Monday, 25 May 2009

Pia Tafdrup: Over the Water I Walk - 12


In the poem the limits of the unsayable are investigated. Not everything must be made visible, for when the mystery vanishes, obviousness and the one-dimensional begin. A poem's mystery should not be exchanged for a hard shell of something unapproachable, nor with unnecessary mysticism or chronic sentimentality. The hermetic, which alone shuts the poet in and keeps the reader out, is not desirable, but on one level poetry is always an oracle-like monologic discourse: the possible transformations of expression, all the many layers and structures that demand repeated readings. A good poem has an inborn character that calls for movement and continually steers towards greater understanding.


Where art is concerned I do not doubt for a moment that fidelity is a necessity. It is not imposed on me. I choose it myself as the only valid way of relating to poetry. It is a precondition in all seeking for a true artistic language, it is the condition for creation that steps beyond itself. Fidelity is an openness that obliges, but also a risk, for with it I stake everything.


After the poem: a violent exhaustion, but also an inexpressible relief that this something has found its way out. For a time, a great happiness... Or a hibernation-like state sets in, a physical condition in which all sense-impressions glance off or are neglected. If there was an element of something that growled like a beast of prey in the pre-articulation phase, now the beast scratches behind its ear again.


The condensed energy or trembling nervous state that exists before the words appear returns again for a time after the poem. I find myself indeed in a place of whose existence I could not possibly have had any idea before the poem, but am again hurled into fear and darkness, once again alone with what is greatest.


The insightful poet must be able to parody himself.


What decides if the poem is a successful poem? Time.

translated from Danish by David McDuff

Over the Water I Walk-1
Over the Water I Walk-2
Over the Water I Walk-3
Over the Water I Walk-4
Over the Water I Walk-5
Over the Water I Walk-6
Over the Water I Walk-7
Over the Water I Walk-8
Over the Water I Walk-9
Over the Water I Walk-10
Over the Water I Walk-11

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