Louis Esterhuizen. Charles Simic oor die poësie en die geldwaarde daarvan

Charles Simic (foto), voormalige poet laureate van die VSA, is en bly ‘n uiters belangrike kommentator wanneer dit by die digkuns kom. So het hy onlangs weer ‘n ietwat tong-in-die-kies-essay oor die gewaande geldwaarde van die digkuns gepubliseer in die New York Review of Books; ‘n essay wat hy inlei met die volgende sardoniese uitspraak deur Tim Parks: “If people only read poetry, which you can never stop poets producing even when you pay them nothing at all, then the law of copyright would disappear in a trice.”

Nou ja, toe. Volgens Simic is die digkuns die enigste genre met ‘n rooskleurige toekoms aangesien finansiële oorwegings en die wins wat uit die poësie te maak is, die laaste ding is waarmee die digter hom bemoei: “Despite copyright laws, most of our poems are already freely available to millions of people on the Internet and in this age of short attention spans, poetry may end up by being the only literature people will read. With no bookstores left and libraries shut down, lovers in need of additional romantic stimulus will have to reach for their iPhones and find a poem suitable for the occasion to read to each other. Poetry’s strength comes from such practical uses. Everyone has heard of poems being read at marriage ceremonies and funerals, but I suspect nobody has ever tried to inflict a chapter of a novel or a short story on that kind of gathering. No wonder writers and intellectuals by and large disdain poetry. Poets work for nothing, Tim Parks says. In other words, they turn poems out the way a sweatshop in a third-world country turns out cheap toys,” skryf hy reeds in die eerste paragraaf.

‘n Belangrike bydraende faktor tot bogenoemde is volgens Simic die feit dat gedigte meestal veel korter tekste is as prosawerke en dat daar gevolglik die opvatting bestaan dat die digter die gedig sommer tsjoef-tsjaf tussen tandeborsel en brekfis afgehandel het; iets wat aspirant digters, op soek na vinnige en maklike roem, in hul duisende na die skryf van verse lok: “Poetry is dead!, someone shouts happily every now and then, to the relief of parents and those among the educated who never read poetry. No such luck. One just has to see the number of poetry submissions the magazines, including ones that never publish poetry, receive every day. Today more than ever, there are thousands and thousands of people writing poetry in this country, some of them attending one of the hundreds of writing workshops being given in universities, colleges and various other venues, and others writing their own, most likely in complete secrecy and with the modest hope of publishing in a literary journal of some repute and perhaps eventually having a book that will be read and admired by fellow poets and a few others who care for poetry.”

En natuurlik is daar die aantreklikheid van die poësie as perverse daad wat vir Simic nie te versmaai is nie: “In a country that now regards money as the highest good, doing something for the love of it is not just odd, but downright perverse.”

Sela. Maar dat die digkuns haar tans wêreldwyd in ‘n blomtyd bevind, is na alle waarskynlikheid waar; geoordeel aan die ongelooflike produktiwitet wat ‘n mens op die internet en elders waarneem. Gehalte?! Mmm … Maak dit dan hoegenaamd saak? Solank daar net met aanhoudende en eentonige reëlmaat digsels gepleeg word as buffer teen die winsbejag en gepaardgaande kulturele vervlakking.

Of hoe?!

Soos een van ons gevierde digters reeds in 1948 gedig het:

 

‘n Handvol gruis en gedroogde blare,

Wa-boom blare, gnarrabos-blare!

Arm was ek gister, en nou is ek ryk.

C. Louis Leipoldt (Uit: Uit drie wêrelddele, “‘n Handvol gruis …”

 

Nietemin, dit is veral die kommentare onder aan Simic se essay wat ‘n mens tot nadenke stem. Vir jou leesgerief plaas ek enkeles hieronder.

***

“Real poets write because they have a personal need to organize their emotions. You don’t pick poetry, poetry picks you.”

(P. Wissbeck)

*

“You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives”
– Auden, In memory of WB Yeats

(Geplaas deur Vygotsky)

*

“Ain’t no money in poetry
That’s what sets the poet free
I’ve had all the freedom I can stand
Cold dog soup and rainbow pie
Is all it takes to get me by
Fool my belly till the day I die
Cold dog soup and rainbow pie”

(Geplaas deur David Rollison)

*

“Money and poetry bite each other. If you insist making money in literature, you better sell your soul to the devil. He will pay you, for what’s worth. I write poems over 30 years and never felt it differently. If you really like to make money, sell cars, start a business, or write a good novel or literary thriller:a bigger chance of success (sales). So I agree with Mr Simic, regarding POETRY. With capitals. Hannie (The Netherlands / Belgium)”

(Geplaas deur Hannie Rouweler)

*

 

Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed.

  •