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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Come see Modjaji’s Stellar Authors at the Franschhoek Literary Festival

Franshhoek Literary Festival

 
This year’s edition of the annual Franschhoek Literary Festival is being held from the 19th to the 21st of May. Modjaji is proud to have some its authors among the ranks who will soon file into town to fill it with vibrant ambience and all the bookish conversation one could dream of.

Tickets are priced at R70 per event, and are on sale via Webtickets. A limited number of student tickets are available for R20 per event – verification will be required.

Don’t miss our authors discussing their work at these not-to-be-missed panel discussions:

Philippa Mamutebi Kabali-KagwaFlame and SongPhilippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa
 
FRIDAY 14h30-15h30
[25] Writing their continent (Old School Hall): Darrel Bristow-Bovey invites Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa (Flame and Song) and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Season of Crimson Blossoms) to share how they reveal their love and knowledge of Africa through fact and fiction.
 
SATURDAY 10h00-11h00
[45] The transformative power of reading (Council Chamber): Jacques Rousseau discusses the intellectual, social and personal impact of reading, with Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (The Printmaker) and Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa (Flame and Song).
 
SUNDAY 11h30 – 12h30
[95] Writing my family: (Council Chamber): Negotiating the path between family sensitivities and the author’s right to write the story as they choose is a skill that Daniel Browde, Neil Sonnekus and Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa have all developed. They tell Hagen Engler how they did it.
 

Jolyn PhillipsTjieng Tjang Tjerries and other storiesJolyn Phillips

 
FRIDAY 13h00-14h00
[23] I write short stories because… (Elephant & Barrel): Are they easier than long fiction, more lucrative than nonfiction, more popular than Harry Potter? Jolyn Philips (Tjieng Tjang Tjerrie) asks fellow writers Harry Kalmer (A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg), Ken Barris (The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions) and Marita van der Vyver (You Lost Me) what it is about this form that appeals to them as they discuss the challenges of writing in the short form.
 
SUNDAY 10h00 – 12h00
[90] Workshop: Hide & Seek Poetry (The Hub) Sometimes the writing comes easily, but what do you do when the spring dries up or you have more sand than compost in your head? Come and learn to hunt and gather words at a two-hour poetry workshop with poets Jolyn Phillips and Karin Schimke. Tickets R120 through Webtickets.
 
SUNDAY 13h00 – 14h00
[104] The polylinguists (The Hub) Tom Dreyer asks Jennifer Friedman (English/Afrikaans) and Jolyn Phillips (English/Afrikaans/French) whether the ability to speak and write in different languages is a help or a hinderance?
 
Dawn GarischAccidentDawn Garisch
 
SATURDAY 13h00-14h00
[63] Dark things brought to light (Elephant & Barrel): Fred Strydom (Inside Out Man), Dawn Garisch (Accident) and Dale Halvorsen (Survivors’ Club with Lauren Beukes) discuss the darker side of human nature as reflected in their writing, and why readers feel the need to be disturbed.
 
Ishara MaharajNamaste LifeIshara Maharaj
 
FRIDAY 13h00-14h00
[22] The power to move us (Hospice Hall): Ishara Maharaj (Namaste Life) and Dennis Cruywagen (The Spiritual Mandela) discuss the joys and challenges of writing of spiritual matters in a contemporary world.
 
 
Colleen HiggsLooking for TroubleLava Lamp PoemsHalfborn WomenColleen Higgs
 
SUNDAY 13h00 – 14h00
[102] What publishers want (Council Chamber): In preparation for next year’s projected Porcupine’s Den event (think ‘Dragon’s Den’ for writers), would-be authors get to pick the brains of publishers Ester Levinrad (Jonathan Ball), Phehello Mofokeng (Geko Books) and Thabiso Mahlape (BlackBird Books), led by Colleen Higgs (Modjaji Books). Other publishers are welcome to attend and weigh in on the discussion.
 
Karin SchimkeBare and BreakingKarin Schimke
 
SUNDAY 10h00 – 12h00
[90] Workshop: Hide & Seek Poetry (The Hub) Sometimes the writing comes easily, but what do you do when the spring dries up or you have more sand than compost in your head? Come and learn to hunt and gather words at a two-hour poetry workshop with poets Jolyn Phillips and Karin Schimke. Tickets R120 through Webtickets.
 
Helen MoffettStrange FruitStrayHelen Moffett
 
SATURDAY 14h30-15h30
[70] What is feminism, and who ‘owns’ it? (Ebony Gallery): Helen Moffett (Prunings) asks the questions of poet and singer Blaq Pearl and Thabiso Mahlape (BlackBird Books).
 
