Louis Esterhuizen. Die poëtiese stukrag van ‘n fopdosser-kritikus

Oor die poësiekenner Stephen Burt (foto) het ek reeds vantevore geskryf.  En volgens ‘n berig op The New York Times se webblad is dié man nie iemand wat jy op sy baadjie moet takseer nie, want trek hy ietwat op Boy George van Culture Club-faam, word hy tans allerweë beskou as een van die invloedrykste poësie-kommentators in die Amerikaanse lettere.

Burt word soos volg deur die beriggewer van TNYT, Mark Oppenheimer, beskryf:   “Burt is 41, a professor of English at Harvard, heir to the intellectual mantle long held by giants like Harold Bloom and Helen Vendler. He is also an avid science-fiction fan, the founder of a short-lived indie-pop zine, an authority on women’s basketball, the husband of Jessie Bennett, with whom he has two sons, and an unabashed cross-dresser. Bennett often helps Burt pick the women’s clothes that he wears for special occasions – parties, poetry readings – though he says that he never dresses like a woman in the classroom. (‘For the same reason that you wouldn’t teach in a tuxedo,’ he says, ‘because the classroom is about the poem, not about you.’)”

Afgesien van sy eie twee digbundels, is hy aktief betrokke by die bevordering van die digkuns op vele terreine. In hierdie opsig is dit veral sy vermoë om mindere digters te aktiveer en onder die aandag van die breë letterkunde te bring.

Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke

Presies só was dit toe Burt met die digkuns van Laura Kasischke te make gekry het:  “In the 1980s, Laura Kasischke started publishing short, confessional, often dark poems about motherhood, family and domesticity,” skryf Oppenheimer. “She had fans, but Burt felt that she deserved more. Starting in 2000, he wrote reviews praising her work. In 2007, he discussed Kasischke in his book The Forms of Youth: 20th-Century Poetry and Adolescence. The next year, in Boston Review, Burt wrote that ‘Kasischke has invented a new way for verse to sound’ – anyone can recognize that as a serious compliment. In 2009, he reprinted the Boston Review essay in his book Close Calls With Nonsense; and, in 2011, he reviewed Kasischke’s new book, Space, in Chains, for The New York Times Book Review, writing, ‘No poet has joined the chasm of ontological despair to the pathos of household frustration so well as Kasischke’.”

En vandag is Laura Kasischke een van Amerika se meer gerespekteerde digters. “It has made a huge difference in my career, ” het Kasischke, wat doseer aan die Universiteit van Michigan, aan Oppenheimer gesê. “He hasn’t put my poetry on the best-seller list, but I think people read him. And because he goes everywhere and speaks, and has mentioned my name, it has made a difference with other poets and with readers.”

Ander digters wat deur Burt tot die rostrum gepromoveer is, is Rae Armantrout, wat die Pulitzir-prys in 2010 gewen het, en ook digters soos Monica Youn en die afgeskeepte  Allan Peterson. (Aldus Oppenheimer.) “Some dead poets, like Lorine Niedecker, are coming back to life, or at least being read again, in part because of Burt’s ministrations,” het hy bygevoeg.

Hieronder volg een van Kasischke se gedigte wat ek op die internet kon opspoor.

***

The drinking couple, similes

until the next drink

like a princess waking up
beside a chimpanzee-

or that chimpanzee
in a tuxedo, strapped

to a rocket, launched
in a living room, like

not the strong man’s arm, just
the sleeve, as if

not only the birds but the cages
had been set free, the way we

were enjoying one another
enjoying one another’s

company

© Laura Kasischke (Uit: Space, in Chains, 2011: Copper Canyon Press)

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3 Kommentare op “Louis Esterhuizen. Die poëtiese stukrag van ‘n fopdosser-kritikus”

  1. Rene Bohnen :

    Burt se idees oor The New Thing is nogal interessant.

  2. ludi maritz :

    Louis ek geniet jou blogs baie – altyd so leersaam! Dankie.

  3. Louis Esterhuizen :

    Dankie, Ludi. Moet sê dat ek dit darem (soms) ook geniet om dié rariteite uit te snuffel.
    En René, bly jy het die artikel gaan lees, want ja, daar is sommer baie ander snykante aan dié lem. Werklik ‘n indrukwekkende kritikus. Gelukkig beskik ons selwers oor kritici en kommentators wat net so veelsydig is. Partymale staan ek sprakeloos oor hoe wyd (en ingelig) ons kritici is oor ‘n verskeidenheid onderwerpe … Waarskynlik is dit die aard van die digkuns, vermoed ek.

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