01-12-14

Arthur Sze

 

De Chinees-Amerikaanse dichter Arthur Sze werd geboren op 1 december 1950 in New York. Sze studeerde aan de Universiteit van California, Berkeley. Zijn gedichten zijn verschenen in The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Conjunctions, The Kenyon Review, Manoa, The Paris Review, The New Yorker en de Virginia Quarterly Review,, en zijn vertaald in het Albanees, Chinees, Nederlands, Italiaans, Roemeens en Turks. Hij heeft acht bundels poëzie op zijn naam staan, waaronder The Ginkgo Light (2009) en de Windroos (2014), auteur. De laatste bundel was finalist voor de 2015 Pulitzer Prize voor Poëzie. Zijn werk is opgenomen in vele bloemlezingen. Hij was Visiting Hurst hoogleraar aan de Universiteit van Washington, een Doenges Visiting Artist aan Mary Baldwin College, en werkte aan de Brown University, Bard College en Naropa-universiteit. Hij is emeritus hoogleraar aan het Institute of American Indian Artsis, de eerste Poet Laureate van Santa Fe. In 2012 werd Sze gerkozen als Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

 

Shooting Star

1
In a concussion,
the mind severs the pain:
you don’t remember flying off a motorcycle,
and landing face first
in a cholla.

But a woman stabbed in her apartment,
by a prowler searching for
money and drugs,
will never forget her startled shriek
die in her throat,
blood soaking into the floor.

The quotidian violence of the world
is like a full moon rising over the Ortiz mountains;
its pull is everywhere.
But let me live a life of violent surprise
and startled joy. I want to
thrust a purple iris into your hand,
give you a sudden embrace.

I want to live as Wang Hsi-chih lived
writing characters in gold ink on black silk—
not to frame on a wall,
but to live the splendor now.

 

2
Deprived of sleep, she hallucinated
and, believing she had sold the genetic
research on carp, signed a confession.
Picking psilocybin mushrooms in the mountains

of Veracruz, I hear tin cowbells
in the slow rain, see men wasted on pulque
sitting under palm trees. Is it
so hard to see things as they truly are:

a route marked in red ink on a map,
the shadows of apricot leaves thrown
in wind and sun on a wall? It is
easy to imagine a desert full of agaves

and golden barrel cactus, red earth, a red sun.
But to truly live one must see things
as they are, as they might become:
a wrench is not a fingerprint

on a stolen car, nor baling wire
the undertow of the ocean. I may hallucinate,
but see the men in drenched clothes
as men who saw and saw and refuse to see.

 

 
Arthur Sze (New York,1 december 1950)

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