söndag 10 april 2016

Parachutes, my love

  Tills för en vecka sedan fanns kvällens poet inte i Stockholms stadsbiblioteks bestånd. I januari månad önskade jag Lucille Cliftons samlade verk, Frances Leviston's "Public dream" samt Barbara Guest samlade verk, och biblioteket hörsammade mig. Nu kan andra stockholmare få tillgång till deras poesi. 
  Barbara Guest har skrivit en suverän dikt om förälskelse. Den dyker upp i mellanakten.


Tria Carmina
Barbara Guest 


  Barbara Guest fick sitt genombrott i slutet av 1950 som en medlem av en informell grupp av författare som kallades The New York school of poets och som även innehöll Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery och James Schuyler. Deras nyskapande förhållningssätt till poesi påverkades av modern konst, särskilt surrealism och abstrakt expressionism. Källa: Poetry Foundation

  Men Barbara publicerade inte sin första diktsamling förrän 1960. Jag har ändå letat fram en tidigare dikt, från 1945, med god hjälp av ett poesimagasin.


The Inhabitants, by Barbara Guest
(Published in Jacket2, June 16, 2011.)

Early night and the evening bus
Passing with a new wreath around
Its straggled head. The push cart
Halts and fifty pineapple eyes stare
Into the invalid light. We move
Like people in an opera on this street,
Arranged and decked, our arms
Progress against the dark, unconscious
Symbols of the hour we have left,
The escape we have planned and made.

Barbara Guest on the train.
Photograph taken by Fred W. McDarrah, 1959

The subway. Seated within
The nocturnal car, we expand; grow
Gracious in this self-conscious night.
Unnatural botanists, we observe
The stations as flora, more curious
So far underground. We select
The rarest, the one we years ago
Have seen inside a dream, and known
That here the trowel must sink,
The root be cut. And we ascend.

Memory of past cities. Cities
More beautiful in a poem. Fallen
And wept for, the warrior cities.
Even the silent ones, who are
Known only for the trouble
They have borne, the tormented ones.
Yet what can surpass the adventure
Of this city, crossed by water, beyond
A river. The only city whose lover
Is the bridge …

The grey cat enters the broken gate.
The ball hits the wall, and children
Run, side by side, down the walk. 
The twilight games of the very young.
Somewhere a curtain moves and a pattern
Of lace falls from a room. Boulevarded
By space, every sound is of a thousand
Voices crying, and each one
Saying the other is false.
And the riverboat saying, return.

Someone is following us. Experienced
In apprehension we look back.
Relief turns the green face white,
For we have seen our familiar fear
In the long coat with the tearful
Lapel, the perpetual ghost under
The lamplight. We call out.
His answer could be affirmation,
Or even sorrow changed into a leaf,
For we are allowed to enter our house.


  Hennes dikter är kända för sin abstrakta kvalitet, levande språk, och intellektuella ansats. Källa: Wikipedia
  "Disturbing the conventional relations of subjects and objects, of reality and imagination, is one of Guest's signature gestures," noterar Peter Gizzi i förordet till The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest.
  Bland hennes mer berömda dikter nämns nedanstående från debutsamlingen, och kan ni tänka er att samma dag som jag skriver detta inlägg utser bokförlaget Carcanet Press den till "Poem of the day".

Parachutes, My Love, Could Carry Us Higher / Barbara Guest
(from The location of thingsNew York : Tibor de Nagy Editions, 1960.)

I just said I didn't know
And now you are holding me
In your arms,
How kind.
Parachutes, my love, could carry us higher.
Yet around the net I am floating
Pink and pale blue fish are caught in it,
They are beautiful,
But they are not good for eating.
Parachutes, my love, could carry us higher
Than this mid-air in which we tremble,
Having exercised our arms in swimming,
Now the suspension, you say,
Is exquisite. I do not know.
There is coral below the surface,
There is sand, and berries
Like pomegranates grow.
This wide net, I am treading water
Near it, bubbles are rising and salt
Drying on my lashes, yet I am no nearer
Air than water. I am closer to you
Than land and I am in a stranger ocean
Than I wished.


  I sextioårsåldern släppte hon ett par korta dikthäften. Det ena var på 26 sidor och det andra hade blott 14 sidor. Jag har valt en dikt ur Biography
  Hon väckte större uppmärksamhet och kritikernas gillande för sin biografi om författaren Hilda "H.D." Doolittle som utkom fyra år senare.

Eight, by Barbara Guest
(from BiographyProvidence, RI : Burning Deck, 1980.)

Biography a dubious route

        curate's disease
        the offhand way they plunge
        into the locker room

        subsidies for living,
        raven's wings shadowing the wall.

Deadly moon-struck


the too calm sea.

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