Friday, 28 November 2008

The dream continues...

Review of Bread, Philip Hammial, Black Pepper, Victoria, Australia, 2000.

Open this collection of surreal poems and witness an array of sardonic humour and a relentless assault on an objective, consumerist-driven reality. Hammial - as poet and outsider artist - takes a step away from the mainstream and follows his own path, a refreshing stance even for much contemporary surrealist poetry, which suffers from an insistence on clinging to tradition.

Hammial’s work combines a streetwise irreverence with an intellectual sharp-wittedness, yet nevertheless retains an elusive quality that is difficult to pinpoint.

Some of the poems have a collage-like character, containing dream images running into each other with narratives either being disrupted or operating on several levels simultaneously. In the opening poem ‘Autumnal’, we discover:

only crime: he refused to meet The Season
head-on, would only from the side, as do sea chariots
when they menace - bathers in flight, run straight
into the arms of a gang on the beach, bikers
kneeling on sand - Let us pray...

In ‘Correspondence’ the dream continues with a party full of complete strangers, a cyanide capsule and the recurrently haunting phrase ‘Their nourishment comes from elsewhere’. In another poem, ‘Floating’, the poet watches various corpses floating by and overcomes the temptation to become a corpse himself, ‘to go floating off, destination / unknown, without a care in the world’.

In a couple of poems, disconnected phrases are brought together to build up a logic of their own:

Wear bibs for sex.
Have gladiola manners.
Give vent to the patter of paterfamilias.
Are please when camels kneel..


From literal mud he crawled to run with literal dogs in.
The time it takes to tow a mother.
Hooded emissaries bring out their tubes for a blow.
At which point the hunting starts to complain...


In ‘Me, Myself, No Other’ various personalities burst out all at once, revealing an angry schizophrenia insisting on its singularity of identity:

& myself, no
other who, coming among strangers,
can understand their language as if
it was my own, their discourse
of dead horses, of empire, of excrement
& tedium...

This is the sickness of an insane society utterly convinced of its sanity. Eventually though, as the poem concludes, it is an insanity that ‘will place on the lips/of each of my comrades a kiss/of betrayal’.

The exposure of a self-deluded society and the abuse of power by governments continues in other poems, such as ‘Not me, him’, ‘Bread’, ‘Heads of State’ and ‘Law’. Christianity comes under particular attack, whether tacitly or explicitly, as in the satirical short poem ‘Last Supper’:

On twelve plates twelve pills.
Pink pills on green plates.
A thumbs up from the host means to swallow.
Eleven do, with wine to wash it down.
One refuses. Demands & gets
on a pink plate a green pill.

Hammial is not shy in his assaults, neither is he afraid to display ‘sick’ humour as in ‘Custodians’, ‘What to Say’ or in ‘Problems/Solutions’: ‘Judges eradicate damsel distress./ Grade rape from one to five.’ Hammial is always provocative, but our complacent psyches - often unable to question the flimsiest of deceptions - are in need of a good shake up.

Some of the best poems in this collection are a series of prose poems that could be categorised as scripts for surrealist happenings. ‘Problems/Solutions’ recommends: ‘Set fire to your toothpaste’ while others are more elaborate:

Call the spirits of the dead. When they arrive, complaining about the poor treatment that they had from their relatives when they were alive, put brown paper bags over their heads &, as though applauding, pop them.


Hammial is not a poet for everyone, and certainly not for those with their heads in the sand. Most of his poems demand several readings and if they are occasionally shocking, they are nevertheless always thought-provoking and enjoyable.

(Previously unpublished)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Mega-merger for publishing in southern Africa

September has been an eventful month for the big guns of the South African publishing industry. The main news was the announcement of the merger between Random House SA and Struik Publishing, the case for which had been sitting with the Competition Commission since April.
The new company – called Random House Struik – is 50.1% owned by New Holland Publishing SA, with the balance held by the Random House Group in London. New Holland Publishing SA is fully owned by South African media group Avusa. Prior to the merger, Avusa had held 24% in Random House SA.

