Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Spectral Piano Scores

Sadiqa de Meijer describes how Dutch and English combine when writing her poems:
In a sense, my poems take the form of spectral piano scores. The Dutch is the left hand, the bass clef, but I am the only one who hears it clearly. English is the melodic right hand, the one that others hear. When my left and right hands are in tune, I am speaking from something deep and elemental, from my ground, from generations long before me.

When the right hand departs and does its own thing, dissonant or incongruous, then I am improvising. I allow myself to drown the left hand out. Then the phrases get abstract, or playful, or theatrical; on some lucky days, the feeling is that great, unanchored freedom of leaving the ground.

When I write a Dutch poem, that is also my left hand writing, but in a different sense; I feel scrawling and uncoordinated. What has happened would have been unimaginable to me as a child; my Dutch is no longer sure of itself. I write in searching, disoriented trajectories, not in control of the medium. The resulting poems appear primal and strange to me, but the truth is that I don’t possess an astute, contemporary idea of how they read. Handwritten and shadowy, taped to my wall, they speak to me as possible omens of English work.
Painting by Daniel Maidman

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