Monday, 31 December 2012

A Moving Target - Encounters with William Burroughs

Published by Beat Scene Press, Coventry, UK.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon

First published in French in 1940, this translation was published by Digit Books, London, 1962.

Gail Dendy’s vivid and exhaustive sketch of life: a review of Closer Than That, by John Eppel

When I first read Gail Dendy’s poems I discerned something dance-like in their cadences, seldom continuous like the above examples, but sporadic, light-footed. After a few more readings, I discerned her technique: the strategic placement within prosaic, barely scannable phrases, of three-syllable feet. In “The Apprentice”, a re-telling of the creation story, she employs dactyls: “moistened the”; “felt how it”; “fashioned a”; “breath from my”; “this was the”; “called it a”; “sooner had”, and so on...Read more here

Saturday, 08 December 2012

Thursday, 29 November 2012

This is Tomorrow Calling

Gary Cummiskey in conversation with Haidee Kruger at the launch of her new collection, The Reckless Sleeper

Haidee Kruger's second poetry collection The Reckless Sleeper is published by Modjaji Books, Cape Town. The launch was held at LoveBooks, Melville, Johannesburg, on November 29, 2012. Photos by Arja Salafranca.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Friday, 16 November 2012

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Transit 25: A little magazine of the Beat Generation

Issue number 25 includes poems by Janine Pommy Vega, Joanna McClure, Diane di Prima and Neeli Cherkovski, as well prose pieces on John Montgomery, Ed Dorn, Burroughs, an interview with Aram Saroyan plus Lew Welch's review of Phil Whalen's On Bear's Head from the San Francisco Chronicle, 1969. Published by Beat Scene.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Lenny Lianne's Passport to Poetry: South African poets I: Gail Dendy

When I was in South Africa in May, the Cape Town newspaper printed a brief review of Gail Dendy’s new book, Closer Than That (Johannesburg: Dye Hard Press).  Not only did the review declare, “Here is a poet who seems to not take herself that seriously, but who takes her craft very seriously indeed” but also identified Gail Dendy as a “master…of poems that tip the reader deliciously off balance with their startling, almost tangible, plays with images.”  I was intrigued....Read more here

Drawing Twenty January 2002

Monday, 05 November 2012

Planet Noise - Liam O'Gallagher

Published by the Nova Broadcast Press, San Francisco, 1969 

Saturday, 03 November 2012

Grand Ecart - Bruno Sourdin

Poems by poet and collagist Bruno Sourdin, published by Polder 78, 1994

Mail art envelope - Bruno Sourdin

Friday, 02 November 2012

Playback, Raymond Chandler

Chandler's final novel, first published by Hamish Hamilton in 1958. This edition was published by Penguin in 1971.

Thursday, 01 November 2012

Sun Waster

Protest poetry, by Kulani Nkuna

Allen Kolski Horwitz has to be one of the most erudite writers in post-apartheid South Africa.

Horwitz is an incisive observer of the South African political and social condition through his creative works which include plays like Comrade Babble, poetry, and fiction.

He has produced works with the Botsotso Jesters poetry performance group and Botsotso Publishing, which featured voices that seldom get heard in the mainstream.

He has also just released his latest collection of short fiction, Meditations Of A Non-White White, which he describes as “stories that scrape away superficial assumptions; bringing to life a multitude of characters whose issues and concerns have dominated post-1994 South Africa but are in many respects timeless.

"They probe the limitations of middle-class norms and blinkered identities; they grapple with the diverse 

experiences of those living beyond privileged ghettos”.

Another new release is a book of poetry called There Are Two Birds At My Window.

While he is heralded as a political poet, Horwitz also casts his eye over human pleasures, desires, love and struggles.

A poem titled Drunken Need jumps out of the page on an abstract level with an interesting second line that includes the phrase, “tongue-tying muse.”

“Drunken Need is all about the inspiration to write and the intoxication associated with writing,” explains Horwitz.

“There aren’t a lot of experiences that thrill me more than writing something and then marvelling at the end product. And it is funny, because you become inarticulate about that feeling, that rush of creation,” he says.

