Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Daginne Aignend responds

My name is Inge Wesdijk and I live in the Netherlands. My pseudonym Daginne Aignend is created by my birth name is Dingena (Inge) namely Dingena mingled up twice. In the beginning, I was a bit insecure about my writing and thought I'd better hide behind a pseudonym, and now I am quite comfortable with Daginne. I don't like to say much about my past because that's what it is 'the past'. In ‘the now’ I'm happy with my partner James, my cat, two rabbits and two turtle doves. I'm really grateful my mom is still around, she's the most wonderful person I know. I decided to be a vegetarian 10 years ago because eating dead animals repelled me more and more. I don't judge anyone who likes to eat meat but for me, it's a no-go. I'm not a vegan, I eat cheese, eggs and honey which is also declined by the vegan movement. I used to read fantasy books, but I don't have much time to read these days because I was the Poetry/Fiction editor at Degenerate Literature, which Ezine is on hiatus, and at the moment I'm the Poetry Editor for Whispers. These journals are quite the opposite to each other but for me the love for writing counts. Not so long ago, I started Friend in Poetry on my 'Fun Project' website www.daginne.com where I post poems from poet friends. I like Heavy Metal and Hard Rock but I can't write while listening to music, it distracts me. In my younger days, I was a singer in a local Rockband, some unique audio can be listened to on my website. I don't think someone is interested that my color is blue and my favorite vegetable is spinach, so I leave it at here for the moment.

DV: Can you recall your beginnings as a poet? What inspired you?

DA: I always have been writing. As a teenager, I wrote my first poem. Back then it was to ventilate my teeny feelings. Later I wrote mostly nonsense rhyme, like limericks, and unfortunately, I lost my little notebook where I scribbled these down. In those days I wrote in my native language, Dutch. About 6 years ago I started to write in English to reach a broader audience and I'm inspired by what I see, hear and feel. I wrote once a poem about an earthworm because I saw the poor thing struggle on the sidewalk, it inspired me.

DV:  Would you mind sharing it?

DA: I wrote this poem in Dutch when I was 15 years old. It's the one poem I still have from that time. My poem, both in Dutch and the English translation (the translation has been published by Creative Inspirations):


Ik voel me als een vlinder
voortgedreven door de wind.
Gaande van bloem tot bloem,
hopende dat ik mijn geluk vind.

Maar bij één bloem kom ik telkens weer.
Aangetrokken als door een magneet.
Veilig tussen de bladerkrans.
Waar ik mijn zorgen snel vergeet.

Och, lievelingsbloem van mijn hart,
waarom blijf ik niet bij jou.
Waarvoor vlieg ik telkens weg?
waar blijft die eeuwige trouw.


I feel like a butterfly, floating on air,
drifting from flower to flower,
trying to find happiness, somewhere.

Attracted by a magic magnetic power,
safe between the tender petals,
I always return to one special flower.

Why do I still have the need to fly away?
Sweet flower of my heart, I really hope
I will find the peace to stay with you, one day

DV: How old were you when you translated it? Could you describe the experience of recreating something from your youth? Did you feel like a human continuum or like two different people?

I recently translated the poem into English. I still can relate to the girl I once was. I was the butterfly, flirting with the boys and couldn't make my mind up which one I liked best, although this one boy ... I remember my sixteenth birthday when I was together with him and received a birthday cake from one boy who worked at the bakery store and a bouquet of roses from another. I didn't know if I should be embarrassed or honored. It was a youth love and it didn't last, the memories however did. I'm an adult now but my being is still the same except for the flirting, I'm totally happy with my James.

DV: When I taught Koreans one of my better students told me she had a different personality when she used English, and Emperor Charles V said that having more than one language was like having multiple souls. Do you detect differences in your Dutch and English poems?

DA: No, not at all. Why should my thoughts or mind work differently in another language? Of course, my poetry changed during the years, you could call that 'experienced adulthood'. Perhaps if I have to learn another language with totally different characters like in Korea, I would get confused but my soul stays the same.

DV: That's a very pragmatic, matter-of-fact response, not a "romantic" one at all. I just came across a statement by William S. Burroughs: "I am looking for the books. In dreams I sometimes find the books where it is written and I may bring back a few phrases that unwind like a scroll. Then I write as fast as I can type, because I am reading, not writing." How does that compare to your experience of writing?

DA: Duane, do you want a response from me or an invented me: a romantic poetic soul, fluttering between the fragrant lilacs into the shades of moonlights? 

DV: Whatever response you feel is most appropriate or honest.