The new company aims to publish more than 1000 titles a year – that’s about 83 titles a month to be pumped into the market. About half of the books produced will be local titles, mainly nonfiction from the Struik, Oshun and Zebra Press imprints. Random House SA’s imprint Umuzi will continue to publish fiction and nonfiction, and though the Random House Group’s international network, local writers would be able to enjoy wider exposure.

The Random House Group will supply the balance of the output by providing Random House Struik with titles by internationally renowned authors such as Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Dan Brown and Bill Bryson.

In a podcast with Sunday Times books editor Tymon Smith, the newly merged company’s managing director, Stephen Johnson, highlighted that the various local imprints would be retained and that the distinct sales teams for the imprints would also be kept in place. If anything, he felt that autonomy of the imprints should be promoted more than ever before. There was also no aim to change the editorial policies of the units.

In the interview, Johnson also said that the merger would allow the combined entities to look deeper into the issue of digital publishing, especially publishing via mobile phones. He went further to say that the company would be looking into distribution overall, examining innovative ways in which to reach audiences. While in no way wishing to downplay the role of retailers – who are, as he pointed out, the ones who provide a publisher’s bread and butter – he felt that the traditional retail booksellers’ model in South Africa had “a sense of the moribund”.

I contacted Johnson to ask if he could elaborate on what he had in mind and whether he was looking towards a greater shift to online selling rather than through physical retailers. He replied that while there was no clear strategy in place at the moment, digital platforms would certainly be examined and that the company would soon be aggressively looking at new possibilities of distribution – in a nutshell, how the company would be able to make its books more widely available to readers.

This is exciting stuff, and it will be interesting to see what develops. However, another industry player says that he is sceptical of such ideas, since within the South African market it is unlikely that – in the short term, at least – publishers will be able to wean hoards of book readers away from the traditional bricks-and-mortar bookstore.

Another interesting piece of news in September was that The Mandela Rhodes Foundation had purchased a 25.1% stake in Oxford University Press SA, thus cementing a black economic empowerment deal with one of the top publishing houses in the country. The foundation says that it will use its dividends to fund scholarships at Oxford University and hopes to support 100 scholars a year by 2012.

It makes you wonder whether there will be soon be any more empowerment deals for the industry.

(First published in The Bookseller, September 2008)

Friday, 21 November 2008

Rich imagery and a sense of place

Review of All The Days, Robert Berold, Deep South, and Never, Bernat Kruger,Deep South

ALL the Days is Robert Berold’s fourth collection of poetry, and it is written with striking clarity and lucidity of language.

The poems display an awareness of the fleetingness of time, of the transitory nature of life and approaching old age: all embraced by Berold with a calm, Taoist-like wisdom — there is a quote from Lao Tsu at the beginning of one poem and another is titled The Book of Changes.

These themes reveal themselves immediately, as in the first poem, The Water Running, which traces constant movement and change: “the water running in the gullies/the hoopoe bobbing flying off abruptly/the sky full of leftover rain/… the bakkie loaded up for town/the pipes and ditches swollen with water”.

The second poem, Half-light, shows a traditional Chinese influence in its brevity and simple description of a rural landscape: “morning half-light, meeting/two foxes on the farm road, crossing the railway line, turning/to the white moon”.

Most of the poems display a strong sense of place, whether it be the rural landscape of Eastern Cape, Johannesburg or even China, where Berold taught English for a year .

A few poems in the collection are lighthearted, such as Why I am not an Engineer; the sound poem Two Cats; and Proposal, where Berold writes that he is “becoming an extension of my computer/… I’m wired up the world. I can communicate with china, it’s only/a six hour time difference. It’s the cultural time difference/that makes it difficult, and the fact that their rivers are toxic”.