SUNDAY 10h00-11h00
[87] A few good editors (Council Chamber): Alison Lowry and fellow editors Helen Moffett, Phehello Mofokeng and Thabiso Mahlape discuss the consistent criticism around the literary world of ‘poor editing’ and the state of the industry in South Africa.
 
Michelle HattinghI'm the Girl Who Was RapedMichelle Hattingh
 
SATURDAY 16h00-17h00
[73] From victim to survivor (Old School Hall): Michelle Hattingh (I’m the Girl Who Was Raped) uncovers stories of courage, faith and perseverance in the face of opposition and adversity as told by Grizelda Grootboom (Exit), Lindiwe Hani (Being Chris Hani’s Daughter) and Shamim Meer (Memories of Love and Struggle).
 
Shirmoney RhodeNomme 20 Delphi StraatShirmoney Rhode
 
SUNDAY 11h30 – 12h30
[93] Playing with words (Hospice Hall): On knowing the rules of writing, and how to break them: Sue de Groot tests the boundaries of poets Blaq Pearl and Shirmoney Rhode (Nommer 20 Delphi Straat), and novelist Claire Robertson (The Magistrate of Gower).

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Book Launch: Unlikely by Colleen Crawford Cousins

IMG_0036Modjaji Books and The Book Lounge are delighted to invite you to the launch of Colleen Crawford Cousins’ debut collection of poems, Unlikely.

As the publisher, I’m particularly thrilled to bring out this collection. Colleen Crawford Cousins was my first Modjaji matron, and she is my very dear friend. Her writing is strong, deeply felt, full of life, humour and shining intelligent clarity. It is my enormous honour to be Colleen’s friend and publisher and to bring her work into the light.

“Wry narratives, stored for decades, distilled and reclaimed fleeting feelings and feelings made to last in their weird word forms, meet and fitting.” Joan Metelerkamp

“In acutely observed poems, imbued with surprising geographies of imagery and tinged with irony, Crawford Cousins maps out the spaces between immensity and confinement, where people struggle with each other and themselves for a sense of fulfilment and belonging.” Kelwyn Sole

Unlikely front cover

Unlikely is a collection of poems by Colleen Crawford Cousins written over decades of reading and writing poetry. The collection is a distillation of a quiet, powerful voice that is an offering of love in a world and life that has been filled with light and anguish.

Colleen Crawford Cousins returned to South Africa in 1991 and began to live in the Afterwards. She consults nationally as a trainer, facilitator, writer and editor. She has been published in New Coin, Aerodrome, African Writing online and Stray. She is also the author of A Hundred Furrows, the Land Struggle in Zimbabwe 1890-1990 and a co-author of Lwaano Lwanyika, Tonga Book of the Earth.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday 2nd March 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, Corner of Roeland and Buitenkant Streets, Cape Town
  • Guest Speaker: Colleen Higgs
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

Unlikely
Book Details


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Book Launch: How to Open the Door by Marike Beyers

How to Open the DoorThe National English Literary Museum and Modjaji Books are delighted to invite you to the Grahamstown launch of “How to Open the Door” – poems by Marike Beyers. She will be introduced by Robert Berold.

Lonely, lovely and lyrical, Marike’s poems tell a uniquely South African story in a uniquely South African voice.

“Here is a distinctive new voice in South African poetry. Marike Beyer’s writing is both simple and highly complex at the same time, delicate and tender and hard and angry. She brings her own unique perspective to the old themes of family, home and identity.” Kobus Moolman

Marike Beyers lives in Grahamstown. Her poems have appeared in New Coin, New Contrast, Loop, Ons Klyntji, Aerial and Tyhini as well as a few anthologies (The Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Anthology; The Ground’s Ear; For Rhino in a Shrinking World). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Rhodes University. She acted as judge for the Dalro prize and the Percy Fitzpatrick Prize upon occasion. In 2011, she had a chapbook of poems, On Another Page, published by Aerial Publishing in Grahamstown.

Marike Beyers

How to Open the Door
Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 15 November 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: National English Literary Museum, 25A Worcester Street, Grahamstown
  • Guest Speaker: Robert Berold
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Matshoba Zongezile, NELM, z.matshoba@nelm.org.za
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

Book Details


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PE Book Launch: I’m the Girl Who Was Raped by Michelle Hattingh

I'm the Girl Who Was RapedMichelle HattinghFogarty’s and Modjaji Books invite you to the Port Elizabeth launch of I’m the Girl Who Was Raped, a memoir by Michelle Hattingh. The author comes from Port Elizabeth, so she is back in her home town talking about her incredibly courageous book.

