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Modjaji Books

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Covers of two of the four new Modjaji Poetry books unveiled

Helen Moffett’s collection Strange Fruit and Fiona Zerbst’s Oleander are both at the printer. The covers are voluptous, mysterious, rich, textured and vibey. I can’t wait to get the actual books into my hands. See what you think…

The final two books to be launched in June, are Sindiwe Magona’s Please, Take Photographs and Joan Metelerkamp’s Burnt Offering. These will be unveiled next week.

All four books are being launched at the Cape Town Book Fair on Sunday June 14th at 5.30 to 6.30 pm at the DALRO space in the Exhibition Hall.

Strange Fruit - Poems by Helen Moffett

Strange Fruit - Poems by Helen Moffett

Oleander poems by Fiona Zerbst

Oleander poems by Fiona Zerbst

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    May 22nd, 2009 @18:25 #
     
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    These are fantastic! Helen, you must be absolutely over the moon about that cover.

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    May 22nd, 2009 @18:43 #
     
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    I love it!

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    May 22nd, 2009 @18:54 #
     
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    Lovely cover, Helen (and Colleen). Not sure about Oleander, though. The italics make it a bit too sweet for my taste. But perhaps I'm not the target audience.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    May 22nd, 2009 @19:13 #
     
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    Now this is interesting, because I am experiencing pangs of sibling rivalry -- I think Fiona's Oleander cover is nicer than mine :)))) -- the most beautiful cover for a poetry collection I've ever seen.

    But mulling over the whole experience of editing/being edited/published, I realise that for each book, I've regressed to a childhood stage: for my landscape book I was six, constantly asking Mommy (my editor, Jacqui L'Ange) to help me choose what to wear; for the cricket book I was a terrified and abandoned infant, wailing for my editor (Tom) to pick me up and comfort me; on this project, I have been a toddler: needing to be looked after by Colleen and Rustum (who did the editing between them), but prone to tears and foot-stamping and jealousy of siblings in case they got a prettier dress than me. Colleen is an EXCELLENT manager of toddlers BTW :) All most salutary and a bit shaming.

    My grown-up self is in awe of how cleverly and carefully Colleen and her team has gotten the covers to reflect the essence of the writers/contents. So glad you guys like mine, all compliments to Modjaji! And Colleen, I spotted your twitter comment where you said my poems were "luscious and lascivious". Rustum and Eben Venter both said they should be published with an age-restriction. What Have I Done????

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    May 22nd, 2009 @19:20 #
     
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    It's the naughty step for you, Helen.

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  • <a href="http://poetsprintery.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Amitabh</a>
    Amitabh
    May 22nd, 2009 @19:26 #
     
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    Hello Helen
    Thats a lovely cover, rich in colors
    Poets Printery wished to be your publisher
    Anyway, your next book is booked and I would paint the cover

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:04 #
     
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    Wow Amitabh, one of your exquisite paintings on a cover, fabulous offer! And exciting too, makes me want to start right out on the next collection. Once I get off the naughty step, that is.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:05 #
     
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    These are so delicious. I can't wait to have them and smell them.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:07 #
     
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    I'm so glad y'all like the covers. I think Helen's cover is fabulous, rich, lushious (sp error intended) suggestive, dark, wild, could go on. The poems are extraordinary, brave, powerful.

    @Richard - the thing about Oleander - is that the poems aren't sweet, so the cover is 'dancing with the poems' - Oleander - beautiful and poisonous. Fiona tackles some tough subjects in her poems.

    Rustum has done shouts for both books. Will post for your delectation.

    Rustum on Oleander - I shortened it with Rustum's permission for the book cover - but here is the longer version:

    "Ever since her first collection, Parting Shots (1991), I have been a devoted fan of Fiona Zerbst’s work. And I have followed her poetry collections with a measure of envy because, reading her poetry, I am aware that the poetic is her metier, the thing that she is meant to do, for our benefit.

    With 'Oleander', her fourth, she further establishes that sense: her poetry draws on its ancient lyric roots, unafraid to sing or lament, unashamed to be poetry. In my view, Zerbst refreshes a tradition of lyric poetry without gimmicks or recourse to exercises in form; rather, she achieves this by staying true to the spirit of a tradition, thus staying true to her metier. On the surface, the poems appear easy, easily written, but there is something in them, something beyond my measure, that keeps me intrigued, that makes me read them again and again. And I remain enthralled. It is perhaps a sense of looking that can reveal the transient in the universal and vice versa; or it is a sense of feeling that embraces loss and furtively glances at love – glances, but does so knowing that a turn of phrase can contain as much as release a flame that can burn. I always look forward to new work from Zerbst, and 'Oleander' does not disappoint. Modjaji Books can be proud to have a poet of Zerbst’s calibre to add to its rapidly strengthening fold."

