Posts Tagged ‘Craig Santos Perez’

Louis Esterhuizen. Is die digkuns gestorwe?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

 

Vroeër het ek berig oor die digter Richard Blanco se geleentheidsvers wat hy tydens president Obama se inhuldiging moes voordra. Dié optrede was blykbaar so vervelig en bloedloos dat bykans die ganse Amerikaanse media nou in oproer is. So het Alexandra Petri op Washington Post se webblad ‘n ellelange betoog gelewer waarin sy onomwonde bevind dat die digkuns saliger is: “I say this lovingly as a member of the print media. If poetry is dead, we are in the next ward over, wheezing noisily, with our family gathered around looking concerned and asking about our stereos. Still I think there is a question to be asked. You can tell that a medium is still vital by posing the question: Can it change anything?”

Ja, liewe leser, daardie bebaarde vraag wat telkens teen die digkuns afgevuur word en wat so eie is aan die verbruikersetiek waarvan ons helaas deel uitmaak. Maar sy vervolg: “I think the medium might not be loud enough any longer […] I think what we mean by poetry is a limp and fangless thing. Poetry has gone from being something that you did in order to Write Your Name Large Across the Sky and sound your barbaric yawp and generally Shake Things Up to a very carefully gated medium that requires years of study and apprenticeship in order to produce meticulous, perfect, golden lines that up to ten people will ever voluntarily read.”

Daarna volg ‘n lang uiteensetting van wat die digkuns is (behoort te wees) met die volgende gevolgtrekking wat uiteindelik bereik word: “All the prestige of poetry dates back to when it was the way you got the most vital news there is — your people’s stories. ‘The Iliad,’ ‘The Odyssey,’ and ‘Gilgamesh.” All literature used to be poetry. But then fiction splintered off. Then the sort of tale you sung could be recorded and the words did not have to spend any time outside the company of their music if they did not want to. We have movies now that are capable of presenting images to us with a precision that would have made Ezra Pound keel over. All the things that poetry used to do, other things do much better. But naturally we still have government-subsidized poets. Poets are like the Postal Service — a group of people sedulously doing something that we no longer need, under the misapprehension that they are offering us a vital service.”

Richard Blanco

Vervolgens verwys Petri na die dramaturg Gwydion Suilebhan se tweet wat kort na die Obama-inhuldiging die wêreld ingestuur is: “Poetry is dead,” het hy glo ge-tweet. “What pretends to be poetry now is either New Age blather or vague nonsense or gibberish. It’s zombie poetry.” Hierop vervolg Petri met: “There is no longer, really, any formal innovation possible. The constraints of meter have long been abandoned. What is left? It is a parroting of something that used to be radical. It is about as useful as the clavichord. There is no ‘Howl’ possible or ‘Song of Myself’. There is no ‘The Waste Land’.”

Maar dit is Petri se slotparagraaf wat ek graag wil voorhou, aangesien dit na die mens se volgehoue behoefte aan poësie (of iets dergliks) verwys en ook te make het met wat ek persoonlik as verklaring vir die ontploffing van aspirant-digters op die soasiale media beskou: “We get it in diluted doses in song lyrics. Song lyrics are incomplete poems, as Sondheim notes in the book of his own. If it is complete on the page, it makes a shoddy lyric. But there is still wonderful music to be found in those words. We get it in rap. If we really want to read it, it is everywhere. Poetry, taken back to its roots, is just the process of making — and making you listen.”

Nog ‘n sterk mening oor dié toedrag van sake is deur Craig Santos Perez op The Kenyon Review  se webblad gemaak. Sy doodskoot lees soos volg: “The public attention that Obama has brought to poetry has led some to declare that poetry is dead. I think they are right. Poetry is dead because many Americans have sold their souls for the dream of capitalism, militarism, and colonialism—what Whitman called the “deformed democracy” of America.  Unlike some of Blanco’s other poems, his ‘One Today’ is a perfect poem to present to zombie Americans because it is a dead poem […] For many of us whose native homelands are occupied by America, poetry is one of the few things that keeps us alive. Poetry is our defense against tyranny. It should not be the poet’s role to lip sync the rhetoric of empire. The poet’s role is to challenge and question. The poets role is to inspire others towards dismantling empire so that a truly humane form of life can emerge.”

Sela. So is dit dan. Maar is dit waar?

Hieronder volg ‘n toepaslike vers. Ook met Daniel Hugo se vertaling daarvan as leestoegif.

*

Poëzie

Zoals je tegen een ziek dochtertje zegt:
mijn miniatuurmensje, mijn zelfgemaakt
verdrietje, en het helpt niet;
zoals je een hand op haar hete voorhoofdje
legt, zo dun als sneeuw gaat liggen,
en het helpt niet:

zo helpt poëzie.

© Herman de Coninck (Uit: Met een klank van hobo, 1980)

 

Poësie

Soos wat jy vir ‘n siek dogtertjie sê:

my miniatuurmensie, my selfgemaakte

verdrietjie, en dit help nie;

soos wat jy ‘n hand op haar warm voorhofie

lê, so dun as sneeu gaan lê,

en dit help nie:

 

so help poësie

 

(c) Herman de Coninck (Vertaal deur Daniel Hugo. Uit: 1996: Liefde, miskien)