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This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Nuwe skryfwerk | New writing > Poësie | Poetry > English > Published poets

Published poets

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Stolen rivers
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers - 2011-11-24
Stolen rivers for Chiwoniso Maraire We Africans came to Berlin to sing and recite poetry. We had an agenda: remembering our anthems of loss, galloping, consuming, the pillage, the cries like forest fires, like haunted children, how can we, how can we even begin to redress? Enraged, we wanted revenge, and then, Chiwoniso, you stepped on to the stage and you opened your mouth and every stolen river of platinum and gold poured out of your mouth in song; your voice etched us out of the night and...

Il Gigante
Cas Vos - 2011-11-24

A Tale to Tell
Gail Dendy - 2011-10-06
Untitled Document A Tale to Tell I’m sure the tale had been known before, the one that jumps the gap of disbelief before flattening out beneath the tongue. But for now, it has inexplicably stopped a foot or two beyond the garden gate, and takes a long, last look at Hansel and Gretel and their dear papa vanishing into the forest’s maw. This story must’ve sat in the loft for a year like an injured bird. Still, when the rumours started of its coming here, it seemed almost familiar,...

A Cat named Ollie
Gail Dendy - 2011-10-05
Untitled Document A Cat named Ollie Monkey expression, and a temperament almost to match, Ollie lies paws up, the crest of his nose baby-pink and lightly glistening. In a flash, as they say, he’s barrelled around and attacked the stitching on the duvet. Then hunts his sibling awhile (a girl, all calico and white), and then, enough, he’s out for the count, wondering why cat dreams are sweeter than most, why they hang about his neck like butterflies he’ll never catch, why they’re...

The duvet
Gail Dendy - 2011-09-02
The duvet The duvet has the brown stain of cat’s paw, of general outside spaces brought inside along with a dead bird, perhaps, or with a brush of pine that bilked when the cat ran under it. Through rain and fifteen years’ light drizzle the duvet held up squarely against home-cooked brownies and our children’s finger paint. And later, fluffed and white once more, its swiss-roll shape bunched into the cupboard, it was forgotten unless friends would come to stay. It was a simple...

Jazz song
Sarah Frost - 2011-09-02
Jazz song The saxophone segues into a room simmering with strangers: its notes are bricks, constructing shelter. Leaning into a bench corner he swallows down a melancholy beer, lets his eye slide from under his worn checked cap. His gaze elides the blonde woman at the next table, a hen, clucking into her small daughter’s shoulders, to rest on the broad hips of the jazz singer on stage. She belts him back out into a haze of cigarette smoke and saudade*; another week gone and still the...

Wear red, play dead
Arja Salafranca - 2011-08-16
Untitled Document Wear red, play deadThe invite said: Wear red, play dead, Put your head in a gilded cage. Come as your favourite rock star. Wear black, change your name, Buy a dress made of safety pins. Come as your favourite Disney character. Come, even, as yourself. She stared into the mirror, smoothing her face, Angling her cheekbones in shades of naked dusk Her hair curled out of its chignon, along her neck. Would he be there? Now, this time, after so long? Would he recognise her? Her lace-gloved...

An apple in Munich
Arja Salafranca - 2011-08-11
An apple in Munich I think a red apple won’t be good enough. A red apple plucked from a bowl on a luxury river cruise liner, carried in my bag for two days. An apple cratered on board in Passau, placed in the industrial deep freeze and displayed five days later in a white china bowl somewhere in rural Hungary. And then plucked by me, craving fresh fruit after days of rich six-course meals. But it languishes in the bowl in my cabin. Until, packed, looking around, I grab it, stuff it...

Joburg pix, not taken
Arja Salafranca - 2011-07-27
Untitled Document Joburg pix, not taken A man, having his head shaved, highlighted by the dusk of early evening. All around him, gathering darkness, except his head, this small stall, lit by phosphorescence, haloed by a weird greenish purple light. A flash of colour. I drive on. Another man, lurching across the road. Perhaps forty, mouth already gummy, long brown hair scraggly, head shakes, words spill out, but they mean nothing. I let him pass, a smile of gratitude, before he reverts back....

Arja Salafranca - 2011-07-20
Untitled Document Playing All day long they have nagged. Dragging them through shopping centres, shushing them with toasted cheese sandwiches and strawberry milkshakes at lunch. Through the long afternoon of visits from granny and the aunties. More food: fairy cakes topped with icing and quartered cherries. By now they’re high on sugar and delayed promises. She slumps in her seat, the mom is tired. listening to her radio near six at night, dusk coming quickly on a winter evening. They...

