digter, Sam Riviere (foto), wie se debuutbundel 81 Austerities later vanjaar by Faber & Faber gaan verskyn. Riviere, wat in 1981 gebore is, het glo begin met die skryf van gedigte terwyl hy nog op skool was; daarna het talle publikasies in tydskrifte en koerante soos The Guardian, Poetry London, The Rialto, Ambit, The Spectator, 3:AM, en Poetry Review gevolg. In 2009 is die Eric Gregory Award vir digters jonger as 30-jaar aan hom toegeken.

Katy Evans-Bush, wat die artikel oor Riviere vir PIW geskryf het, tipeer sy digkuns soos volg: “Riviere’s poetry is sharp, urban, ironically alert to slight shades of meaning in everyday actions and his own reactions to them. Lightly punctuated, declarative and sometimes stream-of-consciousness monologues form vignettes of observation and reflection.”

By wyse van illustrasie word die volgende reëls voorgehou waarop Evans-Bush die volgende kommentaar lewer: “There is a finely tuned attention to the detail of words in these poems, as well as to the thing observed, as the poet watches himself watching himself and refracts his observations in a hall of mirrors.”

In 3 years I have been ‘awarded’
£48,000 by various funding bodies
councils and publishing houses
for my contributions to the art
and I would like to acknowledge
the initiatives put in place
by the government and the rigorous
assessment criteria under which
my work has thrived since 2008
I have written 20 or 21 poems
developed a taste for sushi
decent wine bought my acquaintances
many beers many of whom have
never worked a day in their lives . . .

Nou ja, toe. Op PIW is daar soos gebruiklik ook ‘n hele paar gedigte van die jonge heer Riviere waaraan jy jou kan verlustig. En so, met die deurlees, wonder ek by my se selwers of hierdie ‘opwindende jong talent’ in Suid-Afrika hoegenaamd ‘n uitgewer sou kon vind vir hierdie brousels van hom … Of is my poëtiese aanvoeling nou toetentaal verstok ?!

Nietemin, hieronder volg nog ‘n vers. Oordeel maar self.


Hello, I’m visiting the area on behalf of Amnesty International

The world’s a pretty scary place and sometimes it seems hopeless,
but it’s good to try and make a difference. . .
I say my piece
to the twins in sloppy jumpers and blue jeans who answered the door
of their tall, odd house at the top of the hill, but fluff my rhythm
when they swap an honest, amused look and toss their fringes,
each moving her arm on the banister, and I can’t help but think
about the long, intimate evenings this September when they sit
on the floor of their blue bedroom, one sketching faces she dreamt,
the other listening on headphones to dead singers from the seventies
while their father, a professor of classics, marks PhDs in his basement
– imagine the suppers of salad and lasagne we could share
in the dim kitchen, the girls showing me their mother’s drawings
who died gifting the world with these warm and witty sisters
who’d give anything to know her, and still bake a pink cake
for her birthday, while their father smiles faintly at the paper,
talks of gods and cats, his hands shaking slightly from nerves,
and later I’d take the spare room looking over south-east London,
the park slanted with swings and shadows, the houses staggered
on the hill, where the sun reads from a line of windows, I’d read
till I was tired, and no longer heard the twins’ voices in the attic,
their laughter, high and heavy, leaving through the skylight.

© Sam Riviere






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