Posts Tagged ‘Keith Waldrop’

Louis Esterhuizen. Gedigte van anderkant die stilte

Thursday, October 24th, 2013


Nou ja, kyk. Die Franse het dit nou al omtrent deel van hul volksidentiteit gemaak: die drif om ‘anders’ te wil wees. En dit is veral in hul digkuns waar dié aweregse ingesteldheid hom laat geld … Soos dit nou weer die geval is met Claude Royet-Jornoud, die Franse digter waarop Poetry International Web met hul nuutste uitgawe fokus. Dié innoverende digter word soos volg in die oorsigartikel aangekondig: “One of France’s most important post-1968 poets, Claude Royet-Journoud developed a spare style that explores the implications of the page as a stage for a poetics of immanence […] Michael Palmer once said that ‘Chief inspector Royet-Journoud’s famously elemental drama of the page – the word, the body, the book – is like no other. At the site of a language shorn of metaphor and conventional poetic device arises a multi-dimensional narrative, one not imposed but gradually disclosing itself. The tale resides as much in the silences as in the signs’.”



Wat absoluut fassinerend is, is egter die megaande artikel “The world is everything that happens”, wat deur John Olson geskryf en deur Keith Waldrop vertaal is. In dié artikel word daar pertinent na Royet-Journoud se tetralogie, Four Elemental Bodies, gekyk (2013: Gallimard Press). “The ability to write a clean line with no shadow or metaphor is a testament to the ineffable grace of the Real, to the unrepresentable. There can be an object so real in a poem that it cannot be anything but itself, and so intensely itself, that the mystery of it leaves one speechless. Such is the work of Claude Royet-Journoud,” skryf Olson in sy inleidende paragraaf. “To the poet acting at once as observer and instrument the scientific standards of physical measurement are only the beginnings of images of poems… The poet, no less than the scientist, works on the assumption that inert and live things and relations hold enough interest to keep him alive as part of nature.”

Maar hoe om dit alles in ‘n taalkonstruksie soos ‘n gedig tuis te bring? Olson haal Royet-Journoud sélf aan. In ‘n onderhoud met Eric Pesty het hy glo soos volg geantwoord: “There is always a play between representation and the unrepresentable. Yes, the unrepresentable. There is always this limit to language. This impossibility of at once being before and behind. One is always in language, one can never extricate oneself, it’s impossible. So, what can one do along this wall, without ever managing to get around it? One is effectively returned to this limit.”

Hierdie ingesteldheid manisfesteer hom dan soos volg in die digkuns, aldus Olson: “The strategies Royet-Journoud employs for dealing with this dilemma are a reversal of the usual poetic devices. He eschews metaphor, assonance and alliteration. He writes in a tone of scrupulous neutrality, effacing the sovereign voice of the author and assuming the aspect of an elusive cicerone or phantasmal counterbalance to the reader’s or listener’s attention. His fragmentary lines have the flatness of surface to be found on a tabletop or sheet of paper.”

Sjoe. Gaan lees gerus die volledige artikel. Daar word veral gekyk na die invloed van Ludwig Wittgenstein en Maurice Merleau-Ponty se invloed op Royet-Journoud se digwerk.


Claude Royet-Journoud

By wyse van verdere verleiding, die volgende uitsprake wat deur ander skrywers oor Royet-Journoud se digkuns gemaak is. Met daarna, soos gebruiklik ‘n gedig ter illustrasie. (Die oorspronklike teks – en ook ander gedigte – kan by Poetry International Web gevind word.)

“Words from the far side of silence”
—Edmond Jabès

“Claude Royet-Journoud is one of the most exciting poets of the new generation in France. Combining lyricism and narrative in a highly original way, his work is elegant, controlled and extremely moving.”
—Paul Auster

“To read Claude Royet-Journoud is to experience the elements of the telling itself. Less, for once, is truly more.”
—Michael Palmer

“…The force arcing between the contradictions of body/no body, speaking/the unspeakable, here becomes a driving force, heading toward fragmentation on the one hand and fusion on the other. It is between these two accuracies that the human subject, as voice, must establish itself… Keith Waldrop is the ideal translator for these works because…Waldrop’s own poetry undertakes related and equally intricate questions.”
—Cole Swensen, Poetry Flash



faced with the nature of the crime
a simulacrum depletes the soil


Having chosen  the  angle,  photographs  the muscle.
The image comes down.  We’re  outside.  Submitting
and   fallen.   The   voice   holds   the  back   up.  An
irremediable    geographical    confusion.   She    does
not realize how  close to her  this world  is.  She only
knows she treads over a dark viscous terror. A list of
infinitives prolongs the accident.


on the floor
alphabet with ancestor

is it a lake
this free-lance eye ?

the body slips in there
from a word to demolish

constrains the beast
to shift about and about


the numeral is to the left of the construction
they loom up
in restless movement
for space they have lightness


repetition is moving back
from the visible brink

the voice conceals
a state of weightlessness

she cannot interrupt its flight

around this stain
the day of the numeral, of the strangulation
the wrist burns the old way
name poised on the lips
they come together


“A language they have not thought in.” A childhood
quenched  in  the  ruckus.  She no longer improvises.
(No offering,  hardly a stir.)  She  situates  the knife-
edge,   unsteadies   the   wound.  The  center  of  the
room a cloth of linen.  He locks in loss, forces child-
hood down and bears the image to its term. Framed
stealthily, the landscape merges with the eye.


Like an unappeasable rage. Each blow reinvigorates
him. The fall gauges the distance gone. Fragility  of
a sense “containing  four  simple  bodies.” Without
recognizing  them,  she  takes up with  them  again.
Only  the  numeral  resists.  Sends  her  back to her


© Claude Royet-Journoud (Uit: Theory of Prepositions, 2006: La Presse)

Vertaling deur Keith Waldrop