In Small Souls, words resist the passage of time and provide calm acceptance of that which is inevitable. And thus, the witnessing carries on with elegant care, even if not ease: the poet observes the world around us ‘in a time of sickness’ and the resulting intricacies of homelife put under the pressure of current circumstances and the relentlessness of time. The sun rises and sets, the tides obey their eternal rhythm, we grow old, our children spread their wings, forcing us continuously to find new maps for navigating future skies. Flight – ‘wings dusted / with the ashes of last light’ – is an unmistakable thematic link to Symons’s previous collections.

The path of a lone bird
skimming cloud
after a storm

given its altitude

but music nonetheless
above a scuttled country.

– ‘A short history of love’

Throughout the ages, love triumphs, refusing to be silent. As does poetry. They are inseparable, after all. In these collected and new poems, Symons offers us the greatest of gifts: balm for (sm)all souls.

– Karina M. Szczurek, Introduction, Small Souls

Publication date: November 2022

ISBN: 978-1-7764064-6-3

STEPHEN SYMONS has published poetry and short-fiction in local and international journals, magazines and anthologies. His debut collection, Questions for the Sea (uHlanga, 2016), received an honourable mention for the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, and was also shortlisted for the 2017 Ingrid Jonker Prize. His unpublished collection Spioenkop was a semi-finalist for the Hudson Prize for Poetry (USA) in 2015. His second collection, Landscapes of Light and Loss (Dryad Press), was published in 2018, and third collection, FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT (Karavan Press), in 2020. Small Souls includes the winning poem of the 2021 The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Competition, “Small souls”. Symons holds a PhD in History (University of Pretoria) and an MA in Creative Writing (University of Cape Town). He lives with his family in Oranjezicht, Cape Town.

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