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:08 #
     
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    @Ben - help my paragraphing disappeared...

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:10 #
     
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    Kozain on Helen Moffett's Strange Fruit:

    "Strange Fruit is a courageous debut with a remarkable range in theme and tone, from the nostalgic to the comedic to the bawdy, and to the angry, the melancholic and the steadfast and comforting. It will delight, shock, anger, induce laughter, shock more, delight more. And make you blush. It’s a full range. There are poems of brutal self-honesty – the emotional heart of the collection being a series of poems on the ageing body, loss of love and infertility – and there are poems that capture landscapes with imagist skill and the botanist’s detail. And there is pleasure for the reader in rhythm and musicality, that promises returns on re-reading – I am still entranced by

    outside,
    the resident owls warming up
    for half an hour’s counterpoint
    of notes soft as down and deep
    as the darkness catching the trees;

    where the serial enjambment produces intriguing harmonics,and then a dying fall. Image, rhythm, tone, poetry.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:10 #
     
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    paragraphing and line breaks disappeared again...

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:11 #
     
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    Colleen, I can see the paragraph breaks - ?

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:12 #
     
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    Now that I have refreshed I can..Tx

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:18 #
     
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    A roar from Rustum there, rather than a shout.

    I think I may be allergic to italics, Colleen, but I'm a fan of hand-written cursive.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:26 #
     
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    And I am having the sibling thing all over again, i.e., terrible toddler suspicion that Russ wikes Feefee Zeezee more than me, waaaah. Really, have to get a grip. That's an incredible roar he's written for her, it does him credit. Mind you, I was blown away when I first saw what he'd written for me. Have had a bit of time to get used to it, tho.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:40 #
     
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    Come on Helen pull yourself together, girl. Don't forget there is a war on.

    What I want to know is who is going to publish my poems. Here you are with a gorgeous new volume out (well almost) and Amitabh trying to wrest you away from Modjaji Books for the next volume.

    And as I don't want to use Modjaji as a vehicle for self promotion, I will have to look for a poetry publisher, but they are thin on the ground and over-subscribed. For example, I have about 10 excellent ms waiting their turn ....

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:41 #
     
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    Will you please eat your ice-cream in silence on the naughty step, Helen!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    May 22nd, 2009 @20:49 #
     
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    *chastened* Maybe Poets Printery would like to see your poems, Colleen? *creeps back to naughty step, licking as icecream melts lusciously all down chin, onto hands (rest of scene X-rated)*

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  • <a href="http://poetsprintery.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Amitabh</a>
    Amitabh
    May 22nd, 2009 @21:17 #
     
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    I have submitted to Ben a list of all our publications till this day
    Just a small time publisher, trying to find a place in the Southern African poetry scene.

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  • <a href="http://novelofdoom.wordpress.com/" rel="nofollow">Vanessa</a>
    Vanessa
    May 24th, 2009 @14:00 #
     
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    Most enticing...

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  • ar
    ar
    May 24th, 2009 @18:40 #
     
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    Amitabh, I’m sorry but we are going to have to duel over who gets to paint the next cover.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    May 24th, 2009 @19:11 #
     
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    Thanks, Vanessa. AR, you mean you're an artist too???

    This is a good moment to (sort of) out the mysterious AR. This lovely woman with huge blue eyes comes up to me at the Franschhoek Lit Fest, and says "How are your kitties? I'm AR." I shall reveal that her first name is Audrey, but for the rest, she may remain our international woman of mystery. We tried to meet for coffee, but she had to return to her cats in Jozi sooner than expected. (She was pining; they were not. Allegations were made of bribery with biltong and condensed milk for the return of furry affections.) Apparently she has family in the Cape, so we look forward to seeing her again soon...

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  • ar
    ar
    May 24th, 2009 @19:30 #
     
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    Helen, you might just be the sweetest woman on the planet, you know :-)

    The biltong hasn't worked, and I'm just about to go get some condensed milk now. Hussies! My hounds make up for it though. They have licked me to pieces and won't let me out of their sight.

    I'll be back sooner than soon, but not soon enough for the bookfair, alas.

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  • <a href="http://poetsprintery.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Amitabh</a>
    Amitabh
    May 24th, 2009 @21:03 #
     
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    Thanks AR
    Please paint Helen's book cover as well as mine
    Eternally grateful
    Welcome to East London

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