But even in Berold’s lightheartedness there is an intimate warmth that shines through, as in To my Room, the place where he has “spent three thousand nights in your arms./You have absorbed my snoring and my dreams”.

The strongest poems are those that deal with the past and trace the poet’s history, as in Written on my Father’s Birthday, Sweetpeas, My Bakkie, To myself at 20, or Journey, where the poet visits “Hillbrow. Wanderers Street./Taxi-blasted chickens stand in cages./I was born there. Florence Nightingale Hospital./It used to be a dreamy flatland of pensioners/and nurses”.

The powerful narrative, Visit to my Mother, highlights the difficulties in trying to maintain relations with an older, more politically conservative generation.

Never is Bernat Kruger’s debut collection of poetry . Like Berold, Kruger’s work shows a strong awareness of the natural world, as well as geography, as is evident in poems such as Marienthal, Groblersdal, Limpopo and Iowa.

But there is also an awareness of an inner world, and the interplay between the two realities, as well as the vapid, transitory nature of the physical world, as in the title poem, which describes the poet stopping his car “to wade the knee-deep air-light fluff, this/curious relic left by a burst of rain lasting less than a/minute”.

Kruger’s world is characterised by precise, intricate, detailed description, as in the first poem, 20cm, which begins: “A morning mist leaving colours in blue tint/20cm from a window and any of my movements force/my left shoulder against glass”.

Several poems deal with travelling through SA’s rural areas, of farming co-ops and agricultural produce, as in the poem Iowa, which describes being “in the real world, heading for Wesselsbron — heading/for a crop meeting. Maize. Corn …”

There is also a strong awareness of the inherent political conservatism of the landscape — particularly in the poem Limpopo, which describes how the poet and a friend get lost and find themselves in an informal settlement.

Kruger’s intricate, rich imagery is sometimes difficult and few of the poems can be grasped initially; they demand a second reading.

For all the apparent natural description, there is a dreamlike sense of elusiveness and illusion, of another, interior-world reality peeping through.

Having followed Kruger’s work in literary journals over the past few years, I had expected something more substantial than Never’s 50 pages.

Published in The Weekender, November 22, 2008.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

"Something was coming out of my throat..."

"The morning I got up to begin this book I coughed. Something was coming out of my throat: it was strangling me. I broke the thread which held it and yanked it out. I went back to bed and said: I have just spat out my heart.
"There is an instrument called the quena made of human bones. It owes its origin to the worship of an Indian for his mistress. When she died he made a flute out of her bones. The quena has a more penetrating more haunting sound than the ordinary flute.
"Those who write know the process. I thought of it as I was spitting out my heart.
"Only I do not wait for my love to die."

Anais Nin, House of Incest, Peter Owen, 1978.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Blogs can bring a fresh alternative perspective

They often ignore traditional market-related views and can provide a platform for passionate individual opinions, writes Gary Cummiskey

THE past five years have witnessed a surge in print book publishing in SA, while focus on internet publishing has not been so prominent, mainly because of low internet access in the country which is only at about 6%-7%. There have however been some forays into online literary publishing, and blogs in particular offer scope.

Poet and publisher Goodenough Mashego, in Shatale, Mpumalanga, is the creator of Kasiekulture, which offers some often cheeky and humorous commentary by Mashego and others on literary, cultural and sociopolitical issues. Mashego says Kasiekulture was started in 2006 as a new medium to promote “alternative literature, arts in the periphery and cultural activities in the fringes”.

The Kagablog is the brainchild of filmmaker, novelist and poet Aryan Kaganof, in Cape Town. More of an online literary and arts journal than a commentary blog, such as Kasiekulture, the Kagablog has numerous contributors from various countries. It usually has several daily postings, including music, film, visual art, poetry, fiction, criticism and photography.

