Louis Esterhuizen. Nuwe bloemlesing met gedigte van Sylvia Plath nou beskikbaar

 

In haar dertigjarige leeftyd het Sylvia Plath (foto), wat op 11 Februarie 1963 gesterf het, net twee van haar eie publikasies onder oë gehad, te wete The Colossus and Other Poems in 1960 en haar roman The Bell Jar kort voor haar dood. Ten spyte van die skrale aanloop is sy teenswoordig nie net ‘n ikoniese digter (vir watter rede ook al) nie, maar een van die digters wie se werke wêreldwyd van die beste poësieverkopers is.

Daarom dat dit hoegenaamd nie vreemd is dat daar pas nog ‘n bloemlesing van haar gedigte verskyn het nie.   Sylvia Plath – Poems chosen by Carol Ann Duffy (Faber & Faber) is inderdaad ‘n besonderse versameling wat deur die Britse poet laureatte, Carol Ann Duffy byeengebring is. Op The Guardian se webtuiste is daar ‘n uitgebreide uiteenseeting deur Duffy oor haar bewondering vir Plath se digkuns en dan meer spesifiek oor die “hoe” en die “waarom” van hierdie bloemlesing.

 

Omslag

In die gedeeltes waarin sy haar waardering jeens Plath laat blyk, word sowel Ted Hughes as Seamus Heaney betrek: “Plath, like all great poets, is ruthless in her pursuit of the poem. Although, as in the case of Oscar Wilde, say, or the war poets, we cannot think of the work without the life: she had a kind of lunar detachment that ultimately sets her poems free of herself. That is why they continue to have life. In his introduction to her Collected Poems (1981), Hughes writes: ‘Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like – if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy.’ And of the Ariel poems, Seamus Heaney comments: ‘They are full of exhilaration in themselves, the exhilaration of a mind that creates in some sort of mocking spirit, outstripping the person who has suffered. They move without hesitation and assume the right to be heard; they, the poems, are what we attend to, not the poet.’

Maar gelees gerus die volledige teks op The Guardian se webblad. Dit is omvattend, met vele persoonlike anekdotes en insiggewende kommentaar oor veral die Britse en Amerikaanse vrouedigters en die invloed wat Plath op hulle gehad het.

Ten slotte, die twee paragrawe waarmee Duffy haar essay afsluit, gevolg deur enkele reëls uit Plath se bekende gedig “Lady Lazarus”.

“Poets are ultimately celebrators, of life and of poetry itself. A vocational poet like Plath gives life back to us in glittering language – life with great suffering, yes, but also with melons, spinach, figs, children and countryside, moles, bees, snakes, tulips, kitchens and friendships. There can be a chilling detachment about Plath’s poetic personality – like Yeats, she casts “a cold eye / On life, on death” – but she also deploys a comic playfulness, a great appetite for sensuous experience, a delight in the slant rhymes and music of her verse, bravado, brio, a tangible joy in the unflowering of her genius.

In my selection for Faber, intended to sit alongside Selected Poems (1985), roughly chronological to shadow her progress, I have tried to walk through the landscape of Plath’s poetry as though for the first time, 50 years older than I was when she died. In doing so I have experienced afresh the almost physical excitement I felt when I first read this bold, brilliant, brave poet who changed the world of poetry for us all.”

***

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it –

A sort of walking miracle,
my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify? –

© Sylvia Plath (Uit: Lady Lazarus, 1965: Ariel)

 

 

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