Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Pia Tafdrup: Over the Water I Walk (VIII) - 2

It is no good trying to issue bans on hypotaxis, or on any other phenomenon, and make them apply to one sex only. The available words, syntactical possibilities and techniques are universally the same. The fact that female and male poets sometimes use language differently is another matter. If their works are different, it is because now and then the two sexes choose to focus on different areas. Thematic content is important for aesthetics, but so is the point of view – the eyes that see.

Narrow subjects are as a rule confused with narrow-mindedness, but to zoom in on what is close is not tantamount to denying that larger perspectives are present. It is likewise false to assert, as some people do, that details are the special domain of women. Proust’s work is a refutation of this view: his works demonstrate exactly what can be attained by means of absorption. The posing of major problems does not necessarily produce poems that are more successful from an artistic point of view. If the poem lacks linguistic energy it loses its strength. Small things can point to larger ones, just as a stone from a mountainside consists of the same material and has the same colour and structure as the mountainside. One stone contains the whole mountainside.

If the concepts of “female” and “male” aesthetics are to have meaning, they must be strongly nuanced. While thematic material and point of view produce their own special artistic techniques, aesthetics is above all a matter for the individual. A personal staging of the script.

translated from Danish by David McDuff

Over the Water I Walk (VIII)- 1

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