Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Melville Poetry Festival Promises More Than Just Words

Photo: Rene Bohnen
The second Melville Poetry Festival will transform the Joburg suburb into a buzz of contemporary cultural cool as iconic Seventh Street with its restaurants and bars become a hive of all things poetic from 12 to 14 October.

This year’s event received a significant boost with sponsorship from Die Dagbreek Trust  and others. This has allowed it to develop a broad programme where music, art and poetry will intersect in “a festival of the poetic,” says organiser Hans Pienaar. The slogan is “it’s more than words”.

Artists such as Willem Boshoff, Hennie Meyer, Danie Marais and Diek Grobler will contribute visual interpretations of the poetic idea. There will be exhibitions of art works incorporating text and poetry and various art installations.

Music will feature prominently including through the hugely popular slam poetry platform, Oopmond, which pits poets and musicians against each other. At least two Oopmond sessions are on the cards. Negotiations are continuing with up and coming young bands that specialise in more poetic lyrics. A programme of lieder will be offered alongside items bordering on street genres such as kwaito.

Poets from all over the country will take part. These include Kobus Moolman, Michelle McGrane, Khulile Nxumalo, Mxolosi Nyezwa, Allan Kolski Horwitz, Gary Cummiskey, Tumelo Khoza, Gail Dendy, Arja Salafranca, Peter Horn, David Chislett, Afurakan, Alan Finlay, Hans Pienaar, Mphutlane wa Bofelo, Phillippa de Villiers and Lionel Murcott. 

Poets who work specifically in Afrikaans include Loftus Marais, Rene Bohnen, Andries Bezuidenhout, Toast Coetzer, Danie Marais, Johann Myburgh, Ian Raper, Mellet Moll, Christo van Staden, Charl-Pierre Naude, Corne Coetzee, Jo Prins, Ronel Nel and De Waal Venter. .

Several of the participants will use the festival to launch their most recent anthologies whilst open mike sessions will allow festival-goers to give their own efforts a bash.

The programme will also include panel discussions on contemporary sociocultural issues ranging from the crisis in education to the concept of “lojale verset” or “loyal resistance”.  Two chill-out lounges will provide non-stop playlists of documentaries on poetry and poets as well as lyrical songs.

According to Pienaar, the Melville Poetry Festival intends to provide a multilingual and cultural showcase for poets from all walks of life.

 “Crossover is the driving force for the festival. We want to show that poetry is not an activity for hermits, but something that we all use as daily as part of using language. We envisage a space in which kwaito and Boerneef will jostle together to entertain with the same effortless ease.”

Poets and other performers or artists wishing to get involved with the Melville Poetry Festival are invited to contact Hans Pienaar on email: or mobile: 082 447 6404.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Looking good! I am really looking forward to being part of this!