29 September, Picobella Restaurant, Melville.
Photographs courtesy of René Bohnen.
Poet and activist, Dustin Brookshire, invited me to contribute to his Why Do I Write series.
Why do I write? Author, naturalist and environmental activist, Terry Tempest Williams, covers it all in one of my favourite writing quotes. It’s from her prose piece entitled “Why I Write” in Writing Creative Nonfiction, edited by Carolyn Forché and Philip Gerard (Writer’s Digest Books, 2001).
This year’s contributors to the Why Do I Write series are Mary Jo Bang, Robert Pinsky, Ellen Steinbaum, Paul Lisicky, Virgil Suárez, D A Powell and Didi Menendez. Last year’s line up included Charles Jensen, Erin Murphy, Dorianne Laux, Matthew Hittinger, Christopher Hennessy, Paul Hostovsky, Courtney Queeney, Julianna Baggott, Ellen Bass, Sandra Beasley, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Kurt Brown, Cecilia Woloch, Denise Duhamel and Dara Wier.
I think there’s something for everyone.
I have an interview on Rethabile Masilo’s Poéfrika, an interesting and informative site for Africa-inspired writing.
Rethabile, a Lesotho national living in France, asked me some challenging questions and I’ve contributed a line to an ongoing poem here.
This is the first in a series of poet interviews on Poéfrika, so stay connected to the site.
The second issue of poetry and art journal, ouroboros review, is now online and includes an interview with me and a few poems.
Here’s a brief extract from the interview:
“It’s hard to say how living in South Africa has influenced my writing. I find it difficult to think of “influences”; so many things combine to create voice and writing style. If anything, I’d say direct influences have been contemporary Northern hemisphere poets: American, Canadian and English. In my early twenties, I fell in love with Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton’s work, and I adored Erica Jong’s chutzpah.
I admire the poetry of Louise Glück, Margaret Atwood, Marge Piercy, Pascale Petit, Vicki Feaver, Mary Oliver, Ted Hughes, T S Eliot, Mark Doty, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Derek Walcott, Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, Adrienne Rich, William Carlos Williams, Billy Collins and many more. There are some wonderful South African poets: Isobel Dixon, Rustum Kozain, Kelwyn Sole, Karen Press, Finuala Dowling, Joan Metelerkamp, Fiona Zerbst and Gabeba Baderoon, among others.”
Issue two also contains Collin Kelley’s interview with Vanessa Daou, poetry by Iain Britton, Allan Peterson, Rebecca Gethin, Robin Reagler, Julie Buffaloe-Yoder, Paul Stevens, Dustin Brookshire, Carolee Sherwood, Deb Scott, Jill Crammond Wickham – and that’s just the beginning. The eye-catching cover art of the full moon over Atlanta is the work of talented photographer, Meg Pearlstein.
Indefatigable editors, Jo Hemmant and Christine Swint, have once again done a sterling job. The journal is beautifully laid out and produced.
Read it here.
I am pleased to have two poems (“The Art of Awakening” and
“The Blue Door Opens”) included in Canopic Jar #22.
This issue features:
Arlene Ang, Corey Mesler, Gabeba Baderoon, Isobel Dixon, John McCullough, Kay McKenzie Cooke, Lee Ann Pickrell, Lee Stern, Matthew Gillis, Michelle McGrane, Myesha Jenkins, Patrick Sullivan, Phillippa Yaa De Villiers, Rethabile Masilo, Rose Dewy Knickers, Ruth Sabath Rosenthal and Santiago De Dardano Turann.
Amanda Lawrence Auverigne, Ash Hibbert, Bill Green, Liam Leddy, Polly Tuckett, Rick Nes Smith, Tom Sheehan and William Alexander.
Visual artwork by
Didi Menendez and Sarah Hasty Williams.
Megan Hall was born and grew up in Cape Town and studied at the University of Cape Town. She has worked in the publishing industry since 1995 and is currently publishing manager for dictionaries and school literature in English at Oxford University Press Southern Africa.
Her poetry has appeared in various local journals since 1991, as well as in the school anthology Worldscapes. A short story was published in Botsotso 14 and an essay of hers was included in Leaves to a Tree, edited by Robin Malan. She has also edited poetry and fiction for New Contrast and taken part in both Young Voices (the 2004 South African Online Writers’ Conference hosted by LitNet) and the 2005 Crossing Borders programme, a British Council-sponsored writer’s mentorship. She lives in Cape Town with her partner, daughter and cat.
Read the interview here.
Read Megan’s poems on the Poetry International Web.
Postcript: Since our interview, Megan’s collection, Fourth Child (Modjaji Books, 2007), has been awarded the 2008 Ingrid Jonker Prize for the best debut collection of Afrikaans or English poetry.
Born in Pretoria in 1956, Joan Metelerkamp grew up in KwaZulu-Natal. She has published six poetry collections: Towing the Line (Carrefour, 1992), which was awarded the 1991 Sanlam Prize for Literature; Stone No More (Gecko Poetry, 1995); Into the day breaking (Gecko Poetry, 2000); Floating Islands (Mokoro, 2001); Requiem (Deep South, 2003) and, most recently, carrying the fire, published by substancebooks in 2005.
Joan has had individual poems published in major South African poetry anthologies and in various international volumes. She has taken part in festivals and poetry readings locally and overseas, including Poetry Africa in 2005. She has been awarded poetry prizes and judged others, has edited the literary journal New Coin for four years, and has written poetry reviews in academic journals and newspapers.
Previously, she worked as an actress and university teacher. She is a wife, mother, sister and daughter, living on her father’s farm in the Goukamma Valley near Knysna in the Southern Cape.
Read the interview here.
“I believe one function I have as a poet is to critique both public and private life without fear of being victimised. I can be called an angry poet, not because I want to overthrow the ruling party, but because I am a patriot, I love this country and I have nowhere else to go.”
– Vonani Bila
Read the interview here.
Read Vonani’s poems on the Poetry International Web.