A new South African website for poetry went up a few months ago called AVBOB POETRY. I wasn’t quite sold to the idea, but in the end I submitted 26 poems (I think) and a handful got accepted. Not sure if that’s a good rate or not, but a foot in the door is better than being completely shut out, right?
The poems had to deal with themes of love, birth, death and hope.
I’m still finding it tricky navigating the site, but my poems are up and free to read.
You have to search by title. So here they are (I can’t give links to each poem, you need to enter the title in the search box):
Window of Days
My Brother Lives on the Other Side
Falling in Reverse
Would You Hate Birds for Crossing Borders?
Song for Liesl
PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL for Wings of Smoke
Please send me a request if you wish to read this sampler.
Wings of Smoke is available worldwide through The Onslaught Press website, on Amazon and, for South African readers, through me (leave a message here).
I also put up an audio recording of the set on Soundcloud.com.
My country of birth just had major national elections. I wasn’t there to participate, to feel all the excitement, the dread, the many and varied hopes that gushed out of people I know and many I will never meet. So it feels almost selfish that I share this bit of personal news. Someone felt my work was worthy of being read and gave me some room to express myself.
I don’t really know what to say most times when asked highly personal questions. Nichole L. Reber threw some really tough ones and I hope I didn’t sound like a tap left running until the bucket overflowed. Please visit the Ploughshares blog and maybe try to leave a message here or there if you have any feedback – complaints, curses, blessings, or whatever reaction you may have.
Mostly I really just want to thank each reader who has given my work a chance. Maraming salalamat, sa inyong lahat. Nichole, I hope I didn’t disappoint with my long-winded answers.
EDIT… In the interview a particular poem was mentioned, “Ghosts of Sweaty Air,” which was originally published in GUD Magazine. The GUD website allows you to read the first few lines. The whole poem is in my book Alien to Any Skin. If you’re interested and nice (hahaha), then leave a note here, I’ll shoot the poem to you.
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
I’ve been invited as feature poet at the Cape Town Central Library’s Poetry Circle this Saturday, 30 January 2016. They even put up an invitation on their Facebook page, which made me nervous.
Here is the LINK to the public announcement.
I told my online poetry critique group my fear of facing an audience that might not know me. Worse, what if nobody turned up? Well at least there’ll be refreshments. “More for me!!!!” (hahahaha). One kind member of the group said this:
Time for one of my favorite stories. I tell it all the time. People start nodding their heads finishing off the lines because they know it so well. But here goes anyway. I’ll probably tell it again.
It’s about Abbott and Costello, the famous comedy team. Bud Abbott cheated on his taxes and was in trouble with the IRS for owing back taxes. Lou Costello at this time was dead. So Abbott sent out a nationwide request to his loyal fans to help him out with donations. After all that trouble, he only got about 2 hundred dollars. A wise-ass reporter asked him to comment on his so-called fans donating so little. Mr. Abbott said, “It was damn nice of them.” So it’s damn nice of those 7 people or however many finally do show up.
Seriously, though. I do love reading my work out loud, particularly those that work better that way than just flat on a piece of paper. I know most people who read this little blog are not even in Cape Town – or South Africa, for that matter. So feel free to give me a shout and wish me luck. Yes, I’m nervous but I’m also very excited. I hope not to waste anyone’s time at the very least.
If you’ve ever read and like any of my poetry, it would be nice to hear which ones you think I should include for the reading. Makes the whole effort less solitary.
Thanks for accompanying me on this journey.
It’s great to see two more poems appear on the fantastic site AERODROME. I wrote “Wood and String” after a video prompt from an international competition at Poetry International. It received honorable mention. Now it has its own page shared with another poem that has been around since… 2010. 🙂 I hope you enjoy both of them.
HERE IS THE LINK
image from wikipedia
Thank you to the editors of Aerodrome!
The Ghost in the Glass
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.
And next year’s words await another voice.”
– T.S. Eliot
He took two photographs of himself
as if he were a ghost trapped in glass.
Shirtless, the sun striking him
directly from above, he could feel
ultraviolet rays penetrating his skin.
A fool foolishly marking the last day
of another year in a country where he remains
alien, though not on paper. He Skyped
with his family back home the day before
with his webcam turned off.
A glimpse of his mother on her birthday
was all he asked for, her sight
having left her years ago. He saw everyone
there peering through the tiny lens
of his sister’s tablet. No one saw him.
That seems to be the only logic behind Zuma’s axing of Nhlanhla Nene as Finance Minister. From the broken pieces of this ship he’s surely sinking, Zuma promises to build a new South Africa – perhaps with China cheering him on.
The announcement came just as the so-called 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children was coming to a dismal closure (from 25 November to 10 December, Human Rights Day). Zuma tells us to take his word for it, to trust him though he fails to explain why someone who has stood to fight corruption by taking on the untouchable Dudu Myeni is being shown the back door with the lights turned off down a dark alley. Maybe Nene is just one more obstacle removed so the Russian nuclear deal can push through. Will there be anyone bold enough to take on the shady dealings with petroleum corporations (led by Shell) and the proposed (already approved under the table?) fracking of the Karoo?
Zuma, even before he stepped into those big shoes Mandela left (and Mbeki who was ordered to go barefoot), set the local newspapers (and got international coverage, too!) on fire for months with the story of an alleged rape of a friend’s daughter. One has to remember he took a shower. Then there was the Schabir Shaik trial which magically left Zuma unscathed and apparently even revitalized, no, emboldened. The blood from Marikana miners didn’t seem to taint him either. The famed firepool of Nkandla must have some magical powers (interesting links here).
Is it just us who are mad to imagine there is even a sinking ship? All along we’ve witnessed things that were too hard to believe. Yet they keep happening.
My very good friend who showed me around Durban back in November, a day after the 2015 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, said Zuma is considered by his countless supporters to be a prophet. Perhaps there is no crisis. Only non-believers.
It has to be one of the longest title for a poem – or at least a poem I’ve written. It was first published in Our Own Voice in September 2012. Today I remembered making an audio recording of me reading it. Click HERE or the photo to listen to it. I know it’s pretty rough and Kermit the Frog doesn’t like imitators. I am posting this recording as I send it to my mother back home who is very ill. I wonder if she can still hear me.
Photo found on Wikimedia by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html. I have a photograph of the same type of bird, one that sat on the bricks by the kitchen window. One day I hope to find it for sharing.
I need to tell you how everything went on the night of 4 November 2014 at the Goethe Institut in Johannesburg. But it’s going to take me some time. I also want to tell you a lot of other things that made the brief trip way better than I ever expected.
For now, I want to congratulate my new friends and fellow winners of the 2014 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award – Rochelle Jacobs and Thabo Jijana! You guys are amazing people and I hope to meet up with you soon again.
Here is a LINK to the press release from the fantastic people of Jacana Media.
And this was my home made pin for the event, up close.