Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Pia Tafdrup: Over the Water I Walk (VIII) - 4

In poetry, the body acquires articulation. I cannot write outside my gender or my history. The angle of vision in my poems wants to reveal that a female ‘I’ is perceiving and finding her voice. However, the relegation of woman-created art to an autonomous rival world is tantamount to letting it degenerate into a ghetto.

Of course, the problem lies somewhere else. In the sphere of the sexual, porosity and the ability to empathize with the other are all-important. When a poem comes into being receptivity is essential, but so are the outlets connected with male sexuality. Both are present in the process of any poem.

In the fields of sexuality and art, one state is common to both men and women: the moment when integration and personality break down. In sexuality, when one approaches the animal, in art the place where the writing ‘I’ is saturated and completely filled, where the ‘I’ lacks a face.


In the process of the poem’s inception I am not a gender-determined being. In the moment of writing I do not think of myself in terms of gender, I am simply absorbed. I am bi-gendered, androgynous or hermaphroditic – which does not mean demonic, but merely that in the poem it is clear that, explicitly or implicitly, the perceiving subject is female. In my poems there are traces of female perfume.


In poetry the genders are related like brother and sister.

translated from Danish by David McDuff

Over the Water I Walk (VIII)- 1
Over the Water I Walk (VIII) - 2
Over the Water I Walk (VIII) - 3

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