Is death the end?
Sindiwe Magona - 2011-07-14
Untitled Document Is death the end? Odd, isn’t it? Despite evidence clear Yet persists the preoccupation: Is death the end? Self-appointed king, Man proclaims: “Exterminate the vermin!” Scientists and medicine men since time long gone Study long and hard: ways and means to find The sentence to execute. All around, clear and loud the evidence: After birth comes life, after which In due course, comes inevitable death. Yet the preoccupation persists: Is death the end? Finally,...

"Watched/watching" Reimagined: Gerhard van Wyk
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-07-05

Malika Ndlovu - 2011-07-05
Untitled Document Invitation This poem is too sacred to be spoken Too immense to be condensed into words Too potent to be diluted by a language Living in my mouth since childhood Yet still remains foreign to my being Cannot be named my mother tongue This poem comes like a dream unbidden Uncensored, unexpected, uncontrived A poem not even a deep sleeping poet Could concoct, plot or beg to arrive This poem is the indefinable Unconfinable essence of all true poetry It need not be written, has...

Shako’s dance
Malika Ndlovu - 2011-07-05
Untitled Document Shako’s dance My silent, defiant grandmother Is smiling See her tongue hiss and whip Watch my jerking shoulders Keep your eyes on my feet My silent, defiant grandmother Is calling Hear her warn against hidden dangers Watch my pulsing back Keep your ears open to this rhythm My silent, defiant grandmother Is singing Feel her in your bones as she vibrates in mine Watch my shimmering skin Keep your heart tender, here she comes My dance is the receiving, the carrying My living...

"Backpack" Reimagined: Celia Claase
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-22

"In chains" Reimagined: Celia Claase
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-22

"Bonfire" Reimagined: Celia Claase
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-22

"Watched/watching" Reimagined: Celia Claase
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-22

"Meat" Reimagined: Celia Claase
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-22

The elephant is unhappy
Arja Salafranca - 2011-06-22
Untitled Document The elephant is unhappy The ground is squelchy underfoot. The elephant is unhappy. The grass sparse, wet. A dog is chained to a table. “I am on guard,” is the sign around a caravan. At the next caravan, a woman holding a cigarette retreats to its shuttered interior. The chained dog finds shelter beneath the camping table, its tail between its legs. In the field by the main road the elephants have attracted onlookers. A mother holds her child. The elephants are...

What matters
Arja Salafranca - 2011-06-22
Untitled Document What matters What matters is not whether seize is spelled correctly, or you use an ellipsis instead of an em dash; not whether you used 500 g of butter when the recipe called for less. Not the vendetta of the neighbour, nor the spite of the colleague in the corridor. What matters isn’t whether you wear horizontal stripes instead of vertical, or the wrong colour camisole beneath your jersey. What matters isn’t the power plays, the corporate games, the stalled computer...

"Bonfire" Reimagined: Maaike Bakker
Maaike Bakker - 2011-06-14

Minotaur I
Esther van der Vyver - 2011-06-14

"Bonfire" Reimagined: Ren Bohnen
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-09

"Backpack" Reimagined" Jnette
Jnette - 2011-06-08

Inside and outside
Arja Salafranca - 2011-06-08
Untitled Document Inside and outside Sitting inside I type, analysing novels. I learn about the secret Muslim marriage called a sigheh, recalling seventeenth-century Persia. There’s a psychiatrist detective hero with Parkinson’s, a Swedish writer who died too young, an ex-memoirist who’s astounded his critics with his breathless first novel. I conjure up other people’s fictional worlds, I tell people whether to spend their money on eight new novels. Outside a grey...

Kissing the wall
Arja Salafranca - 2011-06-08
Untitled Document Kissing the wall The woman’s face is unadorned, slightly wrinkled. Her head is covered in a pink and white scarf. Zooming in, the camera watches the slightly pursed lips as, oblivious to the world, she tenderly inclines her head, eyes closed, and, in an act of faith, kisses the wall. In that instant she releases her longing and the pain, the wall a forgiving, deserving lover. You can’t see her body, only her passion as she leans in, oblivious, lost in the seal...

''Backpack" Reimagine: Tilana Boshoff
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-07

''Bonfire'' Reimagined: Tilana Boshoff
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-07

"In chains" Reimagined: Bella
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-06

"Watched/watching" Reimagined: Hilda Smits
Hilda Smits - 2011-06-06

"Meat" Reimagined: Hilda Smits
Hilda Smits - 2011-06-06

"Bonfire" Reimagined: Hilda Smits
Hilda Smits - 2011-06-06

"In chains" Reimagined: Hilda Smits
Hilda Smits - 2011-06-06

Gary Cummiskey Reimagined
LitNet asked a number of artists to send us their visual interpretations of Gary Cummiskey’s poems. Click here to read the poems. Meat Watched/watching Bonfire In chains Backpack Click on the links below to see the artworks. Watched/Watching Reimagined Hilda Smits Meat Reimagined Retha Ferguson Hilda Smits In chains Reimagined Hilda Smits Bella Bonfire Reimagined Hilda Smits Tilana Boshoff Backpack Reimagined Tilana...

Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-01

In chains
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-01

Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-01

Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-01

Meat: a film scenario
Gary Cummiskey - 2011-06-01

Another version
Kobus Moolman - 2011-05-26
Untitled Document Another version Of the same road And it was raining And they had stopped to help But their infant was asleep in the back And there was a silence over all And then someone was calling In between the glass and the metal And out of the early morning mist And that was when their dread arrived That was what made them get out And though there was nothing they could do And though they had...

One version of the road
Kobus Moolman - 2011-05-26
Untitled Document One version of the road And the sun was behind his head And it was much later than he thought And he thought that he had nothing more to say And he did not know whether he should And he thought that he would anyway And the sun was inside his eyes And he tried to imagine where the day before that day had gone And it smelled of turpentine And it smelled of disinfectant And he cut his finger on its edge And he sucked it And for a moment he tasted what was inside him And then...

Untying the knots
Hale Tsehlana - 2011-04-26
Untying the knots I write to untie the knots that lump my throat turning into splitting headaches when I could simply say fuck off but I can’t because I am an African woman and my mouth must not be foul. I write to wipe the tears as pages of pain scroll from my thumbs smudging my mascara. I write myself into time. I write that they may know I became even stronger, when my heart was broken by culture, church, and civilization. I write to share with you the quiet revolution raging...

Before poetry was hip
Khanyisile Magubane - 2011-04-26
Before poetry was hip we were not gracing stages, we were going through stages scribbling on pages trying to understand these words that haunted our minds. Before poetry was hip, sometimes, sometimes we were too scared to tell people we were poets, we did not trust in these words. Before poetry was hip we were told to focus on science and accounting, because words don’t put food on the table. Oh, but they do give peace of mind! Before poetry was hip we were an underground people exchanging...

The owl and the swan
Ingrid de Kok - 2011-04-07
The owl and the swan For AK and JS A spotted eagle owl swooped on to his Cape Town roof like the vengeance of the Lord, sat there silently for hours the night before he left to see her, while in Berlin the next morning when she rose to prepare herself she heard a great apocalyptic sound and from her window saw a swan lever itself off the lake and into the sky. And he said to himself - this yellow-eyed owl on my house is an omen of menace, means failure,...

Water folk
Carina Stander - 2011-03-29
Water folk Nkulunkulu, Your beautiful earth is dying off quietly. The grasses are silent, the game are trekking away, the snake forgets its skin in the veld. Drought hates children, eats them alive; the men are watching us women with goat-eyes as we cook up tree bark for soup or carry calabashes sighing for beastings. (The baby not making itself heard will fade away in the monkey fur on his mother’s back.) By day red ant arrives and mosquito at night. Over there at the waterhole...

Lima (Translation)
Carina Stander - 2011-02-24
Lima Peru try to forget caution the city to tread lightly because I don’t want to see the child on the sidewalk face veiled behind garúa of foul air try to forget the shivering child smells alpaca ponchos and woollen caps by Mercado del Indios let the city go up in flames because I do not want to see her like this the child stands holding sad playing-balls in a city of madness where promptly at peak time she cart-wheels along the dotted line the coins like shiny tears...

M Labuschagne - 2010-11-03
Whore her eyes were reckless her breasts were careless she breathed the attention of my fingertips and guided me to the gasps of her sweet wounds : love me, love me not, love me forgot the money ...

24 notes
Anton Krueger - 2010-10-19
nine notes on lisbon six notes on barcelona six notes on madrid nine notes on lisbon1 1. folks folks from the smaller countries – lithuania, portugal, mayotte – have this slightly deferential slowness so attractive: they know they’re no world power ... 2. love letters fernando pessoa courted her with ten years of words, but finally, indignant, she tells him he’s a personne ... (in portuguese pessoa is a person, but in french it’s nobody ...) he...

Angifi Dladla - 2010-10-13
Entities Last night I hovered over the mortals. One was soft snores, the other a pharaoh in stiffness. I wasted no time. Up through the ceiling I defied gravity. For weeks I had prepared for this upflight! Somewhere in another realm two creatures stood in my way. Call them creatures, those monsterlets. Each carried plate-like lips: king-size round trays stuck to each, cumbersome to those bodies. Like frilled lizards the creatures stormed at me. Lips burst open, displaying a furnace with flaming...

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