Tag Archives: poetry

The arts and transformation of the self and the world: ‘Take the Lead’

Recently, I had the privilege of delivering the opening address at the launch of Louisa Punt-Fouché’s volume of poetry, ‘Ek skryf met Bloed en Bene’ (read it here), at the newly established art gallery on her and her husband, Ian Punt’s Kredouw Olive Estate, in the Swartberg. Surrounding myself and all the guests gathered there…

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The allure of Louisa Punt-Fouché’s poetry

Poetry is alluring. Who is there so insensitive among us that evocative poetic phrases would not move us? Yes, I know – there are indeed such people, but I believe that even they, when given the opportunity to learn from a gifted teacher, would develop a modicum of receptivity to poetry. Blake’s “He who binds…

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How often he’s tried to touch death

  *** “How often he’s tried to touch death”   How often he’s tried to touch death Caress the cheeks    make them familiar Wipe away flecks of blood Or crumbs off death’s chin Perhaps he should shave death’s face Use lipstick and ear rings   make the gender a man One that prefers intimacy with other…

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The loneliness of immigration

You’re not here – To Marion   I   In the storm the woods around our home are bewildered, The leaves snarling, tearing at the end of their leashes. You’ve been away for a few days. In this wind an arching, rustling autumn Of whistling twigs, blades and stalks Rip the guts out of the…

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Celebrating the language of stars in the wake of the supermoon

The earliest hanzi, stars are a language to master before dawn. Quick – before they trickle away, leaving everything hushed and open-mouthed. This is why your fingers come together in a woven calligraphy, to catch and caress prayers like polished stones. Your fingers know the twinkling leaves in the trees around you are synonyms for…

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Sacredness, antiphons and transplanting a lemon tree

A certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house…   The silence is all-consuming as I work with spade and hands. As if from far away, I hear my own breath deep in my body, deep in the caves of woodland braided with the smell of sea. Waves nearly splash on their shadows. I…

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You say I’m not African – but that’s where I’m from?

… And my parents were also born and raised in South Africa? Those were the questions running through my mind during an encounter with a senior member of the English Department, Julia*, at a university here in Auckland where I was studying in 2014. We were pleasantly discussing possible PhD courses I could look at…

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Ethics of poetic ethnicities

By David wa Maahlamela How I wish I could, like many, pretend that the ethics of poetry are engraved on a rock somewhere at the centre of the global village — an assumption that downplays the fact that one’s domicile, environment and experience directly informs his literary outlook. The poetry landscape in South Africa is…

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Truth: Ruminations on a photograph

By Dr Thirusha Naidu TRUTH Ruminations on a photograph of a woman and her malnourished child at the Apartheid Museum Johannesburg, South Africa Standing amidst signs proclaiming her “Yesterday’s TRUTH” Pot-bellied, gasp-eyed child slung across her hip A white ’n black portrait against a brick wall Strewn, like gold dust onto mine-dumps, from early eGoli…

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The weird, warm hospitality in Chinese toilet signs

I stared in awe and envy at the large sign above the public loo. “Come, easy go in rushing”. Me being me, the Freudian meaning first sparkled through my mind: “Take it slowly as you build up to a climax”. Well, I knew the sign could not have that steamy meaning even though loads of…

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