I am a South African writer, poet, and editor. My eight collections of poetry have appeared in South Africa, the UK and the USA. I have written plays, short stories, a novel, radio poetry programmes and news bulletins, academic papers and journal articles.
I was born in Durban, on the east coast of South Africa, but I have lived in Johannesburg for many years.
Comments from a reader in Sydney, Australia:
I was struck by several things: your rich and apt use of metaphor, your ability to project accurately into situations in which you had not been yourself (male persona, motherhood etc) and your tight control of language. Many of the lines, even whole stanzas, read like the Imagist poetry of Stevens and Pound and Williams: crisp, clean lines evoking vivid, focused pictures. I loved the occasional, unpredictable insertion of rhyme and rhythm, reminiscent of Eliot. It was never forced, always apt and more pleasurable for being gently surprising.
Cover photograph by Simon Sephton
About On Days Such as This
From the unusual opening poem (conflating birth with a car crash) to its close (an abandoned suitcase representing an entire lifetime), this book weaves its stories backwards and forwards through time and place. There is insight, sensuality, reflection, surprise, and humour as discovered through various personae – be it a tender mother, a heartbroken widow, or a male poet wrestling with writer’s block, as well as in objects such as an old chest of drawers, a bronze-age trumpet, or a piece of string. This compelling collection demonstrates technical and linguistic mastery and genuine philosophical depth. In language that is a joy to read, the poems illuminate the capacity for love, loss, hope, and passion which exists in each and every one of us.
About the cover photograph, by Simon Sephton
The vortex. This picture was taken at a little waterfall in a small stream on the Peninsula mountains in the Silvermine nature reserve in the winter of 2017. There had just been heavy rains after a dry patch, and the water was flowing fast.
A slow shutter speed created the streaks of light as droplets catching the sun became tracers, or shooting stars, but it is the combination of this with the dark hole in the middle lower third that exerts such gravity and draws the viewer in. The photograph can be both dark and threatening, or exuberant and energizing, depending on the state of mind of the viewer. The golds, greens, blues and browns are turbulent and charged with energy, but are shadowed by an uncertain presence. The strength of the water can both uplift or draw down.
This picture is available for purchase as a large print in a limited edition.