torsdag 5 februari 2015

River deep, mountain high

  Utblicken ger er alltid senaste nytt inom poesivärlden. Den här gången tar inlägget upp två dikter som fått stora rubriker på sistone. Sedan avslutar jag med en dikt ur första numret av ett nystartat nätmagasin.


  I Kina har 39-åriga poeten Yu Xiuhua fått stor genomslagskraft efter att hennes dikt "Crossing half the country to sleep with you" delats i sociala medier. Litteraturvetaren Shen Rui jämförde Yu Xiuhua's talang och produktivitet med Emily Dickinsons. Yu Xiuhua har hittills författat mer än 2000 dikter. Hon har på grund av cerebral pares fått avstå möjligheten till högre studier. Hon lever på den kinesiska landsbygden i Hengdian, Hubeiprovinsen, hos sina föräldrar. I stället för studier tvingades hon ingå äktenskap vid 19 års ålder. De lever numera inte tillsammans men är fortfarande formellt gifta.
  Efter uppståndelsen kring dikten på Internet, har hon erbjudits vice ordförandeposten i staden Zhongxiang's författarorganisation. I februari utkommer två nya diktsamlingar av henne.

Crossing half the country to sleep with you, by Yu Xiuhua
(published in, 2015-01-23. Rough translation by Wu Jin.)

There is virtually no difference me sleeping with you
and you sleeping with me.
It is no more than a collision of two bodies,

composing a force under which the flowers blossom.
We mistake the false spring in the blossoms for a new start in life.
Things are taking place across the entire territory of China:

The erupting volcanos,
The dried-out rivers,
The abandoned political prisoners and wanderers.
The darting Milu deer and the red crowned cranes,
endlessly pursued by ubiquitous rifles.
But I wind through the gunfire to sleep with you,
dashing through numerous nights for a dawn break to sleep with you.
Splintering into countless selves, I am running to sleep with you.
But I might be misguided by a flock of butterflies,
misunderstanding the accolades as the coming of spring,
misrecognizing the villages like Hengdian as my hometown.
However, they are all indispensable reasons for me to sleep with you.


  Samtidigt har en dikt om Amerikas historia skapat politisk härdsmälta i South Carolina, USA. Marjory Wentworth (South Carolina's Poet Laureate) har vid tre tidigare tillfällen skrivit dikter till guvernörernas invigningsceremonier. I år var det tänkt att bli fjärde gången gillt, den 14 januari. Men Marjory frångick i årets dikt sina tidigare teman, naturscener och djurliv, och texten hade i stället fått ett mer samhälls- och historierelaterat perspektiv. Det föll inte i god jord och hennes programpunkt vid ceremonin ströks. Efter massiv kritik lästes så småningom dikten upp i ett annat sammanhang.

One river, one boat, by Marjory Wentworth (f. 1958)

I know there’s something better down the road.
 -- Elizabeth Alexander

Because our history is a knot
we try to unravel, while others
try to tighten it, we tire easily
and fray the cords that bind us.

The cord is a slow moving river,
spiraling across the land
in a succession of S’s,
splintering near the sea.

Picture us all, crowded onto a boat
at the last bend in the river:
watch children stepping off the school bus,
parents late for work, grandparents

fishing for favorite memories,
teachers tapping their desks
with red pens, firemen suiting up
to save us, nurses making rounds,

baristas grinding coffee beans,
dockworkers unloading apartment size
containers of computers and toys
from factories across the sea.

Every morning a different veteran
stands at the base of the bridge
holding a cardboard sign
with misspelled words and an empty cup.

In fields at daybreak, rows of migrant
farm workers standing on ladders, break open
iced peach blossoms; their breath rising
and resting above the frozen fields like clouds.

A jonboat drifts down the river.
Inside, a small boy lies on his back;
hand laced behind his head, he watches
stars fade from the sky and dreams.

Consider the prophet John, calling us
from the edge of the wilderness to name
the harm that has been done, to make it
plain, and enter the river and rise.

It is not about asking for forgiveness.
It is not about bowing our heads in shame;
because it all begins and ends here:
while workers unearth trenches

at Gadsden’s Wharf, where 100,000
Africans were imprisoned within brick walls
awaiting auction, death, or worse.
Where the dead were thrown into the water,

and the river clogged with corpses
has kept centuries of silence.
It is time to gather at the water’s edge,
and toss wreaths into this watery grave.

And it is time to praise the judge
who cleared George Stinney’s name,
seventy years after the fact,
we honor him; we pray.

Here, where the Confederate flag still flies
beside the Statehouse, haunted by our past,
conflicted about the future; at the heart
of it, we are at war with ourselves

huddled together on this boat
handed down to us – stuck
at the last bend of a wide river
splintering near the sea.


  I november 2014 startade ett nytt amerikanskt nätmagasin (jag vet inte om det ges ut en pappersupplaga). Magasinets titel är lite underlig, "Where with Al". 
  I det första numret har jag valt ut bidraget från Jennifer Bullis. Hon beskrivs så här:

  Jennifer Bullis grew up in Reno, Nevada, and attended college and graduate school in California. She earned a Ph.D. in English at UC Davis and taught community-college writing and literature in Bellingham, Washington, for 14 years. Her poems appear in Iron Horse Literary Review, Natural Bridge, Illuminations, and Cascadia Review. Her first collection, Impossible Lessons, was published by MoonPath Press in 2013. In 2014, her manuscript “Amanda Bubble Is Nearly on Fire” was a finalist for the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award.

  I dikten talar Amanda Bubble (författarens alter ego?) med Gud, om skapelsen.

Amanda Bubble Worries About the Food Chain (first part), by Jennifer Bullis
(Published in Where with Al, noveber 2014.)

I get it: your reply to my prayer this morning to protect
those ducklings following their mother across the intersection.

When you said inside my head, Don’t worry. I made extras,
you were telling me it wasn’t actually my business

who you create to be food and who you create to be food later.
So it was sort of a bonus, I think, that you let me

see the crows and gulls pecking flattened yellow fluff
 near the median on my way home this afternoon.

I get that those babies are being transubstantiated
right this minute into crow muscle and gull wing:

flesh reduced to nutrients sublimated to flesh.
Just how far, may I ask, are you in on this? Do you

so adore what you made that you want to gobble it back up?

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