Kaganof says: “I started up the Kagablog in late 2005. I was interested in creating a forum for writers, poets, artists, academics and digital explorers of all persuasions to present work. This forum would, unlike the mass media as we know it, not be market-driven, either in the sense of its content always relating to new product, or in the sense of having to pander to the consideration of what the readership wants.

“I invited contributors whose work I admired, respected, believed in and or loved. Once in as a contributor there is no editorial censorship. In this way too, the blog works very differently from market-driven mass media.”

Mashego says he gets huge satisfaction from posting material by other writers and cultural practitioners.

“While I still post lots of my thoughts and my understanding of what's going on, what makes Kasiekulture different from many blogs is that I do post material from other people as long as it's in line with what I'm doing. It could easily have been an online magazine in the sense of a website, but that route for me has been exhausted and is not that cost-effective. I have reviewed most mainstream books, films in the fringes, alternative music, cultural festivals and heritage sites and commentated on literary issues.”

An advantage of online publishing is, of course, that one can the ability to monitor readership through a hit counter, and, depending on the quality of the software used, obtain fairly comprehensive geographic information about visitors.

Mashego says: “I have an average of 56 visitors on a good day. Per month it would definitely be more than 1500 visits. Most of those who visit from SA access the internet from their workplaces. Most of my readers are white, given that I have more visitors from the US and Europe than Africa. In the US it seems most of the visitors are seem black, given the comments I get when I hit at people such as Molefi Kete Asante and some rappers. Locals love light-hearted opinions and political commentaries.”

Kaganof says his hit-rate can vary quite dramatically. “For instance, from November last year to February this year, the blog was getting more than 250000 hits per a month. But then when I moved to Sweden for five months from March it dropped off a bit as I was unable to give the blog as much attention as I usually would.“About half the readership is located in geographical SA, but there are a lot of hits from the US and from the Netherlands.”

Neither of the initiatives receive sponsorship. Kaganof says the Kagablog is a labour of love.

Mashego says, “I don't think the Google Adsense strategy works. They say you apply and they post content-related ads. Yeah, they are content-related and they appear on my blog but I still have to see the money. The trick here is that as a blogger you can't really monitor if anyone clicked on the ad, which means you depend on them to tell you that you have made a few dollars or not. I'm still waiting for a big local advertiser with a soft spot for art and culture.”

There is also the issue of SA’s low internet penetration, which raises the question of the feasibility of online publishing aimed at local audiences, but as Kaganof says, 6%-7% is better than nothing at all, and it is growing.

Mashego says, “Blogs are feasible. The penetration of the source might be very low but the information carried on these blogs reaches more people. That is why I think they have a role to play. The shortfall is just that print has not seen the importance of collaborating with blogs to help them cover the whole country. Also, newspapers should realise that if they browsed blogs they could find material to syndicate on their newspapers and pay the blogger.”

A criticism that has been made against of the blog concept is that it skips the editorial process usually involved in print or broadcast media, thereby allowing a situation where anyone can become a published writer. In SA particularly some people do not regard them as having any value.

Mashego says, “They should be taken seriously. Some time back I posted a comment after the AIDS-related death of a kwaito artist and a journalist quoted it on her tribute to the artist. This means somebody saw the seriousness of the blog and its content. We might not have reached a point where we are an alternative to print, but given that most newspaper websites carry the same stories you find in print, blogs should be regarded by South African audiences as an alternative. For example, if there is a rugby or soccer game that finishes after 9pm a blogger is likely to post the story before print or television media, which have broadcasting time frames or print deadlines. Blogs don't have that. Acceptance is gradually coming, once people realise the staleness of stuff they read in newspapers and see on TV.

“Blogs can also be incentives for people to read books. There are books I have reviewed on Kasiekulture and then I got mail from readers asking me how they could buy copies. Some inquiries came from libraries wanting to have those the titles on their shelves.”

Kaganof takes a harder, more critical view of whether blogs are taken seriously in SA.