“Compelling, clear and beautiful writing on such a necessary topic. She shatters rape myths on every page.” Jen Thorpe, gender activist and author of The Peculiars.

“Many people think middle class women are magically immune to rape or that if they are raped their easy access to the resources they need will be everything they need to recover completely. A book that discusses the cross cutting nature of the pain all women must feel when a man rapes them can only be welcomed in a time when communities across South Africa struggle with high rape rates.” Kathleen Dey of Rape Crisis

More about the book:
That morning, Michelle presented her Psychology honours thesis on men’s perceptions of rape. She started her presentation like this, “A woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read …” On that same evening, she goes to a party to celebrate attaining her degree. She and a friend go to the beach; the friend has something she wants to discuss. They are both robbed, assaulted and raped. Within minutes of getting help, Michelle realises she’ll never be herself again. She’s now “the girl who was raped.”

This book is Michelle’s fight to be herself again. Of the taint she feels, despite the support and resources at her disposal as the loved child of a successful middle-class family. Of the fall-out to friendships, job, identity. It’s Michelle’s brave way of standing up for the women in South Africa who are raped every day.

About the author:

Michelle Hattingh was born in South Africa in 1988. She attended school in Port Elizabeth and studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Stellenbosch University. She went on to do her Honours in Psychology at Cape Town University and now lives in Cape Town. Michelle works as senior online content producer at Marie Claire SA. Her work has been published in Elle SA, Marie Claire SA and Mail & Guardian. I’m the Girl Who Was Raped is her first book.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 12 May 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: GFI Gallery, 30 Park Drive, Central, Port Elizabeth
  • Guest Speaker: Emily Buchanan
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and snacks
  • RSVP: Fogarty’s, fogartys@global.co.za, 041 368 1425
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped
Book Details


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Modjaji authors at the 2016 FLF

The 2016 Franschhoek Literary Festival is around the corner. And we’re delighted that a number of new and more established Modjaji authors are taking part. We have three writers who live abroad participating, they are Charlotte Otter (Karkloof Blue) coming from Heidelberg in Germany, Isobel Dixon (Bearings) from London and Eliza Kentridge (Signs for an Exhibition) from Wivenhoe in the UK.

BearingsKarkloof BlueCheck out the programme and book your tickets soon, you don’t want to be disappointed.

Karin Schimke, award-winning poet and books editor (Bare & Breaking) is chairing a number of sessions.
Sindiwe Magona is one of the celebrities of the festival, and will be specially honoured this year. We published her poetry collection, Please Take Photographs. Wendy Woodward, poet and English Literature academic (The Saving Bannister), will be there.

Poet and performer, Khadija Heeger (Beyond the Delivery Room) is also on the programme.

Beverly Rycroft, poet and novelist, is also on the programme (missing).

Jolyn PhillipsTjieng Tjang TjerriesAnd the last Modjaji writer on the programme is Jolyn Phillips, whose wonderful new book, a collection of short stories, which we have heard has made it onto the Exclusive Books’ Homebru promotion, Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories is on a panel on Sunday at 1.00 with Deon Meyer, Rahla Xenopolous, chaired by Darrel Bristow Bovey.

There are two award announcements on the weekend of the Franschhoek Lit Fest. They are both on Saturday evening. The first is the Ingrid Jonker, two of our Ingrid Jonker past winners are on the festival programme, Karin Schimke and Beverly Rycroft. We have a couple of poets who are contenders for this year’s award: Elisa Galgut (The Attribute of Poetry) and Christine Coates (Homegrown).

And for this year’s Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize long list, we have Fiona SnyckersNow Following You. The shortlist of five will be announced on Saturday night during the FLF.

Bare and BreakingBeyond the Delivery RoomMissingBearingsPlease, Take PhotographsSigns for an Exhibition
Karkloof BlueTjieng Tjang Tjerries and other storiesA Saving BannisterThe Attribute of PoetryHomegrownNow Following You

Book details


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HUGE Modjaji WEBSITE SALE till the end of September only

Book MarkThe huge success of our discount boxes at the South African Book Fair in Jozi made us aware that South African readers are keen to buy books if the price is right. So we’re passing on similar discounts to you our readers who couldn’t be at the Fair. And at the same time clearing our warehouse of some of our older titles. But just till the 30th September there are HUGE discounts on older stock too. If you love a book bargain, you are going to love this sale. Check it out by clicking HERE


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Book Launch: Signs for an Exhibition by Eliza Kentridge

Signs for an ExhibitionModjaji Books, Love Books and the South African Psychoanalysis Initiative (SAPI) are delighted to invite you to the launch of Eliza Kentridge‘s debut collection of poems, Signs for an Exhibition. A poetry reading will be followed by a conversation between Eliza and psychoanalyst Mark Solms about the light her poems shed on the workings of her mind (or any mind).

