terça-feira, 17 de abril de 2012

Pensando sobre o trabalho de Adrienne Rich, seu contexto e suas implicações

Ao ler a poesia de Adrienne Rich pela primeira vez, no fim do século passado, ela não captou muito do meu interesse. À época eu estava preocupado e interessado demais em outros aspectos do fazer poético, pesquisando a instância experimental e particularmente antidiscursiva dos poetas norte-americanos, extremamente diversos entre si, ligados à Black Mountain College, como Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, John Cage ou Robert Duncan; os poetas da Escola de Nova Iorque, especialmente Frank O´Hara e John Ashbery, com sua poética pós-dadaísta; e, numa geração posterior, a pesquisa de autoras associadas à revista
L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, especialmente Lyn Hejinian, Rosmarie Waldrop e Susan Howe.

Voltei a ler o trabalho de Adrienne Rich por volta de 2006, ano em que dediquei muito do meu tempo à leitura de crítica, ao ler o livro Self and Sensibility in Contemporary American Poetry (1984), do crítico norte-americano Charles Altieri, no qual faz uma discussão longa e elaborada sobre os papeis socioculturais que a poesia lírica pode ainda assumir em nossa era. Nele, o crítico discute três poetas de forma mais detida: Robert Creeley, num capítulo intitulado "Robert Creeley´s poetics of conjecture: the pains and pleasures of staging a self at war with its own lyric desires"; John Ashbery, no capítulo "John Ashbery: discursive rhetoric within a poetics of thinking"; e nossa poeta em questão, no capítulo "Self-reflection as action: the recent work of Adrienne Rich". Charles Altieri aponta ali John Ashbery e Adrienne Rich como aqueles que melhor cumpriram algumas das funções ainda possíveis para o poeta como voz comunitária no pós-guerra norte-americano. O livro, polêmico em suas asserções, afirmaria que a poesia de Robert Creeley seria falha neste aspecto. Como escrevi em minha pequena nota sobre Rich para a Modo de Usar & Co., não me subscrevo às opiniões do crítico, mas recomendo o livro como discussão bastante interessante e inteligente sobre os dilemas que poetas líricos enfrentam nos dias de hoje. Naquele momento, o que me interessava era a maneira como Ashbery, munido de uma poética muitas vezes tão antidiscursiva, podia assumir tais funções aos olhos do crítico.

Foi apenas mais recentemente, pesquisando sobre poetas que lidaram em sua poesia com a conturbada relação GENDER/GENRE, que retornei a Adrienne Rich. Vejamos um dos seus poemas mais famosos, o que dá título a seu primeiro livro importante, Diving into the wreck (1973):

Diving into the Wreck
Adrienne Rich

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and away into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

A estratégia aqui, numa linguagem imagético-discursiva e extremamente direta, ainda que se entregue a certas circunvoluções metafóricas, é claramente formada por escolhas bastante distintas das de poetas que começaram a escrever à mesma época, como Lyn Hejinian e Rosmarie Waldrop. Vejamos dois textos destas últimas, especificamente de
My Life (Hejinian) e Lawn of excluded middle (Waldrop):

The windows were open and the morning air was, by the smell of lilac and some darker flowering shrub, filled with the brown and chirping trills of birds. As they are if you could have nothing but quiet and shouting. Arts, also, are links. I picture an idea at the moment I come to it, our collision. Once for a time, anyone might have been luck's child. Even rain didn't spoil the barbecue, in the backyard behind a polished traffic, through a landscape, along a shore. Freedom then, liberation later. She came to babysit for us in those troubled years directly from the riots, and she said that she dreamed of the day when she would gun down everyone in the financial district. That single telephone is only one hair on the brontosaurus. The coffee drinkers answered ecstatically. If your dog stays out of the room, you get the fleas. In the lull, activity drops. I'm seldom in my dreams without my children. My daughter told me that at some time in school she had learned to think of a poet as a person seated on an iceberg and melting through it. It is a poetry of certainty. In the distance, down the street, the practicing soprano belts the breeze. As for we who "love to be astonished," money makes money, luck makes luck. Moves forward, drives on. Class background not landscape--still here and there in 1969 I could feel the scope of collectivity. It was the present time for a little while, and not so new as we thought then, the present always after war. Ever since it has been hard for me to share my time. yellow of that sad room was again the yellow of naps, where she waited, restless, faithless, for more days. They say that the alternative for the bourgeoisie was gullibility. Call it water and dogs. Reason looks for two, then arranges it from there. But can one imagine a madman in love. Goodbye; enough that was good. There was a pause, a rose, something on paper. I may balk but I won't recede. Because desire is always embarrassing. At the beach, with a fresh flush. The child looks out. The berries are kept in the brambles, on wires on reserve for the birds. At a distance, the sun is small. There was no proper Christmas after he died. That triumphant blizzard had brought the city to its knees. I am a stranger to the little girl I was, and more--more strange. But many facts about a life should be left out, they are easily replaced. One sits in a cloven space. Patterns promote an outward likeness, between little white silences. The big trees catch all the moisture from what seems like a dry night. Reflections don't make shade, but shadows are, and do. In order to understand the nature of the collision, one must know something of the nature of the motions involved--that is, a history. He looked at me and smiled and did not look away, and thus a friendship became erotic. Luck was rid of its clover.