“The only things taken seriously in SA are drinking and sport. I cannot allow myself to be contained by the mediocre opinions of the market. What matters is that I take blogs seriously, that the contributors and the readership takes them seriously.
“Look at the print publishing industry: too many books are published and thrown out into the marketplace in the hope that something sticks. It's just a huge jumble sale out there, and it is exhausting for readers to keep up with it all. And that's why people retreat, they turn inwards, they find refuge in the classics, in what they already know, because it is impossible to read through all the books that are thrown at them.

“The blogging phenomenon is something entirely different. It's a distinct medium of its own. If anything, I think blogs stimulate people to buy books because they give readers access to so many fresh critical voices who are writing from a position of passion rather than the established critical voices who write from jaded positions of power and assumed authority.”

First published in Business Day's books and publishing supplement, November 15, 2008

Spotlight on the resurgence of women poets

However, it is no easy ride and the challenges remain, writes Gary Cummiskey

Despite poetry being regarded as a marginalised genre internationally, the past 14 years has seen an increase in the number of poetry collections published in SA, and particularly a rise in number of volumes by women poets.

Arja Salafranca, author of A Life Stripped of Illusions and The Fire in Which we Burn, says: "It is difficult to pinpoint why there has been a rise in the number of women poets, “but more women are writing today than ever before in SA — whether it’s poetry, short fiction or novels. Perhaps women are finally feeling freed and empowered enough to devote time to their writing”.

Haidee Kruger, author of Lush: a poem for four voices, says: “The growth in the number of women poets being published probably corresponds to the general growth of the book industry in SA, though this growth is more centred in the genres of fiction and trade nonfiction. I have a sense of expansion and diversification in the South African book market and I think the increasing number of more women poets being published is part of this.”

Joan Metelerkamp, author of several poetry collections including Requiem and Carrying the Fire, takes a more backward glance into history, and sees it as being more of an issue of power, with many unanswered questions.

“It has as much to do with the history of the various languages in this country as with the politics of publishing and reading. Why were there many strong Afrikaans women poets published before 1980? Was it just paternalism — Afrikaners had a culture of looking after their women? And after 1948, when it was the language of power? Why did anyone still bother about poetry?”

Makhosazana Xaba, author of These Hands and Tongues of their Mothers, recently published by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, says: “Men were the familiar, men had sold poetry, so men got published. When isolated publishers here and there started taking the risk publishing women, others began to feel the risk was lessening.”

Metelerkamp says: “The fact that the publishing industry was dominated by men is no surprise: every institution all over the world used to be dominated by men.”

Kruger says that “possibly there may still be a lingering perception among some that ‘serious literature’ is, by and large, written by men, while women pen chicklit and children’s books. But how prevalent this kind of perception is, I don’t know”.

Salafranca, however, feels it also involves traditional views on gender roles. “I think writing, for a long time, has been regarded as a thing that men do. Men had studies, shut the door, said to the wife and the kids that they were busy writing and this was accepted. Now women are perhaps doing the same. So they are writing — whether it is poetry or other genres.”

Megan Hall, whose debut collection Fourth Child, published by Modjaji Books, recently won the Ingrid Jonker poetry prize, disagrees that poetry has historically been regarded historically as a genre for men, but admits: “I remember reading somewhere that women who wrote under gender-neutral names were more likely to be published than those who wrote under names that were clearly those of women. I haven't tested this out myself.”

But do women poets see themselves as different from men poets?

Salafranca says, “No, we are not fundamentally different. We’re all human. Perhaps, though, I have tackled more ‘feminine’ topics than men would approach.” A poem of mine, On the Morning of my Period, published in The Fire in Which we Burn, would certainly not really be written by a man, although men have often imagined themselves into women’s lives. But I have many poems that don’t ‘show’ or reveal my gender.”

