Tag Archives: Fiona Zerbst

Some Favourite Poetry Collections of 2009: Part Four

 
 
Angela France
 
The Clockwork Gift by Claire Crowther (Shearsman Books)
Chora by Nigel McLoughlin (Templar Poetry)
Bundle o’Tinder by Rose Kelleher (Waywiser Press)
 
 
Susan Richardson
 
Weeds and Wild Flowers by Alice Oswald (with etchings
by Jessica Greenman) (Faber & Faber)
A Sleepwalk on the Severn by Alice Oswald (Faber & Faber)
I Spy Pinhole Eye, poems by Philip Gross
with photographs by Simon Denison (Cinnamon Press)
 
 
Collin Kelley
 
Carpathia by Cecilia Woloch (BOA Editions)
Sassing by Karen Head (WordTech Communications)
An Urgent Request by Sarah Luczaj (Fortunate Daughter Press)
This Pagan Heaven by Robin Kemp (Pecan Grove Press)

 
Katrina Naomi
 
One Secret Thing by Sharon Olds (Jonathan Cape)
Laughter Heard from the Road by Maggie O’Dwyer
(Templar Poetry)
Third Wish Wasted by Roddy Lumsden (Bloodaxe Books)
 
 
Arlene Ang
 
The Wrong Miracle by Liz Gallagher (Salt Modern Poets)
Fair Creatures of an Hour by Lynn Levin (Loonfeather Press)
In the Voice of a Minor Saint by Sarah J. Sloat (Tilt Press)
 
 
Laurie Byro
 
Carta Marina: A Poem in Three Parts by Ann Fisher-Wirth
(Wings Press)
Poems from the Women’s Movement, edited by Honor Moore
(Library of America)
Watching the Spring Festival by Frank Bidart
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
 
 
Ray Givans
 
The Year of Not Dancing by C L Dallat (Blackstaff Press)
Natural Mechanical by J.O. Morgan (CB Editions)
Darwin, A life in Poems by Ruth Padel (Chatto & Windus)
 
 
Ross Sutherland
 
Migraine Hotel by Luke Kennard (Salt Modern Poets)
Watering Can by Caroline Bird (Carcanet Press)
Weather A System by James Wilkes (Penned in the Margins)
 
 
Kelli Russell Agodon
 
Sharp Stars by Sharon Bryan (BOA Editions)
Then, Something by Patricia Fargnoli (Tupelo Press)
Upgraded to Serious by Heather McHugh (Copper Canyon Press)
 
 
Crystal Warren
 
Flashes by Carol Leff (Aerial Publishing)
Strange Fruit by Helen Moffett (Modjaji Books)
Oleander by Fiona Zerbst (Modjaji Books)
 
 
Derek Adams
 
Furniture by Lorraine Mariner (Picador)
Beneath the Rime by Siriol Troup (Shearsman Books)
The Girl with the Cactus Handshake by Katrina Naomi
(Templar Poetry)
 
 
Liesl Jobson
 
Impredehora by Yvette Christiansë (Kwela Books with SnailPress)
Al is die maan ‘n misverstand by Danie Marais (Tafelberg)
Hyphen by Tania van Schalkwyk (The UCT Writers Series/
Electric Book Works)
  
  
Chris McCabe
 
West End Survival Kit by Jeremy Reed (Waterloo Press)
How To Build a City by Tom Chivers (Salt Modern Poets)
The Burning of the Books by George Szirtes and Ronald King
(Full Circle Editions)
Undraining Sea by Vahni Capildeo (Egg Box Publishing)
Rays by Richard Price (Carcanet Press)
Weather A System by James Wilkes (Penned in the Margins)
Furniture by Lorraine Mariner (Picador)
Madeleine’s Letter to Bunting by Kelvin Corcoran
(Longbarrow Press)

Fiona Zerbst’s Oleander

   
Legacy – after Frida Kahlo
Fiona Zerbst
  
‘We must sleep with open eyes, we must dream with our hands’
Octavio Paz

  
I.
 