Eliza Kentridge’s poems are autobiographical, the daughter of two lawyers who fought apartheid. In her twenties she left South Africa for England, where she became an artist. Against the dramatic background of her home country’s history, her focus is quieted, small and interior. With her mother afflicted by a serious neurological illness, she writes about family, love and place, as a woman who vividly recalls her girlhood self, gently and almost incidentally approaching one of the biggest questions: how does one live a life?

“Eliza Kentridge’s luminous Signs for an Exhibition is not so much a collection of discrete poems as a single continuous work that acquires increasing rhythmic and semantic power with each passing page. The poet’s agile movement from demotic utterance to perceptual fragment to tantalizing narrative moment do nothing less than create the startling illusion of having entered the fluctuations of another person’s intimate memories. This is a remarkable first book.” Siri Hustvedt

“Kentridge’s poems offer a direct line to her childhood and teenage years when she was ‘stapling the pages of myself together’. They are studded by sparks of metaphors and by a lightness of tone, a lack of melodrama.” Megan Hall

“These poems are beautiful… like reading a piece of blue sky” Dominique Botha

Eliza Kentridge

Eliza Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1962. She studied English Literature at Wits University before moving to England in the late eighties. She has worked for three decades as an artist, exhibiting in South Africa, England and the USA. She uses paper, fabric and clay to make work that revolves around glimpsed narratives and words – a sort of poetry. Now she outs herself as a writer, reverting to her original childhood plan. She lives with her family in a small waterside town in Essex.

For a Mail & Guardian review of the collection read here

Event Details

  • Date: Monday, 21 September 2015
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg
  • Guest Speaker: Mark Solms
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and canapés
  • RSVP: Love Books, 011 726 7408, 011 726 7408
    www.modajibooks.co.za

Signs for an ExhibitionBook Details


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Why we do what we do – a few thoughts about publishing poetry – post FLF2015

no matter how thin the spineModjaji Books generally publishes collections of poetry that have spines – no matter how slight, because that is what booksellers want.

We care what booksellers want because poets want their books in bookstores. They especially want their books in the stores that don’t care about poetry.

Our distributor/marketing people want to sub everything we publish to all the bookstores they work with.

We want to keep our distributor happy, we want to keep the poets happy, we want to keep the booksellers happy.

(The bookstores that don’t really care about poetry will return a great deal of the poetry they buy, all bought on SOR – sale or return. Pardon me if none of this is poetic.)

Poets want their books in bookstores because that means their book is really real.

We don’t usually publish chapbooks as debut collections because we consider the Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize.

We publish slim volumes of poems because these are taken more seriously by ‘the poetry establishment’.

The ‘poetry establishment’ takes slim volumes more seriously than: collections which contain the work of several poets, chapbooks, online publications, e-books, oral poetry.

Remind me again, who is the ‘poetry establishment’?

As publishers we consider everything we can, including publishing online, on phones, in pamphlets, as posters, on T-shirts, but so far we mostly stuck to the tried and tested technology of traditional book publishing on paper.

I find myself wincing when I hear poetry described as “content” and reading poetry described as “consuming” and publishing anything being described as “content delivery”. Is it a generational thing?

There is nothing more enlivening, nothing fresher, nothing that affects me as deeply as hearing a wonderful poet read her work. I’m thinking today of Jackie Kay.

Google Jackie Kay, google her reading “Fiere” - there are quite a few options on YouTube.

You’re welcome.


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Book Launch: Beyond Touch by Arja Salafranca

Beyond Touch e-inviteModjaji Books, Dye Hard Press, and Love Books are delighted to invite you to the launch of Arja Salafranca’s new collection of poetry, Beyond Touch. Deirdre Byrne will be in conversation with Arja Salafranca. Arja will also read from her new collection.

Arja Salafranca’s new poetry collection offers portraits of people on trains in England, as well as recounting the experience of being a stranger in Spain, where she was born. She treads warily on the icy streets of London, but returns years later to have a life-changing epiphany while rowing on the Thames. Her incisive, photographic gaze penetrates the lives of people, from an Indonesian woman in the sea to a child begging in Johannesburg. Yet the poetry is also personal, as it traces the slow but inevitable unwinding of a relationship. And then there’s an erotic intimacy, where love goes beyond touch.

