Gepubliceerd op: maandag 11 juni 2012

‘Een gedicht is een boodschap in een fles’ – Charles Simic

“Poetry dwells in a perpetual utopia of its own,” wrote William Hazlitt, the great British essayist of the Romantic Period. Despite everything I’ve been saying, I think he has a point. In relation to the future, a poem is like a note sealed in a bottle and thrown into the sea. Writing one is an act of immense, near-irrational hope that an image, a metaphor, some lines of verse and the voice embodied in them will have a long, posthumous life. “The poem wants to reach an Other, it needs this Other,” Paul Celan has said. And it happens sometimes.

A young man in a small town in Patagonia or in Kansas reads an ancient Chinese poet in a book he borrowed from the library and falls in love with a poem, which he reads to himself over and over again as the summer night is falling. With each reading he brings the voice of the dead poet to life. For one unforgettable moment, he steps out of his own cramped self and enters the lives of unknown men and women, seeing the world through their eyes, feeling what they once felt and thinking what they once thought. If poetry is not the most utopian project ever devised by human beings, I don’t know what is.”  (Charles Simic,  New York Review of Books)

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