My Life, Lyn Hejinian.


It’s a tall order that expects pain to crystallize into beauty. And we must close our eyes to conceive of heaven. The inside of the lid is fertile in images unprovoked by experience, or perhaps its pressure on the eyeball equals prayer in the same way that inference is a transition toward assertion, even observing rites of dawn against a dark and empty background. I have read that female prisoners to be hanged must wear rubber pants and a dress sewn shut around the knees because uterus and ovaries spill with the shock down the shaft.

Lawn of excluded middle, Rosmarie Waldrop.

Estou ciente de que os dois livros de Hejinian e Waldrop são posteriores (1984 e 1993, respectivamente) ao de Rich, mas as diferenças aqui vistas marcam o trabalho das poetas. A indeterminação, para usar expressão de uma crítica como Marjorie Perloff que já ironizou a poética imagético-discursiva de outras poetas como Adrienne Rich, é o que comanda a atenção composicional de Hejinian e Waldrop, buscando uma intervenção política mais na maneira como uma mulher usa a língua que naquilo que é dito ou na ironia contra a imagética geralmente usada para definir a sensibilidade feminina, esta última estratégia a que Adrienne Rich prefere. No trabalho de uma poeta como Bernadette Mayer, que já discuti algumas vezes aqui, talvez encontremos um ponto de equilíbro entre estas estratégias, como no grande poema "Eve of Easter", que Mayer lê no vídeo abaixo a 26 de abril de 1978:

No entanto, imagino que para uma poeta-ativista como Adrienne Rich, tais estratégias parecessem demasiado oblíquas. Basta lermos seu discurso ao aceitar o National Book Award de 1974, justamente pelo livro Diving into the wreck, escrito a seis mãos com Alice Walker e Audre Lorde, esta última ainda mais direta na batalha (peço aos homens brancos heterossexuais que pensem duas vezes antes de enviar mensagens ou comentários protestando - já que são sempre homens brancos heterossexuais que protestam nestes momentos):

Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992) , que também assinou o discurso/manifesto acima, teve um papel muito importante neste debate durante a segunda metade do século XX, denunciando o que a seu ver seria uma espécie de miopia racial dentro do discurso feminista, acusando feministas brancas de ignorarem diferenças entre as experiências de mulheres de grupos étnicos e sexuais distintos.

O poema de Adrienne Rich habilmente escolhido e traduzido por Ismar Tirelli Neto (leia-o ao final desta postagem), que publicamos esta semana na franquia eletrônica da Modo de Usar & Co., talvez seja um exemplo perfeito para demonstrar a qualidade do trabalho de Adrienne Rich a partir de suas escolhas de intervenção. Sua linguagem faz-me pensar no belo poema precursor de Mina Loy, "The Effectual Marriage or the Insipid Narrative of Gina and Miovanni":

The Effectual Marriage or the Insipid Narrative of Gina and Miovanni (excertos)
Mina Loy


In the evening they looked out of their two windows
Miovanni out of his library window
Gina from the kitchen window
From among his pots and pans
Where he so kindly kept her
Where she so wisely busied herself
Pots and Pans she cooked in them
All sorts of sialagogues
Some say that happy women are immaterial

