The Red Wheelbarrow: Dawn Garisch

Dawn Garisch will be the featured poet at The Red Wheelbarrow next week.

Dawn Garisch is an award-winning author and poet, a medical doctor and founding member of the Life Righting Collective. As an LRC facilitator, she teaches writing and poetry as a route to self-discovery, self-recovery and community building. Her second collection, Disturbance, (Karavan Press) came out in 2020.

Broken

A toy horse falls from the shelf, breaks a leg.
The small boy, tearful, shows an uncle 
who gives him a tube of glue:
The boy tries hard like he always does, 
not knowing how to fix 
his parent’s domestic mess. 

The horse leg sets, stuck back skew, 
now it’s lame, he’s made things worse. 
His father’s long gone, but he’s to blame, 
the glue of family rendered useless. 

The boy wanders out of the house, 
climbs the tree, sits by himself, sick
with crying. Wanting his father 
joined to his mother, wanting 
the father to come home to help him. 

What he wants is impossible, so he prays
for the leg to be restored like magic, 
so he can ride away.

— Dawn Garisch

As always, the reading by the featured poet will be followed by an open mic session for poets from the audience. Poets are welcome to read from their own work as well as from the work of a favourite poet.

Join Zoom Meeting: Dawn Garisch at The Red Wheelbarrow
Date: 18th August 2022
Time: 19:30 SAST

Meeting ID: 952 904 1131
Passcode: 12345

Poetry in McGregor 2021

The first Poetry in McGregor Festival Karavan Press poets participated in at a group event and it was a total success. Because of his academic commitments which took him to Pretoria this past weekend, Stephen Symons could not be with us, but John Maytham kindly agreed to read from Stephen’s poetry collections, FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT and Small Souls (a very limited special edition of his latest poems, not for sale, but the poems included will feature in Stephen’s forthcoming Selected Poems). Dawn Garisch and Justin Fox answered a few general questions about their poetry and read from their own collections, Disturbance and Beat Routes respectively, and it was obvious from the reactions of the audience that I am not the only one in love with the way these three poets craft words into art. Thank you to everyone who attended and who asked questions and bought books! We are grateful for the enthusiasm and generosity with which we have been received.

The rest of the festival was an immersion in words. ‘You are a river that cannot be denied,’ Malika Ndlovu began her reading at the festival with this line and reminded us that ‘love is persistently at work’, that ‘in my heart it is harvest time’, that ‘we are found’ – and so it felt, the bounty and the homecoming we experienced at the feast of poetry that was Poetry in McGregor this weekend.

During his performance of a script that Finuala Dowling compiled for him during lockdown, “Ice Cream, Thank You”, John Maytham quoted the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski: ‘praise the mutilated world’. The last twenty months have brought many of us to our knees, or worse. To be celebrating the written word among poets in front of live audiences was truly healing.

Poetry is ‘necessary’, Lara Kirsten said during her reading. Thank goodness there are so many fine poets who hold this truth close to their hearts and share it with us so abundantly.

It was also a joy to tell one of the young poets attending that it will be an honour to publish (hopefully, in the near future) the stunning poetry manuscript she had shared with me earlier this year. I hope that she will be reading from her debut collection at the next Poetry in McGregor Festival. Watch this space!

Thank you to all who make Poetry in McGregor possible! You are all ‘necessary’ and I am deeply grateful.

Literary greetings, Karina

POETRY IN MCGREGOR: KARAVAN POETS

Karavan Press Poets Dawn Garisch, Stephen Symons and Justin Fox read from and discuss their poetry collections

MC: Karina M. Szczurek (Karavan Press)

Sunday, 21 November: 9-10:30AM

@ Caritas | Temenos

Caritas at Temenos Cnr Voortrekker and Bree St., McGregor, Western Cape

Book your ticket here: R50

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, real and fictional

My mother’s garments 
never seemed to grow old.
Slack suits and twin sets
from the seventies,
woven from some synthetic
substance that did not wear
or tear, unlike the natural fibre
of her skin. My aged mother’s
delicate covering bled
every time she stumbled.
Worn out; worn to shreds.

— "Going home", Disturbance, Dawn Garisch


It has just gone six a.m. I walk my son down the road to the corner where we wait for his lift. The sun is rising, the light streaking the horizon gold. I comment on the morning buzz, the company we keep, power-walkers, the dog walkers, workers and school kids heading for the train. ‘The day carries on.’
Without you, the day must carry on.
Al says, ‘Of course, but let me remind you that you’re wearing pyjamas.’