Kruger says, “I think of myself as a poet and not as a woman poet. It is striking how often a female poet will be described as a woman, female or, to my horror, lady poet, whereas you don’t often come across descriptions of ‘the male poet Breyten Breytenbach’. There is an odd suggestion in this that the female poet is an aberration from the norm (which is the male poet) and as such needs to be qualified. I am wary of the motivations behind distinctions. This too easily leads one into gross oversimplification. Having said that, though, the fact that I am a woman does play a profound and complex role in my writing.”

Metelerkamp says: “I do differ from poets who are men, but then I also differ from women, even from women poets whose work looks similar.”

Hall says that “different poets differ from one another in different ways. I think there are other differences that are at least as interesting as those to do with gender”.

Since 1994 there has also been an increase in the number of literary journals and independent presses in SA, and women’s poetry is certainly gaining greater coverage and exposure. A few years ago, for example, independent publisher Botsotso published Isis X, an anthology of poems and photography by South African women, including Salafranca and Xaba.

Colleen Higgs, poet and founder of independent press of Modjaji Books, which focuses on women’s writing, says: “Poetry is always a bit of an a misfit genre and activity and I don't see adequate coverage as an external issue. Poetry is unlikely to be headline news. It is a marginal activity. It is up to poets and poetry publishers to find ways of getting get coverage.

“I think we have to do things for ourselves; and not wait for some more appropriate other to do things for us. So women need to get into independent publishing, we need to claim poetry editorships; we need to see that we have power.”

Xaba says there is not yet adequate coverage of women poets in SA, but feels that “there is a growing opening of space, a growing understanding that women poets are worthy to be published, a growing acceptance that there are very good women poets in this country.”

Hall says she is curious about what percentage women actually occupy in the various new avenues of publication. “When I was working on New Contrast I did not factor gender into my choices at all. I don't know whether the end result was balanced or not.”

However, Salafranca asks why this wider coverage for women should be an issue. “Can’t we just publish good poetry, whatever the gender of the poet? Literary journals have sometimes devoted issues to women’s writing – the most recent edition of Wordsetc celebrated women’s writing, for instance. But generally I feel women’s poetry is getting adequate attention in journals.”

Previously many women poets responded more to overseas poets than local ones, although this is obviously changing.

Salafranca says, “I love the poetry of South African Eva Bezwoda Royston. Her work was intensely personal — about her psychological experiences, for instances. She was a bold, different, fresh voice and that speaks to and inspires me. As does the confessional, skilled work of Anne Sexton. Today, I am impressed by various local poets, both men and women.”

For Higgs, the poet who has influenced her the most is Adrienne Rich. “I love her voice, her sensibility, her quiet courage, her consisAdd Imagetent position on the side of telling the truth, especially when it isn't popular or comfortable. However I love the work of a great many poets: Raymond Carver, Nazim Hikmet, Joan Metelerkamp, Karen Press, Megan Hall, Ingrid de Kok, Yehuda Amichai, TS Eliot, Sharon Olds, Wislawa Sjmborska.”

Kruger says, “There are many active South African women writers who whom I admire, and who are inspirational in their very diverse talents: Joan Metelerkamp, Gabeba Baderoon, Napo Masheane, Finuala Dowling, Ingrid de Kok, Karen Press, Lebo Mashile, Antjie Krog and Isobel Dixon, to name a few. However, in terms of my own development as a writer, up to now, I think that, with the possible exception of Afrikaans writers such as Krog and Ingrid Jonker, it is mostly British and American poets who have influenced me. But I find myself increasingly turning to South African and other African poets.”

Says Hall: “I'm certainly moved by writing by other South Africans and southern Africans, both men and women, and intrigued and educated and encouraged too. The same goes for writers from overseas, although the biggies for me include Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Atwood, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Tony Harrison. I am trying to read some of the younger wave.”

While there is undoubtedly tremendous enthusiasm about the increase in the number of women poets being published and the widening opportunities, there are, however, challenges, mainly about reaching audiences.