So here we might dispense with her
Gina being a female
But she was more than that
Being an incipience a correlative
an instigation of the reaction of man
From the palpable to the transcendent
Mollescent irritant of his fantasy
Gina had her use Being useful
contentedly conscious
She flowered in Empyrean
From which no well-mated woman ever returns


While Miovanni thought alone in the dark
Gina supposed that peeping she might see
A round light shining where his mind was
She never opened the door
Fearing that this might blind her
Or even
That she should see Nothing at all
So while he thought
She hung out of the window
Watching for falling stars
And when a star fell
She wished that still
Miovanni would love her tomorrow
And as Miovanni
Never gave any heed to the matter
He did

Os trabalhos de poetas como Mina Loy e Muriel Rukeyser têm sido aos poucos reivindicados como precursores de tantas destas intervenções, por críticas como Marjorie Perloff (que escreveu longamente sobre Loy) e por poetas como Rachel Blau DuPlessis ou a própria Adrienne Rich, que viria a escrever sobre a última: "Rukeyser was one of the great integrators, seeing the fragmentary world of modernity not as irretrievably broken, but in need of societal and emotional repair." Talvez como o de outros poetas da década de 30 norte-americana, geração tão politizada e ativista quanto a brasileira, britânica e alemã da mesma década, o trabalho de Rukeyser, como o de Rexroth e Patchen, por exemplo, parecem sofrer do mesmo silêncio que por anos caiu sobre George Oppen e Louis Zukofsky, até que os poetas do pós-guerra os reivindicaram como mestres.

Satirizando um dos clichês sobre mulheres, numa intervenção sutil na política dos gêneros como a que Clarice Lispector também faria, Muriel Rukeyser escreveu seu "St. Roach", ou "Sta. Barata":

St. Roach
Muriel Rukeyser

For that I never knew you, I only learned to dread you,
for that I never touched you, they told me you are filth,
they showed me by every action to despise your kind;
for that I saw my people making war on you,
I could not tell you apart, one from another,
for that in childhood I lived in places clear of you,
for that all the people I knew met you by
crushing you, stamping you to death, they poured boiling
water on you, they flushed you down,
for that I could not tell one from another
only that you were dark, fast on your feet, and slender.
Not like me.
For that I did not know your poems
And that I do not know any of your sayings
And that I cannot speak or read your language
And that I do not sing your songs
And that I do not teach our children
to eat your food
or know your poems
or sing your songs
But that we say you are filthing our food
But that we know you not at all.

Yesterday I looked at one of you for the first time.
You were lighter that the others in color, that was
neither good nor bad.
I was really looking for the first time.
You seemed troubled and witty.

Today I touched one of you for the first time.
You were startled, you ran, you fled away
Fast as a dancer, light, strange, and lovely to the touch.
I reach, I touch, I begin to know you.

Adrienne Rich publicaria ainda os livros Twenty-one Love Poems (1976), The Dream of a Common Language (1978), A Wild Patience Has Taken Me this Far (1982), Sources (1983), Your Native Land, Your Life (1986), Time’s Power (1989), An Atlas of the Difficult World (1991), Dark Fields of the Republic (1995), Midnight Salvage (1999), Fox (2001), The School Among the Ruins (2004), Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth (2007) e o último Tonight No Poetry Will Serve (2010). Adrienne Rich morreu a 27 de março de 2012, aos 82 anos, em Santa Cruz, Califórnia.

Encerro esta postagem com o EXCELENTE poema traduzido por Ismar Tirelli Neto e dois vídeos com a autora.




Instantâneos de Uma Nora


Você, uma vez a bela de Shreveport,
cabelos tingidos de hena, a pele como pêssego,
ainda manda fazer vestidos como os que se usavam então,
e toca um prelúdio de Chopin
chamado por Cortot: “Deliciosas reminiscências
flutuam como perfume pela memória”.

Sua mente agora, mofando como bolo de casamento,
pesada de experiências inúteis, pródiga
em suspeitas, rumores, fantasias,
desmoronando sob o fio
do mero fato. Na primavera da vida.

Inquieta, o olhar faiscante, sua filha
limpa as colheres de chá, cresce para outro lado.


Dando com a cafeteira na pia
ela escuta o reproche dos anjos, e fita
o céu desgrenhado para além de jardins impecáveis.
Não faz mais de uma semana desde que disseram: Não tenha paciência.

