Posts Tagged ‘Robert Pinsky’

Louis Esterhuizen. Eenvoud en die trefkrag daarvan

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Op die weblog Slate het Robert Plinsky onlangs ‘n interessante bydrae gelewer oor die skoonheid wat opgesluit lê in onpretensieuse eenvoud. Reeds met sy inleidende betoog maak Plinsky ‘n enorme stelling: “Sometimes, the most plain surfaces demand mastering the most extreme nuances. In a building or a garment, sometimes ornament and elaboration can conceal imperfect seams. Simplicity can demand perfection.” Ook noem hy Wallace Stevens se gedigte “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm” en “The Comedian as the Letter C.” as voorbeelde van gedigte wat in hul “plainness or simplicity” deel uitmaak van ‘n “satisfying range”. Mmmm …

Dit is egter wanneer hy hierna uitgebreid begin skryf oor Anne Bradstreet (foto) wat hy my aandag vasvang; veral omrede Bradstreet Amerika se heel eerste vrouedigter was wat in Engels geskryf het en myns insiens haar tydgenote elders in die wêreld ietwat oorskadu het … (Bedoelende vrouedigters, uiteraard.) Bradstreet is in 1612 in Engeland gebore, maar het kort hierna saam met haar familie na Massachusetts verhuis waar sy in in 1672 gesterf het. (‘n Tydgenoot van John Milton, dus.)

Nietemin – Plinsky beskryf Bradstreet se digkuns soos volg: “Her work is plain in a way that might tempt some readers to condescension, but she knew the Latin poets and writes fluently within the conventions she chose, reaching considerable intensity of emotion and idea. Sometimes, her poems enter the interesting zone where plain truth testifies to the strange extremes of life itself.”

Die gedig wat hy as toonbeeld hiervan uitsonder is die gedig “Before the Birth of One of Her Children“. Hiervan sê Plinsky die volgende: “The poem proceeds from dignified, slightly stiff acknowledgements of the great, generic truths of mortality. The application of those truths to the risks of childbirth in the 17th century gains force from the poet’s quiet, in a way pragmatic manner of dealing with the known and the unknown. And her poem ends with a striking, frank imagination of loss. In 14 well-turned couplets, Bradstreet goes from the general, traditional wisdom of her first line to the immediacy of tears and paper.”

Vanoggend dan twee gedigte: Wallace Stevens se “The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm, gevolg deur Anne Bradstreet se “Before the Birth of One of Her Children“.

Geniet dit.


The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

© Wallace Stevens


Before the Birth of One of Her Children

All things within this fading world hath end,
Adversity doth still our joys attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
But with death’s parting blow are sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable,
A common thing, yet oh, inevitable.
How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend,
How soon’t may be thy lot to lose thy friend,
We both are ignorant, yet love bids me
These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
That when the knot’s untied that made us one,
I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my days that’s due,
What nature would, God grant to yours and you;
The many faults that well you know I have
Let be interred in my oblivious grave;
If any worth or virtue were in me,
Let that live freshly in thy memory
And when thou feel’st no grief, as I no harmes,
Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms,
And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains
Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
And if thou love thyself, or loved’st me,
These O protect from stepdame’s injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse,
With some sad sighs honor my absent hearse;
And kiss this paper for thy dear love’s sake,
Who with salt tears this last farewell did take.

 Anne Bradstreet (1612 – 1672)



Desmond Painter. Wat is ‘n prosagedig? Robert Pinsky oor Manuel Bandeira

Friday, February 4th, 2011
Manuel Bandeira

Manuel Bandeira

Wat is ‘n prosagedig? Wat is die verskil tussen ‘n prosagedig en ‘n kort-kortverhaal? Is Breyten Breytenbach se Katastrofes prosagedigte of kort-kortverhale? En Zirk van den Berg se tekste in Ekstra Dun vir Meer Gevoel? Wat is die verskil tussen ‘n prosagedig en die ‘poëtiese’ prosa van ‘n Michael Ondaatje of ‘n Anne Michaels? Ek was nog nooit regtig seker oor enige van hierdie vrae nie — en ek moet bysê, ek het myself ook nog nooit regtig hieroor verknies nie!

Robert Pinsky maak myns insiens ‘n sinvolle opmerking oor prosagedigte in ‘n kommentaar op ‘n teks van die Brasiaanse digter Manuel Bandeira. Pinsky skryf: ‘People like to debate the nature of prose poetry; most efforts to define a “prose poem” involve contrasting it to the poetic convention of writing in lines. A better approach might be contrasting the prose poem with conventional prose narratives. Here is Elizabeth Bishop’s translation of “Brazilian Tragedy” by Manuel Bandeira. Its rapid, concentrated movement makes the ordinary novel seem unbearably slow by comparison. The place-names drive the story ahead at the speed of sound, where film might take an hour, or fiction a hundred pages.’

