My book, The Craft – Selected Poems, 1989 – 2016, has finally materialised. It’s my first volume of poetry since 2005. Published by Left Field Poetry. I’m excited. It’s been a long process.
It will be launched on Monday evening, the first of three launches. Please join us at one, if you can make it.
Book Lounge, Monday, 14 August, 17:30 for 18:00
Kalk Bay Books, Wednesday, 23 August, 1800 for 18:30
Mc Gregor Poetry Festival, Saturday, 26 August, 13:30
The front cover of the book was my idea, using Christina Bryer’s image, with design and typography of front and back by Douglas Skinner.
Here’s the back cover, with nice shout-outs from Rethabile Masilo and Fiona Zerbst, and a pic of me by my wife Julia Martin.
And here’s a small poem from the book that is (also) about writing poetry:
For Sophie Rose
All day I gather the stars that have fallen
out of the sky. They are hard to find,
they have become mica and crystal and pollen
or concealed themselves in water or behind
the light in eyes. Some have been lost, stolen
or forgotten, but I collect them all in my mind
and as evening falls I put them back,
one by one, in their places in the black.
If you’re in Cape Town you can get copies from The Book Lounge, Kalk Bay Books or Clarke’s Bookshop. In the Platteland, Protea Boekwinkel should have it. We’re working to get it into bookshops elsewhere in SA. If you’re overseas, I’d suggest you order it from Clarke’s.
There are several people I’d like to thank –
- Diane Awerbuck, for suggesting the project and for helping me with the selection from among my very many poems;
- Douglas Skinner for being a good friend, and Left Field Poetry (his other hat) for taking the volume on, and for all the many hours of meticulous editorial and design work that went into it;
- Helen Moffett, for proofreading the galleys;
- Rethabile Masilo and Fiona Zerbst, for reading and responding to the manuscript
- Christina Bryer, for permission to use her image of one of her porcelain ceramics on the cover;
- Jo Anne Friedlander for doing her usual impeccable job of layout;
- Everyone, especially my family, who has supported and encouraged my writing.
My last post was getting a bit full, so here’s a new one. All of the miniature paintings are 8cm x 8cm, and are done in watercolour and acrylic. Again, I’ll post new ones at the top.
Here are 2 pictures of the little book I am painting them in. I bought it in an art-supply emporium in Graz.
Long thin plant, Patmos
A crow all puffed up and making weird noises, Rhodes
Taverna, Yialos, Symi
The Herbalist’s Wife, Symi
Parrot, Old City, Rhodes
WIld Thyme, Symi
Despina Vakratsi, a writer from Patmos
Dinos in his hardware store, Symi
Bells, Monastery of St John, Patmos
Ascending & Descending, Symi
Pillar detail from the synagogue in Rhodes
Red sunflower, Patmos
Dawn with Distant Islands, Patmos
At the Relax Cafe, Patmos
Folk dancers, Independence Day, Symi
Stavros, herb gatherer and seller, Symi
Julia on the shore, Patmos
Sparrow eating tiropita, Rhodes
Clock Tower, Rhodes
Icon, Panormitis Museum, Symi
We’ve been back from Greece for a month. In that time, I’ve been making some tiny paintings of things seen there, and some of the wonderful people we encountered.
So here they are. Each painting is 8cm x 8cm. They are done in watercolour and acrylics on paper. I’ll add new ones at the to
Icon. Panormitis Museum, Symi
Self-portrait as a tourist, Symi
Street in Chora, Patmos
Dead moto, Symi
Monk with shopping bags and umbrella. Panormitis, Symi
Katerina Mourati, an artist from Patmos
Aphrodite, a sponge shop proprietor. Kalymnos.
Skafandros (diving suit), Symi.
Reflections as the ferry docks, Symi.
Wall with hole, Symi.
Nicos Vassilaras, a jeweller and political activist from Rhodos
Rainy day. Panormitis, Symi.
Descending steps with washing machine, Symi
Garbage cats. Symi
Storm brewing. Symi
Theodoris Eleftherios, a poet from Kalymnos.
The Innocent. Patmos.
Lataris, a former sponge boat pilot from Kalymnos.
Archway and window. Rhodos.
Chamomile coming up in the cracks, Symi.
Archway, Hora, Symi.
Red boat, Panormitis, Symi.
Doorway, Panormitis, Symi.
Doorway with scaffolding, Panormitis, Symi.
Archway with tree, St George, Symi.
Blue stairs, Yialos, Symi.
Stony seabed, Symi.
Square, Chora, Patmos
Dog with tusks, Patmos.
Blocked portal, Symi.
This time tomorrow (1 May) we’ll have entered the International Travel Tunnel, and the next morning we’ll pop out at Rhodes, Greece (1 & 2). Then we spend some time on Symi, (3 & 4) and then Patmos (5 & 6). We’ll make a side-trip to Kalymnos.
Rhodes old city
Patmos old fort
I have final proofs of my book The Craft – selected poems 1989 – 2016!! And a mockup of the cover! It will be published some time in the next three months, by Douglas Skinner’s Left Field Press. I am excited. I haven’t published a book of poems since Ghaap – Sonnets from the Northern Cape in 2005.
Here’s a mock-up of the cover. The image is a detail of a porcelain tile by my friend Christina Bryer, from her series entitled ‘Swatches’.
And here is an excerpt. The head is, of course, that of Orpheus.
The head sings
The Head: ‘On the left of the House of Hell,
Next to a white cypress, is a well
Fed by a spring. Don’t go near.
There’s another spring in the dell
By Lake Memory, cold water wells
From it. This water is defended
By the unsleeping guards of death.
When you see them, you must call
To them, saying,’
Chorus: ‘I am a star that fell.’
The Head: ‘Tell them,’
Chorus: ‘I am a child of Earth
And Starry Heaven,’
The Head: ‘as in the spell,’
Chorus: ‘But Heaven is the realm of my birth–
You yourselves know this is the truth.
My throat is dusty and my tongue swells
With thirst. Quick, give me the clear
Cold water of memory, let me bathe
In it and drink it, let it heal me whole
And mend me where I am wounded.’
There are cheap sapphires and spinels of poor quality available out of India. They are murky and have no doubt been heated or whatever they do to enhance the colour. It is precisely the bright colour and the hardness of the stones that makes them good for a ring – providing a dab of pigment on the hand.
I bought some and made these rings, which can be worn together or singly.
Rings: silver and spinel; silver and sapphire.
In my last post I put up pictures of some sculptural pendants in the form of buildings, that I had carved in wax. Harald cast them yesterday and they came out perfect. I have finished them, leaving a host of imperfections. I am very pleased with them.
Here they are. I photographed them in golden morning light, which gave the silver the wrong colour – so I have rendered them in B&W. There’s a lot of detail. Click to enlarge.
The Invitation: Pendant, silver
The Break: Pendant, silver
The confrontation: Pendant, silver
The Tryst: Pendant, silver
Waiting for Johns: Pendant, silver
Monk Ascending a Staircase: Pendant, silver
The Staircase: Pendant, silver
Seven Buildings: Pendants, silver