Da próxima foi: Seja insaciável.
E depois: Salve-se. Aos demais, não poderá salvar.
Por vezes tem deixado a água da torneira lhe escaldar o braço,
um fósforo queimar-lhe a unha do dedão,

ou posto a mão sobre a chaleira
bem na lã do vapor. São provavelmente anjos
posto que já nada a magoa, excetuando
a areia de cada manhã indo de encontro aos olhos.


Uma mulher pensante dorme com monstros.
O bico que a agarra, ela se torna. E a Natureza,
este ainda cômodo, destampado baú
cheio de tempora e mores
enche-se de tudo: …………… as flores de laranjeira cobertas de orvalho,
os contraceptivos, os terríveis seios
de Boadiceia sob orquídeas e cabeças chatas de raposa.

Duas belas mulheres, trancadas em discussão,
ambas orgulhosas, argutas, sutis, ouço que gritam
por sobre a maiólica e os cacos de vidro
como Fúrias encurraladas para longe de suas presas:
A discussão ad feminam, todos os velhos punhais
que enferrujaram em minhas costas, o seu adentro
ma semblable, ma soeur!


Conhecendo-se bem demais uma na outra
seus dons sem puro desfrute, mas espinhos
a agulha afiada contra uma ponta de escárnio…
Lendo enquanto espera
aquecer o ferro,
escrevendo, Minha vida – encostada pelos cantos
naquela despensa em Amherst enquanto as geleias fervem e escumam,
ou, com maior frequência,
de olhos fitos e embicada e obstinada como uma ave,
tirando poeira a todo o triquetraque da vida cotidiana.


Dulce ridens, dulce loquens
ela depila as pernas até brilharem
como petrificadas presas de mamute.


Quando canta Corina a seu alaúde
não são dela nem letra nem música;
somente os longos cabelos descaindo-se
sobre a bochecha, somente a canção
da seda contra os joelhos,
e mesmo estes
ajustam-se nos reflexos de um olho.

Empertigada, trêmula e insatisfeita, ante
uma porta destrancada, a jaula das jaulas,
diga-nos, sua ave, sua trágica máquina –
será isto fertilisante douleur? Esmagada
pelo amor, para ti a única reação natural,
estarás acirrada a ponto
de arrombar os segredos do cofre? a Natureza,
nora, mostrou-te enfim os livros de contabilidade
que seu próprio filho sempre ignorou?


Ter neste incerto mundo alguma posição
inabalável é
da maior importância.
…………………………………….Assim escreveu
uma mulher, em parte boa e em parte audaz,
que lutou com o que não compreendia de todo.
Poucos homens a seu redor teriam feito mais,
portanto a rotularam puta, megera, engodo.


Morreis todos aos quinze anos”, disse Diderot,
mudando-se metade em lenda, metade em convenção.
No entanto, olhos sonham equivocamente
por detrás de janelas fechadas, empastadas de vapor.
Deliciosamente, tudo o que poderíamos ter sido,
tudo o que fomos – fogo, lágrimas,
espírito, gosto, ambição martirizada –
agita-se como a lembrança do adultério recusado
o seio murcho e esvaziado de nossa “meia idade”.


Não que se faça bem, mas
que se faça e ponto? Pois bem, pense
nas possibilidades! ou ignore-as para sempre.
Estes luxos da criança precoce,
a querida inválida do Tempo –
abdicaríamos, minhas caras, se nos fosse dado?
Nossa praga foi também nossa sinecura:
mero talento nos bastava –
brilho em rascunhos e fragmentos.

Não mais suspirem, minhas senhoras.
………………………………………………………..O tempo é macho
e em suas taças bebe ao belo.
Divertidas pelo galanteio, ouvimos
enquanto nos louvam as mediocridades,
indolência lida como abnegação,
desleixo lido como intuição refinada,
cada deslize perdoado, o único crime sendo
estampar uma sombra demasiado notável
ou sumariamente destruir o molde.

