Saturday, 20 July 2013

What I'm reading: Kobus Mooman

Poet Kobus Moolman was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1964. He has been awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize, the Pansa award for best drama, the Dalro poetry prize and the South African Literary Award for poetry. He teaches creative writing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. He has just released his latest collection of poems, titled Left Over (Dye Hard Press).

I’ve just spent three months at Rhodes University as their Mellon Writer in Residence, which not only meant lots of time staring into the blue yonder, writing new pieces and fragments of pieces, but also plenty time to read and to amass new titles.

I finished Thomas Bernhard’s Gargoyles, a brutal and austere book about a rural doctor who takes his son with him on his daily rounds, but filled with extraordinary passages like: “The darkness is cold when the head is switched off.” Then Roberto Bolano’s Monsieur Pain. Bolano is one of my favourite writers, though I admit I have not yet pushed through his 2666. After Bolano there was Sleeper’s Wake by Cape Town writer Alistair Morgan. The first half of the book was excellent – the opening chapters winded me. His prose is clean, cold and beautiful. Then I read lots – and I do mean lots – of poetry, and discovered many new authors. The American Alice Notley, for one. Her new and selected poems, Grave of Light. Extraordinary! Read lots of Louise Gluck, and Marianne Borusch, Mina Loy and Jorie Graham.

Then a friend gave me Anne Carson’s An Oresteia, her translation of three Greek tragedies. I’ve only read her introduction to Agamemnon so far that begins thus: “It’s like watching a forest fire.”

(Published in Cape Times, July 12, 2013)

No comments: