Friday, 22 June 2012

Bombing of Poems

   This beautiful 'happening' - a dropping of thousands of poems on cities like Berlin to somehow (through a kind of reverse Butterfly Effect) heal or atone for the aerial bombardments they've suffered in their histories - is to be replicated next week in London as part of Poetry Parnassus at the South Bank.
   Typically, the organisers are watching the weather to see which day they'll do it on - on a gusty day who knows which part of London or the surrounding counties the poems might get blown to ( perhaps not such a bad thing), although on a really rainy day the poems' words might be washed off before anyone gets to read them...
   Equally typical of an English interpretation of a European idea is the elision that occurs between the original German concept of 'Regen Der Gedichte', explicitly connected to bombing in its contextual literature, and the literally-translated 'Rain of Poems' described in the South Bank's English version (see their website) where there is actually no mention of the metaphor of bombing the city with poems.
   I can see how any reference to bombing London might be controversial to some people in the light of the 2007 London terrorist attacks, but surely the artfully redemptive purpose of the 'happening' might persuade them that a graceful fluttering-down of carefully-crafted words in the form of poems - in every way the reverse of bombs - could only be a positive phenomenon and a memorable wonder.
   I say reverse, but what was it Sartre wrote in his essay on Mallarme? "Le poeme est la seule bombe".

No comments:

Post a Comment