This column of air.
These nights of broken stone.
This flesh that speaks.
 
If Mexico is Frida,
It is also
Fig and prickly pear,
 
Water gods, dry ears
Of corn, torn as petticoats.
 
 
II.
 
Vanilla jar of dead water
Circled by a peacock.
 
This is what is left to those
Who linger in the courtyard.
 
Her legacy of nails in flesh,
Tears of pomegranate:
 
A broken column
Painted as herself.
 
 
III.
 
Frida dreams in turquoise;
Now vertical, her bed
A crushed infinity.
 
Reflected in her mirror,
This heart that frills the sand’s
Dry life with blood.
 
 
IV.
 
This column of air,
These nights of broken stone,
This flesh that speaks.
 
If Mexico is Frida,
Then it is also
Paintbrush and suffering,
 
Icon of desire,
spine of jewelled bone.
 
 
V.
 
As she paints,
She dreams with her hands.
 
As we watch,
A butterfly sticks
 
To coils of her hair.
That flat plate of brow
 
Is a golden canvas
To feast from.
 
 
From Oleander (Modjaji Books, 2009).
  
Read four poems from Oleander at Rustum Kozain’s blog, Groundwork.
  
To purchase Oleander, contact Colleen Higgs at Modjaji Books:
cdhiggs@gmail.com
  
 
Launch
  
You are cordially invited to Oleander’s launch – Fiona will be reading – at the Cape Town Book Fair on 14 June 2009 from 17h30 to 18h30 at the DALRO Stage in the CTICC exhibition halls.
  
Visit Fiona’s blog.

Modjaji Books

 
Four wonderful new Modjaji poetry collections go to the printer this week.  The volumes are available at the special offer of R100 each if you buy one this week.  They will sell for R120 plus in the shops when they are out.  The books are:
 
Please, take photographs by Sindiwe Magona;
 
Burnt Offering by Joan Metelerkamp;
 
Oleander by Fiona Zerbst;
 
Strange Fruit by Helen Moffett.
 
All four collections are available for R300, if you buy them this week.
 
If you’re interested, contact Colleen Higgs at Modjaji Books:  cdhiggs@gmail.com.
 
 
About Modjaji Books

Modjaji Books was started in 2007 by Colleen Higgs.  Modjaji is a new independent press that publishes the work of South African women.  “Modjaji – which means rain queen – is a press that will make rain and generate spaces for new voices to be heard that otherwise may not find a platform.”

Fiona Zerbst’s Time and again

Fiona Zerbst was born in Cape Town in 1969.  She has lived in Johannesburg and Cape Town and spent six months in Ukraine and Russia in 1995.  She published two books of poetry, Parting Shots (Carrefour Press) in 1991 and The Small Zone (Snailpress) in 1995.  “Soliloquy” and “Calendar” are from Fiona’s third collection, Time and again (UCT Younger Poets Series in association with Snailpress, 2002).

Soliloquy
Fiona Zerbst

I listen. Everything that used to be
invades my room and silence in the air
that nurtures me, contains the sullen care
I feed on, sucks the future out of me.
In all this time, a memory would be
too sad; an inappropriate goodbye
might slip from me, or silence, with a sigh,
become some dubious poetry.

Protect me from the wordlessness of lips.
Come back and be the talk that can sustain
my breath, and be the one thing to remain
intact in every solitude that grips
my mind.  The darkness forming on the stair
could be my last, my greatest, love affair.

Calendar
Fiona Zerbst

Tonight you’re struck
by miniature things.

A prickle of light,
a shadow of wings:

the shimmer a moth
gives off as it flutters

over the grass
away from the gutter

covered with leaves.
By saying his name,

you, too, fly dumbly
into a flame.

You’ve heard him leave.
The hunger within

dies down a while,
forgets its own din.

You look at the clock:
it mirrors your face

and all alterations
made in this place –

your social agenda
tacked to the wall,

the calendar picture
silent and small

beside the black numbers,
lovingly penned.

That picture: distraction.
Those numbers:  the end