“It’s about getting published, finding readers and reaching readers,getting readers to buy books, getting published” says Higgs. Kruger agrees, but points out that this is a challenge facing all poets, irrespective of gender.

Xaba feel that there is a definite need to boost the number of women poets published. “While there is a growth in women’s voices it’s still in its infancy. I would like to see publishers focusing more and more on women in order to undercover talent I know exists and is waiting to be exposed to the reading public.

"The financial support that exists for poets is minimal. Writers of any kind need time out and space to focus solely on their art. Writing residencies need to become commonplace within SA, and they need to be accessible. And they need to be friendly to women.”

For Salafranca the main challenge for women poets is getting published. “There are so few publishers willing to take on collections. People don’t buy them, so it’s an uphill battle to get them out into the world.

“Some presses do publish poetry, but they are few and far between. It remains a marginalised genre, an unpopular choice for local readers who prefer reading novels to poetry or short stories. Local readers are now reading local novels in droves, because we have moved beyond apartheid literature with its messages and heavy emphasis on guilt. We have seen a renaissance of novels by local authors.”

But Hall also brings in a reminder says that a huge challenge for poets in SA “would be things like having the leisure to write, or the energy and determination to force the leisure or time to appear” We also need reasonable access to writers of different persuasions, both local and international,” and Metelerkamp also emphasises the need for poets to keep writing, which is often a challenge in itself, especially in view of poetry’s marginalised position.

First published in Business Day's supplement on books and publishing November 15,2008.

Friday, 07 November 2008

Taylor Rain is Dirty Girl in Velvet - Dionysos Andronis

Ce nouveau court métrage de Aryan Kaganof est un bijou précieux et allégorique de 11 minutes et 32 secondes. Dans ce film il y a d’abord la poésie sous la forme de vers en train de se composer et puis il y a la poésie du corps féminin, un thème favori chez Kaganof. Le poète honoré est Gary Cummiskey, un des plus prometteurs de sa génération en Afrique du Sud. La poésie du corps féminin appartient à Taylor Rain, une performeuse d’exception, qui nous offre son corps photogénique et radieux.

Le film est divisé en quatre parties. À la première partie un écran noir de deux minutes sert comme point d’anticipation. Vous verrez pourquoi un peu plus tard dans le texte.

Les poèmes en train de s’écrire de Gary Cummiskey arrivent à la deuxième partie et ils sont accompagnés par une musique improvisée du groupe Matmos. Même si on n’arrive pas à saisir les poèmes en entier, puisqu’ils défilent mots à mots et en vitesse sur l’écran, une sensation de palpitation est déclenchée qui devient esthétique et sensuelle. Les mots ne sont pas des simples lettres mais des porteurs de charge émotionnelle. La palpitation est accentuée par le son d’une machine à écrire en off qui sert comme une deuxième musique angoissante. On a le pressentiment que quelque chose se prépare. Cette partie dure six minutes.

À la troisième partie l’actante Taylor Rain commence à se masturber devant l’objectif. Elle caresse ses parties vaginales et anales. Cette fois les poésies de Gary Cummiskey défilent au milieu de l’écran. Elles deviennent les vrais protagonistes en premier plan et l’actante un très beau motif secondaire qui sert à multiplier la richesse et l’interaction entre les thèmes. Un petit ours blanc est assis prêt de la belle jeune fille. Il sert comme un élément d’explication. Trois minutes est la durée de cette partie significative.

L’inscription «Yes, that’s Velvet » (Oui, c’est du velours) vient à la quatrième et dernière partie qui dure 32 secondes. C’est une conclusion heureuse et courte d’une grâce exemplaire. Le fond de l’écran est noir pour être en accord avec l’image du début. Le velours artificiel du petit ourson - jouet serait une métaphore du faux de cette deuxième poésie corporelle dans le film. La vérité est du coté des mots et de la poésie écrite. Le corps est beau, très beau même, mais les vers écrits sont l’élément le plus vivant de notre vie humaine.

First published on