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[经济学人] [2011.08.20] The known and the unknown已知的和未知的









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发表于 2011-9-1 14:15 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Harold Pinter’s poetry

The known and the unknown

A celebration of a bullish bard

Teacher’s pet 教师的宠儿

WELL before he died of cancer in 2008, Harold Pinter knew he had earned a reputation for being “enigmatic, taciturn, terse, prickly, explosive and forbidding”. This intensity can be felt in his plays, which often consider the ambiguity of language and the tension between what is said and what is left unspoken. But from his very first scribbles, Pinter was also a poet. And while his plays were about other people, other places, born on the page, his poems were often about himself, his own anger, love and pain. Sometimes, such as when he wrote about Lady Antonia Fraser, his wife of nearly 30 years (“My dancer my bride”), his poetry turned sweet.


“Reading the poems was a revelation,” says Julian Sands (pictured), whose “A Celebration of Harold Pinter” is at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until August 21st. Amid the jamboree, Mr Sands’s portrait strikes a mature note. This one-man production, directed by John Malkovich, a friend and fellow Pinterphile, features anecdotes, personal stories and a clutch of poems. The plays are hardly mentioned. For Mr Sands the thrill is in giving voice to Pinter’s lesser-known work. The effect is enlightening. For a man who dramatised the obfuscating power of language, these poems ring with a remarkable sincerity.


On a bare stage with a couple of heavily annotated books, Mr Sands is like an eager pupil in a natty suit, charismatic yet nervous. He opens the show with a poem, powerful enough to be read twice: “I know the place./It is true./Everything we do/Corrects the space/Between death and me/And you.” Written in 1975, Pinter’s words hang in the air, a charged distillation of his life’s work. What were his plays if not a mix of false bravado, mortal dread and the struggle for human connection?

光秃秃的舞台上只有两三本书,书上有大量的注解,詹德斯象一名热切的小学生,穿着整齐的西装、充满魅力,但也紧张不安。他用一首诗开场,这首诗太强有力,将读两次:“我知道那个地方。/那么真实。/我们做着一切/修正着空白/在死亡和我之间的 /和你之间的/”这首诗写于1975年,品特的诗句余音袅袅,是对他一生工作的高度提炼。他的戏剧假如没有了不实的虚张声势、极度的恐惧和争取人际接触这三者的揉合会怎样呢?

Like his plays, Pinter’s finer (and often later) poems are as spare as they are complex. He was notoriously pugnacious, but Mr Sands shows he could also be warm and even funny. He imbues the shortest poem, a 1986 homage to an English Test cricketer, with a wistful punch: “I saw Len Hutton in his prime/Another time/another time”. Pinter wrote poems about his cancer (“I and my tumour dearly fight./Let’s hope a double death is out.”) and to vent his political anger, particularly about the invasion of Iraq: “There’s no escape/the big pricks are out./They’ll fuck everything in sight/Watch your back.” (With keen comic timing, Mr Sands adds: “That poem is called ‘Democracy’”).


But Pinter’s most poignant works are his love poems. With insight from his wife’s 2010 memoir, “Must You Go?”, Mr Sands gives shape to the lilt of works like “Paris” from 1975: “Afternoon leans, silently./She dances in my life./The white day burns.” Pinter’s very last poem, written in 2007, reaches out for one final grasp: “Remember that when I am dead/You are forever alive in my heart and my head”.


Mr Sands learned of the poems only in 2005, when Pinter asked him to read a few at a charity event (Pinter’s throat cancer was by then too advanced for him to read them himself, but he worked with Mr Sands to get the right tempo and pitch). After Pinter died, Mr Sands performed the poems for some friends, including Mr Malkovich, who thought the tribute could be adapted for a larger audience. Edinburgh marks this show’s premiere; in September they will take a slightly longer version on a national tour. Perhaps more performances will help Mr Sands to loosen up—he is undoubtedly passionate about the material, but hasn’t yet made it his own. Still, “A Celebration of Harold Pinter” is a stirring tribute to a man who lived boldly, and the trove of work—some of it overlooked—that he left behind.



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发表于 2011-9-1 17:01 | 显示全部楼层
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