Yes, these are tiny. But if you click on any one image, you should get a gallery that lets you page through them at the original size – 8cm x 8cm.

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.

Back Cover 'The Craft'

And here’s a small poem from the book that is (also) about writing poetry:

The Star-Gatherer
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.




Sulimanye Mosque, Rhodos


Smoothing a mast, Diakofti, Patmos

Maneli Sponge

Processing a sponge, Symi

Walking with Granny

Walking with γιαγιά (granny), Patmos

Long plant

Long thin plant, Patmos


A crow all puffed up and making weird noises, Rhodes

Julia at Paxos

Taverna, Yialos, Symi

Mrs Stavros

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


Moonrise, Symi

Ramp Yialos

Ascending & Descending, Symi


Yialos, Symi


Pillar detail from the synagogue in Rhodes


Red sunflower, Patmos

Far islands

Dawn with Distant Islands, Patmos


At the Relax Cafe, Patmos

Folk Dancers

Folk dancers, Independence Day, Symi


Stavros, herb gatherer and seller, Symi


Julia on the shore, Patmos


Sparrow eating tiropita, Rhodes

Clock Tower

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

Chora wall

Street in Chora, Patmos

Dead moto

Dead moto, Symi


Monk with shopping bags and umbrella. Panormitis, Symi

Katerina Mourati

Katerina Mourati, an artist from Patmos


Aphrodite, a sponge shop proprietor. Kalymnos.


Skafandros (diving suit), Symi.

Ferry reflections

Reflections as the ferry docks, Symi.

Hole in the Wall

Wall with hole, Symi.


Nicos Vassilaras, a jeweller and political activist from Rhodos

Panormitis rain

Rainy day. Panormitis, Symi.

Steps down Symi

Descending steps with washing machine, Symi

Cats Symi

Garbage cats. Symi

Storm Symi

Storm brewing. Symi


Theodoris Eleftherios, a poet from Kalymnos.

Reflections Kalymnos

Reflections, Kalymnos.


The Innocent. Patmos.


Lataris, a former sponge boat pilot from Kalymnos.

Version 2

Archway and window. Rhodos.


The Aegean.



Version 2

Chamomile coming up in the cracks, Symi.


Pizzeria, Symi.


Archway, Hora, Symi.

red boat

Red boat, Panormitis, Symi.

Panormitis doorway

Doorway, Panormitis, Symi.

Panormitis scaffolds

Doorway with scaffolding, Panormitis, Symi.

Lefteris Kamitsis


St George arch

Archway with tree, St George, Symi.

Blue steps

Blue stairs, Yialos, Symi.

Aegean Symi

Stony seabed, Symi.

door Symi

Doorway, Symi.

Chora Patmos

Square, Chora, Patmos

Dog Patmos

Dog with tusks, Patmos.

Blocked window

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.

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’.

the craft cover mockup

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.