Dichterbriefe – Folge 30: Poetry is communication – Christophe Fricker schreibt Cory Massaro

Christophe Fricker schreibt jeweils am 1. des Monats einem Dichterfreund, dessen Buch er gerade gelesen hat. Die Texte sind eine Mischung aus Offenem Brief zu Lyrik und Gesellschaft, bewusst parteiischer Rezension und vertrautem Austausch. Und damit hoffentlich auch weniger langweilig als Rezensionen, die ihre eigene Voreingenommenheit vertuschen.


Dear Cory,

I’ve been trying to think about poetry, as you do, and re-reading some of your work. Here’s what I’ve come up with, for what it’s worth, in meager words.

Poetry is communication and commemoration. It is part of all of life, including death. It is what we say to one other, even in our absence. It plays an essential role in our survival.

Is it mortal? Will it disappear? Is there a risk that poetry will ever abandon us?

In one of your poems, you give voice to a pre-Roman inhabitant of the island of Great Britain – citizen Celt, as it were. In the face of Roman conquest, he sounds almost desperate:

In many or in not so many years,
there’ll be nothing surviving of my tongue
Our courage and our fears
will die, our songs go unsung.

I say ‘almost,’ because he is still able to speak in verse. You are able to hear him, and share his words with us. Or are they in fact your words? It is your poem, after all. But there was something that inspired you. Something you heard and listened to. In the museum in Bath, where a pale-faced young guide greeted you in Latin (“Salve!”) and handed you a tourist pamphlet, blissfully unaware of, and soon quite taken aback by, the fact that you were a fluent Latin speaker, able to respond with jovial banter.

Let him and his linguistic haplessness be commemorated here, the last and slightest tremor of Rome’s conquest of these isles.

You saw a Celtic artifact and you paid attention to it. It conjured up the image of our long-lost precursor who, in your poem, curses the Romans and, in his despair and fear, addresses one of their Goddesses:

I pray my conqueror’s conqueror may find
my curse, and that my curse
stick like an arrow in those foreign throats.
Let them wonder, Goddess: give them false hope.

The Roman Goddess is long gone, and the conqueror’s conquerors – or even the conqueror’s conquerors’ conquerors – are us, of Anglo-Saxon descent, Europeans, Americans, blissfully unaware of so much of the bloodshed that these isles have seen before us, miraculously able to conjure up images of peace, and of war, in words in which ancient languages may resonante. We will never know. But we communicate, and commemorate.

Thinking of you, my friend!

Christophe Fricker. Foto: © Chiara Dazi
Christophe Fricker. Foto: © Chiara Dazi

Christophe Fricker, geb. 1978, schreibt über die Möglichkeiten von Freundschaft, die Grenzen des Wissens und die Unwägbarkeiten der Mobilität. Mit Tom Nolan und Timothy J. Senior veröffentlichte er den zweisprachigen, illustrierten Gedichtband »Meet Your Party«. 2015 gab er die »Gespräche über Schmerz, Tod und Verzweiflung« zwischen Ernst Jünger und André Müller heraus, die das Deutschlandradio eine »Sensation« nannte. Frickers Buch »Stefan George: Gedichte für Dich«, eine Einführung in das Werk Georges, stand auf Platz 2 auf der NDR/SZ-Sachbuchbestenliste. Für den Gedichtband »Das schöne Auge des Betrachters« wurde er mit dem Hermann Hesse Förderpreis ausgezeichnet. Alle bereits erschienenen Folgen von »Dichterbriefe« finden Sie hier.

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