“That was the real impulse behind this poem. It was almost like an illicit relationship – the tension between the writer and the inspiration to write.

It is at an abstract level, but it is very real to me at the same time.”

Then there are other poems, which speak of the state of South Africa since 1994 like Mzansi, My Beginning – Mzansi My End, which talks of the almost schizophrenic existence of being in South Africa as it is today.

The role of the poet in a post-struggle situation is not as prevalent as during the struggle years, but according to Horwitz, there are injustices that still have to be corrected within the current political dispensation.  

“We have lived through 18 years of the national democratic revolution, which has sharpened  economic inequalities, and instead of making progress in closing the income inequalities, those gaps have widened,” he says.

“It is astonishing that the liberation movement is in power but many people are still stuck in poverty. So my poetry still has that political context and listening to other poets like Lesego Rampolokeng and Nova Masango, you will pick up that political aspect in their work as well. Poetry is not as widespread as it was back then, but its role is still significant.”

Sales of some local authors are not particularly good, with overseas titles achieving more success (think of Fifty Shades Of Grey or the Twilight books).

Horwitz attributes this to South Africa’s disturbing lack of self-regard.

“We still have a colonial culture,” he says.

“We are still dominated by the need for approval regarding what we are doing from the outside, more specifically Europe and the United States. We don’t yet have a full sense of our own value.

“Our inner sense of worth was shattered and Biko recognised that we have not changed fundamental psychological relationships between the coloniser and the colonised.”

(Published in The Citizen, October 29,2012)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Other titles by Ray Bradbury in my library

Originally published in 1952, this edition was published by Corgi Books, UK, in 1972.

Originally published in 1957, this edition was published by Granada Publishing, UK, in 1977. 

Originally published in 1963, this edition was published by Panther Books in 1977.

I only have eyes for you, dear

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Illustrated book covers: The October Country by Ray Bradbury

The October Country by Ray Bradbury. Originally published in 1955, this edition was reprinted by the New English Library in 1973.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Drawing Nineteen January-2002

In the lead up to the Melville Poetry Festival

Back row: Eleanor Koning, Hans Pienaar, Nicky Naude, Khulile Nxumalo. Front row: Arja Salafranca, Gary Cummiskey, Allan Kolski Horwitz. From Melville-Northcliff Times. 

Drawing Eighteen January-2002

The Lost Artwork of Ah Pook is Here

Published by Beat Scene Press, Coventry, UK.

Drawing Seventeen January-2002

Monday, 08 October 2012

A review of Allan Kolski Horwitz's There are Two Birds at my Window, by Dorian Haarhoff

There is something of the archer in a poet – letting the arrow fly along the length of an arm. Horwitz’s poems land quivering in many targets.

 Arrows feature in the poems – in San rock art and in a bow drawn beyond breaking point. The 80-plus poems cover a wide range – Addis airport, whales in False Bay, hippos. There are odes to international figures – Neruda, Freud, Kazantzakis – and to South Africans – Abdullah Ibrahim, Ingrid Jonker, Josiah Madsunya – poignant poems.

Then there are the more overt offering - love poems and those that express the continued anger of the protest tradition: forced removals, maintenance courts, Steve Biko, refuges, census.  These perhaps find their strength in performance. Most poems reach their targets.    

(Published in Cape Times, September 14,2012)

Saturday, 06 October 2012

100 000 Poets for Change: Johannesburg - photos by Arja Salafranca

David Chislett

Gary Cummiskey

Gerard Rudolf

Khulile Nxumalo

Rene Bohnen

Alan Finlay

Arja Salafranca

Hans Pienaar

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

Rene Bohnen

Corne Coetzee 

Friday, 05 October 2012

100 000 Poets for Change - Johannesburg: photos by Rene Bohnen

Alan Finlay

Arja Salafranca

Corne Coetzee 

David Chislett

Gary Cummiskey

Gary Cummiskey

Gerard Rudolf

Hans Pienaar

Khulile Nxumalo

Khulile Nxumalo

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

Rene Bohnen

Some of the audience

Hans Pienaar, David Chislett, Corne Coetzee, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, with audience