O grão-senhor do evento parecia ser o libanês Salah Stétié. Nascido em Beirute em 1929, durante o mandato francês do país, ele é, segundo minha querida Samira Negrouche, um dos mais importantes poetas árabes contemporâneos. Stétié escreve, porém, em francês, não em árabe, como foi também o caso, por exemplo, do grande poeta argelino Mohammed Dib (1920–2003). Foi interessante observar a reverência com que ele foi tratado durante o evento. Um cavalheiro, pude conversar um pouco com ele (fomos apresentados por Samira), e dividir uma mesa de debates na sexta-feira pela manhã.
Apresentando minha intervenção ao debate "O poeta é/e sua língua", com Salah Stétié à mesa, ao fundo da foto.
Reproduzo abaixo um pequeno poema lírico do libanês:
Nous avons donc parlé sous la tonnelle
De la diversité concertante des anges
Des fourmis affairées dans le jardin
Où l’eau brillait parmi ses catégories
Jusqu’au lointain des cruches
La poésie dormait dans ses racines d’arbre
Depuis l’antiquité comme une jeune fille
Agrippée au désastre de la parole
Pour ce naufrage où la terre est consolatrice
La terre était l’enfant de nos viscères
Où déjà des fleurs de formaient préparant
Notre silence vide le plus intime
Sous le ciel dur invisiblement défait
Par la mêlée des grues et des nuages
Outros dois encontros que renderam conversas muito enriquecedoras, e que me deixaram feliz:
§ - com o poeta iraquiano Salah Niazi (n. 1935), o tradutor para o árabe de trabalhos como Macbeth e Hamlet, além do Ulysses (1922), de James Joyce, num volume publicado em Damasco, na Síria, há dois anos. Conversamos longamente sobre traduzir Joyce para o árabe, sobre democracia no Iraque, sobre poesia brasileira.
§ - e com o "trovère valão", como ele foi apresentado pelo diretor do festival: o poeta belga Julos Beaucarne (n. 1936). Um de seus assuntos mais queridos parece ser seu amor pela língua valona, ou o valão.
Após a conversa e debate de que participei, uma senhora veio conversar comigo, dizendo que era teatróloga, que havia gostado de minhas intervenções, e que algumas das coisas que eu disse, ilustradas por meu jogo de palavras com o vocábulo francês langue e o vocábulo inglês lung, a tinham feito pensar em Valère Novarina (n. 1947), o que tomei como grande elogio. A quem interessar, reproduzo abaixo minha consideração inicial no debate:
The poet is/and his language
What most calls my attention in the proposed title of this roundtable is not so much its nouns, the poet or the language, but that possessive pronoun linking them, its concepts of possession and belonging.
The idea of possessing a language tantalized the Brazilian intellectuals and writers since our first Romantic poets in the XIX century, and creating a Brazilian poetic language was one of the most obsessive objectives of the Brazilian modernists in the 1920s. Linguistic nationalism among Romantic or Modernist poets is of course not a Brazilian privilege or disease, depending on the perspective. North American poets like Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams were also greatly preoccupied with the creation of an American prosody for their poetic language. Other pairs in the Romantic & Modernist movements could be found in other countries, Pushkin and some of the Russian futurists, or among German poets of the Sturm und Drang and Expressionism. The Portuguese modernist poet Fernando Pessoa once wrote that the Portuguese language was his nation. I find it compelling that he did not write that “the poetic language” was his nation, but chose to inhabit a collective language, one officially spoken throughout his country. The idea of a national language doesn´t interest me, but the implications of his statement, which could also then be read as a refusal to make a clear difference between the poet´s language and that of his readers.
I would like to address these two possible readings of our title today, “the poet is / and his language”:
§ - the idea of a national language to which a poet would belong;
§- and a poetic language, inherently different from the common language, a language that the poet alone would therefore possess.
Rosmarie Waldrop, a poet who emigrated from Germany to the United States when she was 20 years old, and started writing in American English in the 1970s, once stated that she spoke both German and English with a “foreigner´s accent”, and that this fact liberated her from the illusion of ever being a “master of one language”. As a Brazilian poet living in Germany, writing in the language of my mother, which we could call Brazilian Portuguese, but also writing in what I call “the language of the Empire”, American English, this statement has always touched me in its frankness and humility, the desire not to “master a language”, not to possess, but maybe simply to belong to it. Later, reading Wittgenstein, who would become central in my language thinking, I was thrilled to discover his notion of “language games”, with the possible implications of no separation or essential difference between the language of the poem and the language I am using right now to exchange thoughts with you. What we would have is then the different games and uses for this organism or system of tools that we call "language". The verb “to use” is very important to this notion. In Brazil, I edit a magazine with three other poets, Angélica Freitas, Fabiano Calixto and Marília Garcia, a magazine we call Modo de Usar & Co., something like “How To Use & Co.”, trying to investigate the poetic language through the idea of textuality, a text conscious of its artifices, thinking of the poet´s language as a site of intervention, the place where public and private meet, where he or she tries to achieve an ethical relationship between the individual and the collective, between own and other. The poetic language as a bridge between dualities and extremes, remembering how often these dualities have caused wars and massacres, especially when it deals with ideas and (mainly) ideals of national/local and alien/foreign. In this realm, the only thing the poet possesses is not a langue or language, but his lungs, inhaling and exhaling air for the production of concrete sounds (and its signs and letters) with the mission of uniting, not dividing. The language uses / with her poets.