DA: So, I must be a "down to earth poet." Fragments, I have dozens of scribbled fragments. I have always pen and paper beside my bed. Sometimes I wake up, have a fragment of a poem and write it down. Next day, I look at my notes and often think, what did I mean by that! These late moments of inspiration don't make any sense. I should keep on writing that moment but in the middle of the night I don't have the energy. But I process these lines somehow, somewhere in a poem or short story. I always get inspired by myself again

DV: I'm a lazy sort of poet. I don't keep a notebook or write on a schedule. But when the inspiration comes upon me I can't let it go until I "complete" the poem. That has resulted in lots of sleepless nights. How often do you think your fragments metamorphose into actual poems? How long does that process usually take? 

DA: I think about 80% though probably another poem is written than my original thought when I scribbled it down. But I mostly see a subject for a poem in my scrawls and when inspired I write a poem in one time. I can't tell you how much time I need, somewhere between half an hour - an hour I guess, because sometimes I have to look up the proper spelling. It can take quite a while between making a poem from one of my fragments. Sometimes I read a line written down half a year ago and start to write but it also happens I write a poem the next day, so no stable pattern.

DV: Why do you write?

DA: Because I have to. It's an urge and when I don't give in I feel restless. It helped me also in the darker times of my life, to get my thoughts straight and write the pain away. But I don't want to write only about troublesome situations, my poems are sometimes lighthearted, sometimes ironic, sarcastic even, and can be critical about the injustice in this world. I recently started to write flash fiction, I think it's challenging but I still have a lot to learn in this area. 

DV: Does poetry have a future?

DA: Sure, it does! People will be always fascinated by the magic of words. Poetry takes you away to another place, another world even. A good poem is a little mini story which will tickle the imagination and/or the curiosity of the reader. I call these poems 'Muse Me poems.' Though my 'Muse Me poem' can be totally different than your 'Muse Me poem' if you know what I mean. It's a matter of personal taste and vibes if a poem will move you. As in so many things in life: I might like a big piece of chocolate cake while you fancy hot spicy chicken wings for example.

DV: So what kind of a poet are you? The sweet chocolately one or the hot spicy winger? Can you give us a text to demonstrate your identity?
DA: In writing, I'm both but as comes to food I'm a vegetarian and I don't like too spicy food. An example of a sweet poem with a bite (in rhyme) below. It's not a masterpiece but when I read it, I have to smile. I write mostly free verse, it gives me more spiritual freedom and opportunities to ventilate my feelings


So prince charming
Has fallen off  his horse
And without any warning
He changed love into force

A rose with a poisoned thorn
So now everybody knows
That this guy is a bloody unicorn
Who likes to piss rainbows.

DV: Quite charming, actually. It's one of those twisty things that makes people laugh even as it causes them to think. Was this one of your first Dutch-to-English transition poems or a later development?
DA: No, not a translation, I wrote this poem with my 'English' mind. The first poems I wrote in English were all in rhyme, I was convinced a poem needed to rhyme. I was totally astounded that something like free verse exists. A world of words opened at that moment

DV: Ah! Daginne recapitulates history! Before Walt Whitman, poets and readers thought rhyme essential (or at least rhythm, as in blank verse), it was part of the standard definition of poetry. Although I am not enamored of his work, Whitman certainly opened a "world of words" to the point where most serious modern poets rarely use rhymes. Do you recall precisely the moment of your conversion to free verse? Do you still have your first free verse specimen?

DA: I remember I browsed the poetry journal on the internet and thought, how could it be that most of the poems don't rhyme. I asked a poet friend and he explained that nowadays both are allowed: rhyme and free verse. Later I found out there are jillion of other poetry forms and though sometimes it's fun to write a particular poetry form I mostly think it's too restrictive for my spontaneity. I can't recall exactly which poem I wrote first in free verse but this poem is one of the first and has been published by Creative Talents Unleashed

A smudgy bottle

He died today
A shriveled being between stained sheets
His dignity evaporated by a smudgy bottle
A leftover of some indefinable alcoholic liquid
The smell of irrevocable decay
He used to be an inspired visionary
A dreamer, he could change the world
Propagating  humanity, decency
Every setback only encouraged him
An inducement to restore lost hope

He died today
They buried him in an anonymous grave
No one came to show him respect
An insignificant unloved outworn person
His inheritance, a smudgy unlabeled bottle
With some indefinable alcoholic liquid in it

DV: Old habits die hard I guess. Even here there are echoes of end rhyme (today/decay/grave, visionary/decency). Of course, in this example, the mix of traditional order and modern freedom in verse reinforces the breakdown you write about. Well done! After glancing at the entire history of daginne-aignend-verse, from adolescence to the present, and from rhyme to free, this is probably a good place to stop, unless you have something else to say. Thanks for participating!

DA: There’s one thing I’d like to add because I heartfelt agree with the saying: ‘Carpe Diem.’ Thank you for interviewing me, it was FUN.

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