Beyond Touch is a profound and evocative voyage of discovery towards self-realisation, surrender and an exhilarating “rush at life”, to the ultimate destination of an unexpected and achingly tender love. Arja Salafranca is one of South Africa’s finest contemporary poets and this collection deserves to be widely read and celebrated.”
- Michelle McGrane

There has always been a sense of separateness in Salafranca’s poems – even alienation – from the experience the poet carefully observes. While language allows the poet to record the world, capture it like a photograph, it also succeeds in creating an othering. Yet there is a shift in intimacy in the latter parts of this collection, surrender, perhaps, to an experience that evades the eclipse of words.”
-Alan Finlay

“Arja Salafranca proves here that the most effective poetry is always direct, concrete and singular. And, above all, frank. Even if it makes us flinch in recognition. Even if it leaves us slightly devastated. Certainly different.”
- Kobus Moolman

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 09 June 2015
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg
  • Guest Speaker: Deidre Byrne
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Love Books, kate@lovebooks.co.za, 011 726 7408
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

Beyond Touch
Book Details


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Poetry in South Africa – New Coin 50th Anniversary issue

New Coin 50th Anniversary issueGary Cummiskey, the editor of New Coin asked several people to write about the state of SA poetry as they see it. One of the people he asked was me. So here’s my take, I urge those of you who are interested in poetry in South Africa or in the world at large to subscribe to New Coin and in particular to order this copy from the ISEA.

The other participants in The State of South African Poetry: A Symposium are Mxolisi Nyezwa, Kobus Moolman, Kelwyn Sole, Dashen Naicker; Raphael d’Abdon, Lesego Rampolokeng, Colleen Higgs, Denis Hirson, Haidee Kruger, and Allan Kolski Horwitz.

As the publisher of Modjaji Books I don’t want to discuss the state of South African poetry at a macro level. What I want to do is to invite you to look at the Modjaji Books and Hands-On Books poetry lists. As of the 30 June 2014 we have published 27 new collections of poetry. All of these titles can be seen on our website www.modjajibooks.co.za where you will see the range, depth and variety of voices that we have published since 2007. Our very first title was a poetry collection, Megan Hall’s Fourth Child; it went on to win the Ingrid Jonker prize in 2008. Since then Beverly Rycroft was also awarded the Ingrid Jonker prize in 2012 for her collection, missing. We have had our poets receive other prizes and honours. Phillippa Yaa de Villiers won the 2011 SALA poetry prize and she is the Commonwealth Poet for 2014.

However, what I’m most proud of is that Modjaji Books has continued to publish and sell collections of poetry in a tumultuous and uncertain period in publishing and in a time of economic downturn globally. The rewards that poets receive for writing their poems and publishing collections are not monetary, but rather the same rewards that poets have enjoyed for centuries, the sense that there are readers who are hungry for their words, their images, the articulation of something that speaks to others. The unexpected emails and letters, the selection of a poem to be studied in schools, the invitation to read, the look on the face of someone in an audience listening to the poet read – these are some of the small, rich rewards for poets, apart from the making of the poem itself.

One of the threads I’ve tried to pick up in publishing collections has been to push the publishing boundaries of language and identity. For example Life in Translation by Azila Talit Reisenberger, Bare & Breaking by Karin Schimke, and Beyond the Delivery Room by Khadija Heeger – all feature poems in more than one language and in different varieties of language.

Another thread has been to interrogate ‘what is poetry’, for example, in Malika Ndlovu’s book – Invisible Earthquake: a woman’s journey through stillbirth – a book of poems, journal entries, essays and resource lists.

Investing time and money into publishing poetry is a somewhat odd enterprise, it is not at all rewarding financially, but somehow it seems necessary for me to do this work. Part of why I started Modjaji Books in 2007 was to claim space for voices that would not otherwise be published, and the voices that particularly concerned me were the voices of women. I will not go into a long argument explaining what I mean, those who know what I mean, know already. Those who don’t can go and research this and read about the feminist politics of publishing argued by much more sophisticated and scholarly writers. I saw that something needed to be done, so I have tried to do it, and I will continue to do this as long as I am able.

It is strange to me that something like poetry is such a contested space, but it is. And so I find it important to enter that space and open doors which were firmly shut. And if it wasn’t for Modjaji I fear many of those doors would still be firmly shut.


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