Interessant. Stem julle saam met Robert Pinsky? Ek kan my voorstel dat daar heelwat verskillende menings oor hierdie onderwerp sal wees. Hier is die prosagedig van Manuel Bandeira (die Brasiliaan waaroor ek gister ook geblog het) waarna Pinsky verwys:


BRAZILIAN TRAGEDY – by Manuel Bandeira

Misael, civil servant in the Ministry of Labor, 63 years old,
Knew Maria Elvira of the Grotto: prostitute, syphilitic, with ulcerated fingers, a pawned wedding ring and teeth in the last stages of decay.
Misael took Maria out of “the life,” installed her in a two-storey house in Junction City, paid for the doctor, dentist, manicurist …. He gave her everything she wanted.
When Maria Elvira discovered she had a pretty mouth, she immediately took a boy-friend.
Misael didn’t want a scandal. He could have beaten her, shot her, or stabbed her. He did none of these: they moved.
They lived like that for three years.
Each time Maria Elvira took a new boy-friend, they moved.
The lovers lived in Junction City. Boulder. On General Pedra Street, The Sties. The Brickyards. Glendale. Pay Dirt. On Marques de Sapucai Street in Villa Isabel. Niteri.
Euphoria. In Junction City again, on Clapp Street. All Saints. Carousel. Edgewood. The Mines. Soldiers Home…
Finally, in Constitution Street, where Misael, bereft of sense and reason, killed her with six shots, and the police found her stretched out, supine, dressed in blue organdy.

Desmond Painter. Springsteen en Pinsky: Die Ontmoeting

Friday, May 7th, 2010
Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen

So ‘n rukkie terug het ek geskryf oor die Fairleigh Dickinson Universiteit se jaarlikse Word and Music Festival (Wamfest 2010) in New Jersey, waar Bruce Springsteen en die digter Robert Pinsky geskeduleer was om ‘n verhoog te deel. Intussen het hierdie ontmoeting tussen twee ikoniese Amerikaanse woordkunstenaars reeds plaasgevind, en na alle aanduidings was dit ‘n fassinerende geleentheid. Ek weet nog nie of iemand dit al op video opgeneem het sodat ‘n mens op Youtube daarna kan kyk nie, maar jy kan solank hier en hier berigte oor die geleentheid lees. Hier is ‘n lusmaker: “While playing his guitar, Bruce Springsteen recited a passage from ‘An Explanation of America,’ a poem by Robert Pinsky: ‘I love a car — a car, I guess, is like / One’s personality, corrupt and selfish, / Full of hypnotic petty pains and joys.’ The recitation then blended into an acoustic version of Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run.’ […] Springsteen said poetry and songwriting are similar in the way they concisely convey emotions — and that he needs to resist the urge to use Pinsky’s words on his next album. ‘We could get some co-writing going, I’m telling you, man,’ Springsteen said.”

Desmond Painter. Bruce Springsteen en Robert Pinsky

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Dit is klaarblyklik nie net hier by ons waar digters en rock ‘n rollers saam kers opsteek by woordfeeste nie. Bruce Springsteen, hoor ek vanoggend, tree in Mei op by die Fairleigh Dickinson Universiteit se jaarlikse Word and Music Festival (Wamfest 2010) in New Jersey. Die sanger gaan deelneem aan ‘n gesprek met die Amerikaanse digter, Robert Pinsky (geb. 1940). Die program beloof, benewens gesprek, ‘a few songs and a few poems’. Ai, ek sou deur vulkaniese as vlieg om daardie praatjie by te woon… Hier is ‘n pragtige gedig van Robert Pinsky:


The Night Game – by Robert Pinsky

Some of us believe
We would have conceived romantic
Love out of our own passions
With no precedents,
Without songs and poetry–
Or have invented poetry and music
As a comb of cells for the honey.

Shaped by ignorance,
A succession of new worlds,
Congruities improvised by
Immigrants or children.

I once thought most people were Italian,
Jewish or Colored.
To be white and called
Something like Ed Ford
Seemed aristocratic,
A rare distinction.

Possibly I believed only gentiles
And blonds could be left-handed.

Already famous
After one year in the majors,
Whitey Ford was drafted by the Army
To play ball in the flannels
Of the Signal Corps, stationed
In Long Branch, New Jersey.

A night game, the silver potion
Of the lights, his pink skin
Shining like a burn.

Never a player
I liked or hated: a Yankee,
A mere success.

But white the chalked-off lines
In the grass, white and green
The immaculate uniform,
And white the unpigmented
Halo of his hair
When he shifted his cap:

So ordinary and distinct,
So close up, that I felt
As if I could have made him up,
Imagined him as I imagined

The ball, a scintilla
High in the black backdrop
Of the sky. Tight red stitches.
Rawlings. The bleached

Horsehide white: the color
Of nothing. Color of the past
And of the future, of the movie screen
At rest and of blank paper.

“I could have.” The mind. The black
Backdrop, the white
Fly picked out by the towering
Lights. A few years later

On a blanket in the grass
By the same river
A girl and I came into
Being together
To the faint muttering
Of unthinkable
Troubadours and radios.

The emerald
Theater, the night.
Another time,
I devised a left-hander
Even more gifted
Than Whitey Ford: A Dodger.
People were amazed by him.
Once, when he was young,
He refused to pitch on Yom Kippur.