Louis Esterhuizen. Jane Yeh, ‘n opwindende jong Britse digter

 

Poetry International Web bly darem maar ‘n bron van opwindende ontdekkings … So ontdek ek onlangs aan die hand van ‘n oorsigartikel deur Katy Evans-Bush die opwindende jong Britse digter, Jane Yeh (foto), wat selfs na net twee digbundels beskou word as een van die mees belangrike ‘nuwe stemme’ in hul digkuns. So was haar debuutbundel, Marabou (2005: Carcanet) genomineer op die kortlyste vir die Whitbread, Forward en Aldeburgh Festival poësiepryse. Haar tweede bundel, The Ninjas, het verlede jaar by Carcanet verskyn en is eweneens besig om haar reputasie as ‘n unieke, eiesoortige digter te bestendig.

Volgens Evans-Bush se inleidende paragrawe die volgende: “With just two collections, Jane Yeh has established herself in the UK poetry world as an assured, witty, linguistically adept magpie. Taking her subjects from almost anywhere, her poems explore what identity means in a world of appearances. Paintings, robots, animals – even the owl who was chosen to play the owl in the Harry Potter movie – show us facets of ourselves […] Yeh’s poems often employ a matter-of-fact tone of reportage, avoiding subjective fiction-style characterisation, but rather allowing voices to filter through from beyond – beyond time, beyond the literal.”

Vervolgens bespreek Evans-Bush die gebruik van veral historiese stemme in Yeh se gedigte; ‘n siening wat ook deur Yeh self tydens ‘n onderhoud met die New Welsh Review geopper is: “. . . these characters were (rather inevitably) anachronistic, i.e. the product of me, a twentieth-century American woman, trying to imagine the voice and thoughts of someone in very different circumstances in the past. The same could be said of writing in the voices of animals, which I also tend to do – that they’re overly anthropomorphised, hence inauthentic. But what’s important to me is trying to access the language of these characters, rather than trying to create ‘realistic’ simulacra. Their language, and their situations, are much more interesting than my own.”

Jane Yeh is in Amerika gebore en het aan die Universiteit van Harvard gestudeer. Sy het twee magistergrade voltooi aan die Iowa Writers’ Workshop en die Manchester Metropolitan University. Tans woon sy in Londen en is as senior dosent in kreatiewe skryfwerk verbonde aan die Universiteit van Kingston. 

Ten slotte, ‘n laaste aanhaling uit die reeds genoemde onderhoud met die NWR oor die kwessie van onderrig in kreatiewe skryfkuns: “As a teacher of creative writing and a former student of creative writing courses, unsurprisingly I do think writing can be taught, like any other skill. No one challenges the fact that people take lessons in music or drawing or acting or dancing, so why should writing be different? Any area of knowledge can be taught – we’re not just born knowing how to analyse a novel and write an essay about it, we learn how to do so by studying English Lit at school. That doesn’t mean that everyone who studies English Lit will become a brilliant scholar and thinker, just as not everyone who studies creative writing will become a brilliant writer. But concentrated focus on a subject, with guidance from a teacher, is usually a good thing.”

Nou ja, toe. Hieronder volg twee verse uit haar mees onlangse bundel by wyse van lusmaker. Op Poetry International Web, en ook op haar persoonlike webtuiste, is daar nog heelwat gedigte om te geniet.

 

***

On Ninjas

They eat four-cheese pizzas with three of the cheeses removed.
They make friendship bracelets out of aluminium foil and poison.
They open windows just by thinking about opening windows.
They take ballet lessons to improve the speed of their circular arm movements.
 
The ninjas are coming, coming to save us from muggers
And disorganised thieves and slobs who want to kill us.
The way to spot a ninja is to look for someone wearing black pyjamas—
Preternaturally neat black pyjamas—with a hood for cover.
 
The way to tell one ninja from another is by the ankles.
The way to tell one ninja from another is you can’t.
They know how to levitate by thinking about birds’ feet.
They make terrible cater waiters because no-one can hear them coming.
 
Their mission is to save us from chaos with their acute tumbling skills
And their climbing proficiency. They don’t want to dismember
Bad jazz musicians or art teachers or con men, but they will.
They know how to escape from a trap by running in place very, very fast.
 
They can change places with each other by thinking about numbers.
They turn themselves into fog to get out of attending boring parties.
They make single-serving Lancashire hotpots to show their culinary mastery.
They take turns doing the laundry.  (It’s easy:  no whites or colours.)
 
The ninjas are here to help us. They are as ruthless as history
Or defenestration. They are pitiless as a swarm of bees, or evolution.
They know how to throw fireballs and do their own taxes. 
They hate litter and small children. They are here to fix us.

 

© Jane Yeh (Uit: The Ninjas, 2012: Carcanet)

 

***

This Morning,

 

The romance of the world washed over me.
My heart swelled with positive feelings, not œdema.
The forklift out the window beeped I LUV U in Morse code.
 
A curious pigeon molested my birdfeeding contraption.
I pined longingly for my absent biscuits, which had been eaten last week. 
Even the unfriendly cat sensed the fragility of the moment
And refrained from licking its bits. How sweet
 
It was to breathe the sausage-scented air, and feel
The throb of the washing machine like a second heart
Keeping me true. In the garden a host of petunias dangled
And waved their skinny limbs. Oh darlings,
 
Some days are painted with high-saturation pigment, some
Are faint as a blueprint seen from space—today the bees
Are droning a hosanna to wish me bonne journée
 
It’s ridiculous to be so full of honey for a living.
It’s ridiculous how ardently the washing machine sings.
Dear pigeon, I used to be a heretic from the world—
Then romance washed over me. I think I might believe.

 

© Jane Yeh (Uit: The Ninjas, 2012: Carcanet)

 

 

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Een Kommentaar op “Louis Esterhuizen. Jane Yeh, ‘n opwindende jong Britse digter”

  1. Jasper van Zyl :

    Fantasties! Ek het koue rillings!

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