"'n Postkoloniale Umweltkas" : die vraag na 'n transnasionale poetika in Afrikaans aan die hand van Marlene van Niekerk se Kaar

Viljoen, Louise (2017)

CITATION: Viljoen, L. 2017. "'n Postkoloniale Umweltkas" : die vraag na 'n transnasionale poetika in Afrikaans aan die hand van Marlene van Niekerk se Kaar. LitNet Akademies, 14(3):133-165.

The original publication is available at https://www.litnet.co.za

Article

In hierdie artikel word daar ondersoek ingestel na die vraag of daar in die geval van Afrikaanse digters en ’n lokaal-geplaaste minderheidstaal soos Afrikaans gepraat kan word van ’n transnasionale poëtika. Die begrip word aan die orde gestel aan die hand van Jahan Ramazani se boek A transnational poetics en die kommentaar en kritiek wat daarop gevolg het. Die rol wat die transnasionale proses van kolonisering gespeel het in die verspreiding van moderniteit en modernisme word bespreek met verwysing na die werk van Dilip Gaonkar en Susan Stanford Friedman voordat daar oorgegaan word na die bespreking van Marlene van Niekerk se digbundel Kaar as toetsgeval. Van Niekerk se poëtikale opvattings en die posisie van Afrikaans as minderheidstaal met transnasionale wortels word bespreek. Hierna volg ’n ontleding van vier gedigte uit Kaar, naamlik “Heavy metal in Bagdad”, “Etologie”, “Sorry suide” en “Teorie en praktyk van die digkuns in ’n era van aardgas”, met die doel om vas te stel watter rol faktore soos die spanning tussen die globale noorde en suide, Suid-Afrika se koloniale geskiedenis en daaropvolgende postkolonialiteit, die verhouding tussen die lokale en die globale en die impak van globale kapitalisme op die omgewing speel in die digter se siening van haar taak en verantwoordelikheid in die epog wat die Antroposeen genoem word.

This article asks the question whether one can speak of a transnational poetics in the case of poets who write in a local and minor language such as Afrikaans. In his book A transnational poetics Jahan Ramazani challenges the idea that poetry’s formal qualities make it less able to facilitate cross-cultural movement and to articulate global concerns than other genres and forms of mediation. Even though poetry is often seen as “the most provincial of the arts” (T.S. Eliot) and deemed stubbornly local, regional or national, Ramazani (2009:3) insists that poetry is a genre that “can mediate seemingly irresolvable contradictions between the local and the global, native and foreign”. He thus argues for a reconceptualisation of poetry studies and proposes a variety of ways to study the “circuits of poetic connection and dialogue across political and geographic borders and even hemispheres”, in order to transform existing critical approaches and methodologies as well as develop a new vocabulary and terminology to discuss transnational poetry. Underlying his project is an idealistic view of the role that literary transnationalism (and thus transnational poetry) can play in the establishment of a transnational and intercultural imaginary. He even speaks of an “interstitial citizenship” (established in the space between nations) which poets create for themselves by their adaptation of forms, sounds, tropes and ideas that they gather from across the world. For him the value of a transnational poetics lies in the fact that it transcends the limitations imposed by the nation and that it will be able to create an alternative to the reigning mononationalistic paradigm in US literary scholarship. Maxwell (2006:362) writes in a review that Ramazani’s argument is against the “reclosing of the American mind” in the period after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001.

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