Dansende Digtersfees. Die vier vrae wat melancholie aan jou stel


Vir dekades reeds word die Sloeweense digter, Tomaž Šalamun, as een van die vernaamste digters in wêreldpoësie gereken. Daarom dat dit ook nie verrassend is dat daar soveel bundels van Šalamun beskikbaar is in Engelse vertaling nie … En elkeen van hulle is eenvoudig oorrompelend; veral sy mees onlangse bundel, The Blue Tower, wat in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt verskyn het.

Die publikasie wat ek egter aan jou sou wou voorhou as “beste aanwins” tydens die Dansende Digtersfees, is die bloemlesing The Four Questions of Melancholy – New and Selected Poems, ‘n keur uit die eerste 25 bundels van Šalamun wat deur Christopher Merrill saamgestel en versorg is. (En dit boonop teen ‘n uiters bekostigbare prys aangebied word.)

Tomaz Salamun

Volgens die resensent wat die boek vir die Midwest Book Review geresenseer het, die volgende: “Ably edited by Christopher Merrill, The Four Questions Of Melancholy is a collection of poetry containing selections from each of Tomaz Salamun’s 25 works. Although images of the larger world (war, politics and peace) pervade his works, there are also images that speak to the more personal and immediate. This blend creates a complete whole rare in such collections. “Only God exists. Spirits are a phantom. /Blind shadows of machines concealing the Kiss. /My Death is my Death. It won’t be shared/with the dull peace of others laid beneath this sod […] The poetry of Tomaz Salamun criticizes the often-absurd universe of politicians, and legends emergent out of everyday events. Without a doubt the Leninist-Stalinist society in which Salamun is raised plays a major role in his development as a poet. During Tito’s regime in Yugoslavia, poets could be arrested and could spend a year in jail for impolite references to any number of public officials. While in other circumstances, political repression raises a feeling of revolution among artists and especially in poetry of revolt; rejection and denouncement, in much of Eastern European poetry takes on a much more rebellious, clever and even mocking tone. It is because Salamun is a free man who likes his country and likes his country free that Salamun feels the need to talk about the wrong doing during the period of oppression.”

Ter afsluiting, die volgende aanbeveling deur Jorie Graham: “What a joy – a large, wonderfully selected collection of Tomaz Salamun’s poems – one of Europe’s great philosophical wonders. Finally seeing so much of the work in one sequence makes clear how brilliantly and stubbornly – and uniquely – he has explored the nature of the real, how many avenues of perception he has coursed down. Realism, surrealism, song, aphorism, lyric, anti-lyric – everything from Apollinaire’s physical wonders to Rilke’s theological fears swirl through these beautiful, scary, and deeply original poems.”


Vervolgens die boekbesonderhede en dan die gedig “History”, een van Šalamun se bekendste en mees geliefde gedigte.


[ISBN: 9781877727573, Sagteband, 265 ble., White Pine Press, R221.00]



Tomaz Salamun is a monster.
Tomaz Salamun is a sphere rushing through the air.
He lies down in twilight, he swims in twilight.
People and I, we both look at him amazed,
we wish him well, maybe he is a comet.
Maybe he is punishment from the gods,
the boundary stone of the world.
Maybe he is such a speck in the universe
that he will give energy to the planet
when oil, steel, and food run short.
He might only be a hump, his head
should be taken off like a spider’s.
But something would then suck up
Tomaz Salamun, possibly the head.
Possibly he should be pressed between
glass, his photo should be taken.
He should be put in formaldehyde, so children
would look at him as they do foetuses,
protei, and mermaids.
Next year, he’ll probably be in Hawaii
or in Ljubljana. Doorkeepers will scalp
tickets. People walk barefoot
to the university there. The waves can be
a hundred feet high. The city is fantastic,
shot through with people on the make,
the wind is mild.
But in Ljubljana people say: look!
This is Tomaz Salamun, he went to the store
with his wife Marushka to buy some milk.
He will drink it and this is history.

© Tomaž Šalamun (Vertaal deur die digter in samewerking met Bob Perleman)



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