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South African Book Fair

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Poetry Reading with Modjaji Books at the CTBF

Malika Ndlovu, Fiona Zerbst, Sindiwe Magona, Helen Moffett and Joan MeterlekampPoets Joan Meterlekamp, Helen Moffett, Sindiwe Magona and Fiona Zerbst read from their new anthologies, published by Modjaji Books. The four poets were introduced by Modjaji publishing director, Colleen Higgs who was more than enthusiastic about the four collections: Burnt Offerings (Meterlekamp), Please, Take Photographs (Magona), Oleander (Zerbst), and Strange Fruit (Moffett).

Meterlekamp was the first to take to the stand with a reading of “Phenelope” from her collection, a poem that grapples with the raveling and unraveling of the threads of one’s experience, and the weaving together of both the male and female aspects of midlife. Helen Moffett read “Evening Stables”, evoking childhood memories of riding horses on their farm, which she dedicated to Anne Landsman, a then childhood friend. Other poems included “We will fight them at La Playa”, which details the events leading up to the purchase of a pair of pink “shagg me shoes”.

Magona’s poem, “Maria”, spans over almost nine decades. It details the main achievements and realizations of each of her personal “era’s” and is written for the birthday of an acquaintance’s mother. “Now I know all about life,” she concluded, “having made it from scratch myself.” Malika Ndlovu read on behalf of Fiona Zerbst, from her anthology Oleander.

The reading held the large crowd, despite the Book Fair Sunday programme drawing to a close, who remained to hear the threads of these women’s experiences being woven together,

Quote of the hour: “I just hope sincerely that there won’t be a goal while I read!”
-Helen Moffett (referring to the noise from the soccer stand)


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    June 15th, 2009 @11:20 #

    This was the highlight of my Book Fair experience so far. Sindiwe is such a natural, gifted poet. I was immediately blown away by her poem, "Maria". Helen, Of course, had me in tears. I will treasure both (signed) anthologies forever, and re-read them until they are tired and tatty.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    June 15th, 2009 @12:23 #

    Helen - i am well in, but taking it slowly. So far Fade is my fave. and then Reply to Ariel because i am absolutely impressed by the sound - have read it to my family and they agree.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    June 15th, 2009 @22:02 #

    Re my "quote of the hour", I should explain: very close by, folk were watching soccer on a big-screen TV (no, I have no idea what this had to do with the Book Fair either). When a goal was scored, folk cheered and blew vuvuzelas VERY LOUDLY. This was disconcerting to say the least.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    June 16th, 2009 @10:46 #

    Helen, you handled the vuvuzela interruption beautifully (I would have gone to pieces) and having now read Strange Fruit, I think the selection you chose to read was perfect - absolutely love We Will Fight them at La Playa. And Pushkin is glorious (especially as I know the prawn story). All of them, actually. It's a bugger to pick a favourite.


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