Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Cooper’

Desmond Painter. Dennis Cooper en Little Caeser

Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Little Caeser

Little Caeser

My vorige inskrywing op hierdie blog het gehandel oor die Amerikaanse digter en skrywer Dennis Cooper. Benewens sy eie skryfwerk is Cooper ook bekend vir die tydskrif Little Caeser. Dit word op Cooper se webblad beskryf as ‘n “literary journal with an anarchist, punk rock spirit.”

“From its humble beginnings as a skinny, low-tech zine dominated by poetry, it grew into a book sized magazine featuring poetry, fiction, portfolios of art and photography, essays, special theme issues, and interviews with a wide range of writers, artists, and pop culture figures (ranging from teen idol Leif Garrett to musicians like Johnny Rotten and Gram Parsons to porn director Toby Ross, to name but a few).”

Daar het altesaam twaalf uitgawes van Little Caeser tussen 1976 tot 1982 verskyn.  Met bydraers wat Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Nico, Debbie Harry en Brian Eno ingesluit het, is dit seker nie vreemd dat hierdie uitgawes vandag versamelaarsitems is nie. Volgens Cooper se webblad: “These days, issues of Little Caesar are highly sought after and have sold on the collector’s market for as much $800.” Cooper se inleiding tot Little Caeser 1 laat my nogal dink aan Loftus Marais se “Die digter as rockster”, en aan die besprekings oor die verhouding tussen die digkuns en rockmusiek in Afrikaans wat daarop gevolg het:

“I have this dream where writers are mobbed everywhere they go, like rock stars and actors. A predilection? You never know. People like Patti Smith are subtly forcing their audiences to become literate, introducing them to Rimbaud, Breton, Burroughs and others. Poetry sales are higher than they’ve been in fifteen years. In Paris ten year old boys clutching well worn copies of Apollonaire’s ALCOOLS put their hands over their mouths in amazement before paintings by Renoir and Monet. Bruce Lee movies close in three days. This could happen here.”

Daar is ook niks nuut onder die son nie! In elk geval, vir diegene wat in kultuurfenomene soos Amerikaanse little mags uit die 1970’s belangstel, is daar goeie nuus: Jy het nie $800 nodig om jou hande op Little Caeser te kry nie. Jy kan ‘n hele paar van hulle in pdf-formaat hier besigtig en aflaai, op Cooper se webblad. Hier is ook sommer nog een van Cooper se gedigte; ‘n heel gepaste een, dink ek, siende ons vanoggend rondgedwaal het in ‘n amper vergete, heel marginale argief:

 

Time is a construct – Dennis Cooper

Time is a construct.
Invented so we wouldn’t miss
mass and meals,
births and bombing raids,
weddings and wakes,
meetings and monied accounts.

What is time?
A false finite; a blasphemy on forever.

 

Desmond Painter. Dennis Cooper en Johann de Lange?

Monday, June 28th, 2010
Dennis Cooper

Dennis Cooper

Ek kom gister toevallig af op ‘n gedig van die Amerikaanse digter en skrywer Dennis Cooper (geb. 1953). Tematies herinner die gedig my nogal sterk aan Johann de Lange se treffende gedigte, uit die laat ’80s en vroeë ’90s veral, oor ‘cruising’ en anononieme seks.

Cooper is op ‘n stadium beskou as ‘n verteenwoordiger van die sg. ‘blank generation’ van die 1980s. In ‘n inleiding tot Cooper se bundel The Tenderness of Wolves (1982) skryf Edmund White soos volg oor hierdie kategorie digters en skrywers: ‘In one sense the refinement of the blank generation consists of not selling anything. No moral lesson, no political message, no political outcry, no artistic slogan — nothing is insisted on and the voice is never raised. Indeed, this is a world governed by style alone…’

Ek wonder tot watter mate hierdie beskrywing van ‘n soort apolitiese estetisisme (as ek dit so kan stel), met die vooropstelling van persoonlike styl en lewenskuns, wel ook van toepassing is op die werk van iemand soos Johann de Lange? Ek dink daar is sekerlik verbande te trek tussen Cooper en De Lange se werk uit die 1980s, en interessante vrae wat gevra kan word oor die historiese en maatskaplike kondisies wat hierdie soort estetiese ingesteldheid in die 1980s moontlik, en vir sommige kunstenaars noodsaaklik, gemaak het. Ek wonder ook wat die verskille en ooreenkomste was tussen kondisies in die VSA en Suid-Afrika in hierdie verband? 

Ek plaas Cooper se uitstekende ‘No God’ (uit The Tenderness of Wolves) hier onder. Die gedig is opgedra aan Michael Silverblatt. Silverblatt is self ‘n interessante karakter; sedert 1989 is hy die invloedryke aanbieder van ‘n radioprogram oor skrywers en boeke, Bookworm.

 

No God

for Michael Silverblatt

 

Sometimes I go to the pornos,
look through films for a face
I remember from youth, grow
distracted, drive the street
till I find it drawn in shadow


over another, open my car door
and swipe love. My Mercedes
still smells empty seven years
later. The dust from a thousand
big hiking boots, tennies and


sandals blurs softly into the
fur at the foot of the seat
nearest my side, where guys have
enthroned themselves for long
drives, slouched in the vinyl,


having gazed inside from the
sidewalk, like into a wishing
well. I parted the traffic
tonight, prowled for a young
man who looked like a shadow,


saw this guy staring straight
through me, swaying downtown
in loose jeans, with something
vague on his mind. He’ll go
with me, do what I do. Nothing


else interests him this side
of death. Like me he’s just
moving farther away. I can give
him a ride there, because my
route takes me over his haunt


like a man who, so long ago,
gathered livestock lost in the
snow, ran out of gas and froze
going home. We touch in a black
car, on a black road, until numb.

 

[1982]

 

 

 

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