Para isso, a solitária,
o gás lacrimogênio, os estilhaços.
Poucas pleiteam este tipo de honra.


ela posterga sua chegada, que lhe deve parecer
tão pouco clemente quanto a própria história.
A mente cheia ao vento, vejo-a mergulhar
de seios e relanceando pelas correntezas,
tomando a luz sobre si,
pelo menos tão bela quanto qualquer menino
ou helicóptero,
…………………………………………..empertigada, chegando ainda,
suas finas hélices fazendo o ar recuar
mas sua carga
já nenhuma promessa:

1958 – 1960

(tradução de Ismar Tirelli Neto)


Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law


You, once a belle in Shreveport,
with henna-colored hair, skin like a peachbud,
still have your dresses copied from that time,
and plays a Chopin prelude
called by Cortot: “Delicious recollections
float like perfume through the memory”.

Your mind now, moldering like wedding-cake,
heavy with useless experience, rich
with suspicion, rumor, fantasy,
crumbling to pieces under the knife-edge
of mere fact. In the prime of your life.

Nervy, glowering, your daughter
wipes the teaspoons, grows another way.


Banging the coffee pot into the sink
she hears the angels chiding, and looks out
past the raked gardens to the sloppy sky.
Only a week since They said: Have no patience.

The next time it was: Be insatiable.
Then: Save yourself; others you cannot save.
Sometimes she’s let the tapstream scald her arm,
a match burn to her thumbnail,

or held her hand above the kettle’s snout
right in the wooly steam. They are probably angels,
since nothing hurts her anymore, except
each morning’s grit blowing into her eyes.

A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.
The beak that grips her, she becomes. And Nature,
that sprung-lidded, still commodious
steamer-trunk of tempora and mores
gets stuffed with it all: ………………….. the mildewed orange-flowers
the female pills, the terrible breasts
of Boadicea beneath flat foxes’ heads and orchids.

Two handsome women, gripped in argument,
each proud, subtle, I hear scream
across the cut glass and majolica
like Furies cornered from their prey:
The argument ad feminam, all the old knives
that have rusted in my back, I drive in yours,
ma semblable, ma soeur!


Knowing themselves too well in one another:
their gifts no pure fruition, but a thorn,
the prick filed sharp against a hint of scorn…
Reading while waiting
for the iron to heat,
writing, My life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
in that Amherst pantry while the jellies boil and scum,
or, more often,
iron-eyed and beaked and purposed as a bird,
dusting everything on the whatnot every day of life.

Dulce ridens, dulce loquens
she shaves her legs until they gleam
like petrified mammoth-tusk.


When to her lute Corinna sings
neither words nor music are her own;
only the long hair dipping
over her cheek, only the song
of silk against her knees
and these
adjusted in the reflection of an eye.

Poised, trembling and unsatisfied, before
an unlocked door, that cage of cages,
tell us, you bird, you tragical machine –
is this fertilisante douleur? Pinned down
by love, for you the only natural action,
are you edged more keen
to prise the secrets of the vault? has Nature shown
her household books to you, daughter-in-law,
that her son never saw?

To have in this uncertain world some stay
which cannot be undermined, is
of the utmost consequence.
………………………………………………Thus wrote
a woman, partly brave and partly good,
who fought with what she partly understood.
Few men about her would or could do more,
hence she was labeled harpy, shrew and whore.


You all die at fifteen”, said Diderot,
and turn part legend, part convention.
Still, eyes inaccurately dream
behind closed windows blankening with steam.
Deliciously, all that we might have been,
all that we were – fire, tears,
wit, taste, martyred ambition –
stirs like the memory of refused adultery
the drained and flagging bosom of our middle years.


Not that it is done well, but
that it is done at all? Yes, think
of the odds! or shrug them off forever.
This luxury of the precocious child,
Time’s precious chronic invalid, –
would we, darlings, resign it if we could?
Our blight has been our sinecure:
mere talent was enough for us –
glitter in fragments and rough drafts.

Sigh no more, ladies.
………………………………Time is male
and in his cups drinks to the fair.
Bemused by gallantry, we hear
our mediocrities over-praised,
indolence read as abnegation,
slattern thought styled intuition,
every lapse forgiven, our crime
only to cast too bold a shadow
or smash the mold straight off.

For that, solitary confinement,
tear gas, attrition shelling.
Few applications for that honor.


she’s long about her coming, who must be
more merciless to herself than history.
Her mind full to the wind, I see her plunge
breasted and glancing through the currents,
taking the light upon her
at least as beautiful as any boy
or helicopter,
…………………………………………………poised, still coming,
her fine blades making the air wince
but her cargo
no promise then:

1958 – 1960

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