Saturday, November 12, 2016

Werup believed that poetry had a task – Expressen

Victor Malm remembers the poet and estradören Jacques Werup.

"Writing is a private matter / about something that can never remain / just a private matter," wrote Jacques Werup in the collection "the Time in Malmö on the earth," from 1974, and summed up so, probably unconsciously, the characteristics of his poetry: an intensely-portrayed feeling of being alive, a poem transformed the experience of living in one place, at one time, where for each one to enter into, be a part of. The poem continues: "thus I write Kastellgatan 8 / but mean the World, it’s not as easy as it seems, / all people are not loyal to / their starting point, major / words sprinkled over our unprotected heads.".

When I was reached by the news that the great poet had passed away, 71 years old, I picked up the book, started browsing, and was struck by how strongly it had affected me. Not in the way you usually mean when you say so. No, on a smaller, almost unnoticeable way. I suddenly remembered how many times I, after long afternoons at the library, has passed away at the red brick house on the Kastellgatan 8. Stood there for a moment, wondered which of all the windows that Werup once lived his life behind.

Jacues Werup believed in the word and in poetry.Photo: Per Nilsson

I had, and still has, a sense that all who write and engage with literature and lives in Stockholm, but in Werup, I found a poet that depicted my vardagsvärld, the only thing I knew to the look at. And I see it still through his eyes: "Snow has fallen on the Swedish Malmö where welfare is already / who drifts between the real and unreal / it is nasty".

As a poet, he was influenced by the Gunnar Ekelöf, Tomas Tranströmer and, perhaps most importantly, Karl Vennberg. He was also a huge stunning entertainer, a jazzmusicerande poet who gladly pulled out the saxophone and kept the box and in life, always serious, always with the so-called twinkle in the eye. And he thought on the word, on poetry, on its ability to keep the reality alive, give the days meaning – a cliche, perhaps, a thing they say but hardly think on, much less comply with.

But for Werup was the real. He believed sincerely that poetry had a task. And he was the obedient. I know that.


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