Nuuswekker. Pierre Joris – Die digter as jagter en as heler


‘n Interessante bespreking wat ek onlangs op Jacket 2 raakgelees het, is Norman Weinstein se bespreking van Pierre Joris se versamelde gedigte, Barzakh: Poems 2000–2012 (Black Widow Press 2014, 306 pages, $19.95, ISBN 996007924).

Pierre Joris (1946) is ‘n Franse digter, vertaler, bloemleser en essayis. Afgesien van sy eie bundels, is Joris veral bekend vir sy vertalings van Paul Celan se gedigte. (Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan”, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015). En, indien dit jou interesseer: ‘n onderhoud wat met Joris gevoer was tydens die verskyning van die Celan-vertalings kan hier gelees word. (Die titel van die onderhoud is “Paul Celan and the Meaning of Language”.)

Nietemin, wat my oog dadelik gevang het, is die treffende aanhaling waarmee Weinstein sy bespreking inlei: ““Nothing truer than fragment” — I’m quoting Robert Kelly — & I love the coupling of “truth” which in our Western culture is always associated with the simple, the whole, the complete with the notion of the fragment, which can only be incomplete, multiple, partial so that the notion of a “true fragment” is de facto oxymoronic” (“Maintenant #94 — Pierre Joris: An interview with Pierre Joris by S. J. Fowler)

Hierdie aanhaling volg Weinstein dan op met ‘n beskouing rondom die digter as “jagter” en dan meer spesifiek gerig op Joris as die “jagter na fragmente”: “What Joris does with fragments, with increasing acuity decade after decade in his poems, is search and sift among fragments with urgent speed and decisiveness — nomad on the run — to shape fragments so they coalesce into culturally vibrant patterns of meaning.” En dit is dan juis in daardie “sifting” en “shaping” van fragmente wat die digter se dualisme as “heler” na vore tree.

Volgens Weinstein dui die titel Barzakh op die volgende: “The Quran twice defines ‘barzakh’ as a barrier separating salt water from fresh, suggesting a liminal zone where a soul after the body’s demise finds quiescence before its final infernal or blissful destination. Joris comprehends the tentative in-between nature of healing and hunting poetry. Senses a force-field between Orion and Chiron in the night sky constellating. And advances in his poems in spite of that precarious tragic focus.

By wyse van illustrasie, ‘n uittreksel uit die langerige gedig An Ali Baa.

Mooi bly.





preamble to an alphabet


letters arose

says Abu al-Abbas Ahmed al-Bhuni

letters arose

from the light of the pen

inscribed the Grand Destiny

on the Sacred Table


after wandering through the universe

the light transformed

into the letter alif,

source of all the others.


another arrangement of letters

into words and words

into stories has it

that Allah created the angels

according to the name & number

of the letters so that they should

glorify him with an infinite

recitation of themselves as arranged

in the words of the Qu’ran.


and the letters prostrated themselves

and the first to do so was the alif

for which Allah appointed the alif to be

the first letter of His name & of the



© Pierre Joris (Uit: Barzakh: Poems 2000–2012)



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