Louis Esterhuizen. Waarom is die tweede hekkie altyd hoër?

 

Op die Los Angeles Review of Books se webtuiste het Lisa Russ Spaar onlangs ‘n fassinerende stuk geplaas oor die belangrikheid van die tweede digbundel. Sy begin haar relaas met  verwysing na David Wojahn, eggenoot van die ontslape digter Lynda Hull, se opmerking dat om ‘n digbundel in die VSA te publiseer gelykstaande is daaraan om ‘n roosblaar in die Grand Canyon af te gooi. “What is it about authors’ second poetry books that warrants our special attention?”, vra Spaar dan heel tereg, want “accompanying the writing, publication, notice, and shelf-life of second books of poems are a flock of anxieties, expectations, and other social, cultural, economic, and circumstantial forces that can often lead to their being overlooked and under-reviewed.”

Volgens Spaar (foto hiernaas) is die debuutbundel dikwels die resultaat van ‘n uitgebreide proses waartoe vele rolspelers ‘n bydrae gelewer het: “These debut collections are often flawed, but in interesting ways; in many cases, they owe rather clearly to their authors’ teachers and literary influences.” Hierteenoor staan die opvolgpublikasie met sy eie, inherente problematiek: “Second books are precarious but crucial, both for the poet and for the reader interested in a poet’s oeuvre. They suggest, for one thing, that the poet won’t be a one-hit wonder. They are often more intentional and gestate more quickly than first books. Second books are also often more difficult to get published than first books, a situation that comes as a dismaying surprise to first-book authors.”

Hierna lewer Spaar nogals indringende kommentaar op die eerste twee bundels van ‘n paar Amerikaanse digters, te wete Adrienne Reich, Sylvia Plath, Lynda Hull en Kerri Webster.

Interessante leesstof, inderdaad.

En miskien ‘n sinvolle studieveld vir die meer akademies-geskooldes onder ons? Ek meen: sou ‘n vergelykende studie oor Loftus Marais of Ronelda S. Kamfer se eerste twee bundels nie (dalk) fassinerende gegewe na vore bring nie?

Nietemin, hieronder volg ‘n uittreksel uit Lynda Hull se bundel, Star Ledger. Dié bundel (haar tweede) het na haar dood in 1994 verskyn en onderstaande uittreksel is by wyse van illustrasie deur Lisa Russ Spaar aangehaal.

***

Love Song during Riot with Many Voices, Newark, 1967

 

The bridge’s iron mesh chases pockets of shadow

and pale through blinds shuttering the corner window

 

to mark this man, this woman, the young eclipse

their naked bodies make — black, white, white,

black, the dying fall of light rendering bare walls

 

incarnadine, color of flesh and blood occluded

 

in voices rippling from the radio: Saigon besieged,

Hanoi, snipers and the riot news helicoptered

from blocks away. All long muscle, soft

 

hollow, crook of elbow bent sequined above the crowd,

nightclub dancers farandole their grind and slam

into streets among the looters. Let’s forget the 58¢

 

lining his pockets, forget the sharks and junkyards

 

within us . . . .

 

© Lynda Hull (Uit: Star Ledger, 1994: University of Iowa Press)

 

 

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