Thursday, 25 August 2016

Coming soon... Rustum Kozain

We are dekighted to welcome Rustum back to our village. A child of the Winelands, he grew up in Paarl, before studying English. Aftre travelling to the USA as a Fullbright Scholar, he returned to lecture at UCT. He has won the Ingrid Jonker and Olive Schreiner Prizes for Poetry, and insists that writing poetry is a sincere, necessary matter and no casual affair. His honesty, perceptiveness and clarity, allied to his skilful use of language make for exhilarating reading.
We are looking forward to hearing his words once again!

for S. Ben-Tov

Afternoon sun of Ohio’s August
daubs the classroom with early rust.

Eight of us bristle, apprenticed
to nail the world to its sentence.

Poet’s poet, our teacher hands us
a copy each of Heaney’s ‘Nerthus’.

A chill creeps in me as she reads.
From Heaney-soil, that concrete dark,

an unseen ash-fork staked in bog:
my first portents of winter north.


We have all heard the name
but not Heaney’s Great Chain of Verbs.

We stall. And do not fathom
the quiet mesh of kesh and loaning

that lull and push of middle-voice
that verb say

the long-grained never static
of the poem’s non-finite aesthetic

© 2005, Rustum Kozain
From: This Carting Life

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

"Poetry in McGregor" this weekend 26 to 28 August 2016.

A very important part of our event is our School Programme. This will take place on Thursday and Friday morning and over 650 children are involved. Dave Magner is the organiser of this event and he is to be congratulated for putting together another fabulous programme this year. Children from both our local and farm schools have been invited to attend and transport by bus arranged for those schools beyond walking distance. A large number of volunteers from McGregor will be facilitating these sessions. Our grateful thanks to all of them too.

For your interest, here is the programme.

Thursday 25th at various times throughout the morning, Dave will read poetry to the children attending the Waldorf School. This is our English programme and will take place at the Waldorf School itself.

Friday 26th - die Afrikaans se program:
  • 09h30 - Graad 1 en 2 – Poppekas vertoning by die NGK - 45 minute
  • 09h30- Graad 3 Storie tyd, by die Breede Sentrum -1 uur
  • 09h30 - Graad 4 en 5 - Gedigte voorlesing by die McGregor Biblioteek - 1 uur
  • 10h30 - Graad 6, 7 en 8 - Ons Ko Vandaan. Vertoning by die NGK - 45 minute
  • 11h30 - Almal by die NGK. Vertoning deur Next Step Dance Company - 25 minute

Our thanks and appreciation to the Graham Beck Trust who have provided the sponsorship for this event. This has enabled us to hire the necessary transport and provide snacks for the children to enjoy afterwards.

Coming soon... Frank Malaba

Poetry in McGregor is delighted to welcome Frank Malaba to our village this year. A native of Zimbabwe, Frank has been a vocal advocate for Gay Rights in Africa. He was formerly a producer of Radio Today Outspoken, the only LGBTI Talk show in Africa. Frank is a courageous voice, and is admirably suited to our theme for 2016, Voices on Fire. We hope his voice will be widely heard this coming weekend!

My heart rains in smithereens like red confetti falling
From the crown of cumulonimbus heights.
Its shredded pieces fall in dizzy circles while
Trying to find the perfect landing on uneven ground.
My eyes are ajar like shutters to a vacant, soulless castle.
I’m not dead. I’m not alive. I’m existing.
A solid presence in an otherwise empty space.
But do not be fooled…
I am powerful.
Somewhere deep within this thick dark mass
Is a volcano ticking and awaiting
The perfect moment to exhale new lava.
Waiting to create continents of thought
Populated by change and reason.
I am a heart still beating after it has been cut out from the living.
I am the African Violet leaf that lives on

After being ripped from the mother plant.
I am the singing voice of an orphaned child.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Event #92 – Poetry Supper @ Flora’s

Due to the popularity of the Poetry Supper on Sunday night we have had to make some last minute changes. Flora is unfortunately not able to accommodate the large number of people wishing to attend this supper, so we have moved it to The Food Tent in Temenos Garden. Delicious homemade soups, rolls and bread will be served as well as complimentary wine and grape-juice (you are welcome to bring your own bottle if you so wish) – a donation of R50.00 per person will help to cover costs. (Participating poets and volunteers are welcome as our guests, but please don’t forget your name-tags!) We look forward to seeing you anytime from 6pm for a relaxed evening together. For catering purposes, please contact Jenny ( / 084 675 1164) to add your name to the list.

Coming soon... Kobus Moolman

Poetry in McGregor is honoured and privileged to welcome award winning writer Kobus Moolman to this year’s event. Winner of among others The Ingrid Jonker Prize for Poetry, The Sol Plaatje European Union Award for Poetry and the Glenna Luschei Award for African Poetry, Kobus is a much sought after voice at Poetry gatherings around the world. Alonside four volumes of poetry , he has also written a collection of radio plays, and still finds time to lecture creative writing at UKZN. We are so looking forward to your being here!
We who accept survival as our password
accept incompleteness as our blessing.
We who dress in blindness and in faith
do not know the colour of our palms
nor the weight of our feet upon the water.
We who have dust in our mouths all day
have stones on our tongues instead of songs.
We who quench fire with fire all night
know that wings are not the only ladders
to the dark, that heavy wood swims too
in the tide of the wind.
We who accept survival

accept survival as our curse.

Coming soon... Dan Wylie

Dan Wylie is another making his first visit to our Poetry Weekend. A Professor AT Rhodes University, Dan has published widely on a range of subjects. He is particularly interested in the legendary Zulu leader, Shaka, and is considered a leading figure on the man. He is also interested in African literature, particularly Southern African, spirituality and poetry, and ecological issues in poetry. A published poet, we are delighted to welcome Dan to our little village!


Forgive me: I am all mange and forgetfulness.
Burrs in the coat of too much thinking, too much pain.
My bony hands have grown rigid with grasping the right.
What is morality if it is not safeguarded by the voracious?
What force would justice have were it not
clawed from the carapace of scorpions?

But unforeseen birdcalls are troubling this anaesthetic age.
Am I to be condemned for holding on to what little I have?
Am I to be overthrown by what I have so long sustained?
Who commands the city that has swarmed up beneath me?
What conspiracies burble in those terracotta cells?

I am certain now of nothing but the persistence of stupidity.
This is the gift of the tall view.
We are drying out in the thin winter sun;
the dry ratchet of the barbet
winds down to some obscure apocalypse.
This is what history is: a throne
from which one cannot descend.
I send my bark echoing amongst the mopanes,
again, and again.
I will entertain no regrets.

Dan Wylie