fredag 30. januar 2009

John Updike

John Updike (18.mars,1932 - 27.januar,2009) skrev ikke bare romaner og noveller - han skrev også dikt. Her er to eksempler fra Collected Poems 1953-1993 :

Ex-Basketball Player

Pearl Avenue runs past the high-school lot,
Bends with the trolley tracks, and stops, cut off
Before it has a chance to go two blocks,
At Colonel McComsky Plaza. Berth’s Garage
Is on the corner facing west, and there,
Most days, you'll find Flick Webb, who helps Berth out.

Flick stands tall among the idiot pumps—
Five on a side, the old bubble-head style,
Their rubber elbows hanging loose and low.
One’s nostrils are two S’s, and his eyes
An E and O. And one is squat, without
A head at all—more of a football type.

Once Flick played for the high-school team, the Wizards.
He was good: in fact, the best. In ’46
He bucketed three hundred ninety points,
A county record still. The ball loved Flick.
I saw him rack up thirty-eight or forty
In one home game. His hands were like wild birds.

He never learned a trade, he just sells gas,
Checks oil, and changes flats. Once in a while,
As a gag, he dribbles an inner tube,
But most of us remember anyway.
His hands are fine and nervous on the lug wrench.
It makes no difference to the lug wrench, though.

Off work, he hangs around Mae’s Luncheonette.
Grease-gray and kind of coiled, he plays pinball,
Smokes those thin cigars, nurses lemon phosphates.
Flick seldom says a word to Mae, just nods
Beyond her face toward bright applauding tiers
Of Necco Wafers, Nibs, and Juju Beads.

(Skrevet i 1954)

Perfection Wasted

And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market -
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
their response and your performance twinned.
The jokes over the phone. The memories packed
in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
Who will do it again? That's it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren't the same.

(Datert 24. januar, 1990)

Og her er Updike i samtale med "The Book Review"-redaktøren Sam Tanenhaus, oktober 2008:

Noen Updike-sitater:

"Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity . . . any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it, or better."

"Art is like baby shoes. When you coat them with gold, they can no longer be worn." 

"I write with experiences in mind, but I don't write about them, I write out of them." 


fredag 23. januar 2009

Ted Koosers brukbare dikt

Her er et av mine yndlingsdikt av Ted Kooser, poeten som vokste opp i "min" barndomsby, Ames, Iowa (og var US Poet Laureate 2004-2006) - tittelen på dette blogginnslaget henspeiler på det han med et lite smil forteller etter at han har lest ferdig diktet:

At the Cancer Clinic

She is being helped toward the open door
that leads to the examining rooms
by two young women I take to be her sisters.
Each bends to the weight of an arm
and steps with the straight, tough bearing
of courage. At what must seem to be
a great distance, a nurse holds the door,
smiling and calling encouragement.
How patient she is in the crisp white sails
of her clothes. The sick woman
peers from under her funny knit cap
to watch each foot swing scuffing forward
and take its turn under her weight.
There is no restlessness or impatience
or anger anywhere in sight. Grace
fills the clean mold of this moment
and all the shuffling magazines grow still.


(Fra Delights & Shadows, Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA 2004)

Mer om Ted Kooser fins på denne bloggen 15. juli, 2008.


tirsdag 20. januar 2009

I dag skjer det!

Fra kl. 17:29 direkte på NRK2 (og CNN, BBC, m.v., samt mange nettsteder) kan vi se denne historiske begivenheten direkte. Barack Obama innsettes som president i USA! 

Og rett etter innsettelsestalen, leser poeten Elizabeth Alexander et dikt hun har skrevet for anledningen.


Det er ingen selvfølge at en president velger å be en poet lese et dikt under sin innsettelsesseremoni. Bare tre ganger tidligere har det hendt; Robert Frost under John F. Kennedys innsettelse i 1961, Maya Angelou under Bill Clintons første innsettelse i 1993 og Miller Williams under Bill Clintons andre innsettelse i 1997.

På nettstedet for innsettelsen av Barack Obama kan vi lese
dette om Elizabeth Alexander.

Og her er et ferskt og interessant
intervju med Elizabeth Alexander - i Houston Chronicle, 19. januar, 2008.

Da Elizabeth Alexander fikk Jackson Poetry Prize 2007, kvitterte hun med å lese et av sine dikt som nettopp omhandler poesi; “Ars Poetica #100: I believe(Ars Poetica = veiledning i diktekunsten) :

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe

Poetry, I tell my students,

is idiosyncratic. Poetry
is where we are ourselves,

(though Sterling Brown said
“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”)

digging in the clam flats
for the shell that snaps,

emptying the proverbial pocketbook.
Poetry is what you find

in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God

in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.

Poetry (and now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love,

and I’m sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)

is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?


Det blir spennende å høre det nye diktet hennes i dag!


Og her er det:

Praise Song for the Day
A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.


Og her på programmet "The Colbert Report" diskuterer hun Praise Song for the Day - og forklarer forskjellen på en metafor og en løgn:


lørdag 10. januar 2009

There is only one danger for you here…

The Soldiers in the Garden
Isla Negra, Chile, September 1973

After the coup,
the soldiers appeared
in Neruda’s garden one night,
raising lanterns to interrogate the trees,
cursing at the rocks that tripped them.
From the bedroom window
they could have been
the conquistadores of drowned galleons,
back from the sea to finish
plundering the coast.

The poet was dying;
cancer flashed through his body
and left him rolling in the bed to kill the flames.
Still, when the lieutenant stormed upstairs,
Neruda faced him and said:
There is only one danger for you here: poetry.
The lieutenant brought his helmet to his chest,
apologized to señor Neruda
and squeezed himself back down the stairs.
The lanterns dissolved one by one from the trees.

For thirty years
we have been searching
for another incantation
to make the soldiers
vanish from the garden.

Martín Espada,
fra The Republic of Poetry (Norton, 2006)


søndag 4. januar 2009

Apropos Israels invasjon i Gaza i natt

Her er en interessant artikkel: The Dialogue of Poetry: Palestinian and Israeli Poets Writing Through Conflict and Peace” av Yvette Neisser. (Dessverre er den for lang til å oversette til norsk akkurat nå.)

Mens jeg lette etter denne artikkelen, kom jeg over disse to graffiti-verkene av Banksy, riktignok på muren i Vestbanken:

“Muren, Betlehem” 
Foto: Markus Ortner, 2005 (og med nedlastningstillatelse)

Og kom til å huske på en bok jeg ble litt klokere av:

After the Last Sky
- foto-essays av Edward W. Said og Jean Mohr

Alt mens jeg innimellom fulgte med på BBC - og da datt plutselig denne linjen ned i huet på meg - håper jeg siterer den rett her:

"A gun is something that makes a hole in people.” 
Kurt Vonnegut (Breakfast of Champions)