quarta-feira, 28 de abril de 2010

Vladimir Khlebnikov por Brodsky

Russian is a highly inflected language. A word in Russian gets changed not only by gender, number, and its grammatical function in the sentence; it is also modified by prefixes, suffixes, and infixes. This is what everyone does, but Khlebnikov went to town with it. At times his verse sounds like what birds presumably heard from St. Francis. Under his pen, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions undergo mutations as mind-boggling as those of a cell hit by immense radiation. Beautiful or grotesque, the results are often memorable, if only because the trophy of a word's meaning is paid for with the casualties of his mutilated grammar.
About 80 percent of Khlebnikov's verse and prose are utterly unpalatable and incomprehensible. The remaining 20 percent are diamonds of an unparalleled splendor, although the trouble of extracting them from the mud heap of the rest is formidable. For that reason, and not because of Khlebnikov's anarchic cosmic worldview, the above-mentioned six volumes were never reprinted in the course of the last 40 years. He is to be represented by a selection, and this is what Nicholai Stepanov, one of the most authoritative Khlebnikov scholars, produced in Russia in 1960. This edition contained approximately 80 pieces of poetry, of various lengths, put in chronological order. A similar attempt is made now by Paul Schmidt, in English, apparently in a far more haphazard manner.
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