— Death and the After Parties, Joanne Hichens


They fled with nothing, never stopping. Not even when his mother tripped, his sister, tied to her back, knocking her head so hard that a bump rose immediately. She had been crying, now she screamed. Yet still they ran, amid their own blood and spittle, as the black cloud of the burning valley hunted them, chasing them forward, forward, towards the blue sky.

— An Island, Karen Jennings


Now Shirley, you know, became a mother quite young – sixteen or something like that. She ran away from home with newborn Jason; his naeltjie at his belly hadn’t even fallen off yet. Came to Cape Town where she thought no one would find her. The Northern Cape was far.

— "Homeful", Let It Fall Where It Will, Lester Walbrugh


Lexi shrugged off her coat. She heard the rustle of beads as her mother, Sandra, came through the hippie curtain from the kitchen at the end of the long hallway. Like the town was bisected by a highway, so was their house by the passage.
‘I thought you would be asleep by now.’ Lexi feigned surprise.
‘I waited up. You’re my responsibility now.’ Her mother was in a kaftan, her hair long and loose. She looked like she’d escaped from the Mamas and the Papas.
‘Yay.’ The joys of being dumped and fleeced by her husband never ceased.

— A Fractured Land, Melissa A. Volker


I still remember my mother’s words when we got in the car to go to mass. ‘It’s Christmas, Mary, not a funeral.’ But I’ve always worn black. I would have said she was tempting providence, if that wasn’t exactly the sort of thing she would say. I should have, though. When we got home, a bunch of armed response cars were blocking the gates to the complex. The police were there. Men in bulletproof vests. Guns.

— A Hibiscus Coast, Nick Mulgrew


Not a word was exchanged between us as my mother and I made our way home. She must have seen how disappointed I was for, as soon as we walked into the house, she turned to me, demanding – ‘Where is the form?’
Puzzled, I looked at her. What use was that form now? What would she do with it? Only my father could sign it; and he had flatly refused, hadn’t he?
‘Give me the form, Thembi.’
‘Why, Mama?’
‘Letha, bo!’
My mother forged Baba’s signature.
I applied for a passport, astounded by my mother’s actions. She had shown me a side of her I didn’t suspect existed.

— Theatre Road, Sindiwe Magona


The lagoon has
forgotten us
like a son
sometimes
forgets his father

but never his mother

— "Port is red and starboard green", For Everything That Is Pointless and Perfect, Stephen Symons


But tell me this: where is his irrepressible, eternal soul? Because that is what interests me more. Where is his spirit, free of the gritty, grey residue of his body, which I have felt with my own hands? Because I, with the five senses of a woman, and undeniable sixth one 16 of a mother, cannot fathom the dimension within which my child now exists.

— "Lost", Earth to Mom, Sue Brown

SALE: 4 for R550, including delivery

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Dawn Garisch will be reading at The Red Wheelbarrow on Thursday, 4 March, 19:30

Next week’s featured poet is Dawn Garisch.

As always, the reading by the featured poet will be followed by an open mic session for poets from the audience. Poets are welcome to read from their own work as well as from the work of a favourite poet.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9529041131?pwd=M2VUL3RNWGMvMFZCU1Zuemt6QnU3Zz09

Date: 4 March 2021
Time: 19:30

Meeting ID: 952 904 1131
Passcode: 12345

Nina Geraghty reads Disturbance by Dawn Garisch

A straight from the heart reaction to Disturbance by Dawn Garisch after the launch of the poetry collection last week:

“Good morning Dawn… spent the rest of the evening reading your wonderful poems… like a skilled photographer, you capture the essence of a feeling-sense and then express it so it gets reproduced in me or maybe (as I couldn’t possibly know if that were true) better to say it evokes a complex emotional response that only that particular patterning of words can induce. Very apt collection title as each poem creates a ripple of disturbance, a rearrangement of emotional molecules that feels foreign yet satisfying. Favourites, apart from those read last night are: ‘Left Out’ (a punch in the heart) ‘Recovery’, ‘Pause’, ‘How Life Is’, ‘Littoral Zone’ (LOVE!), ‘Animal’, ‘Match’ (so clever), ‘Territory’ (aaaargh, yes), ‘Raw Notes’ (OMG!), ‘Getting Clear’, ‘Possession’ (I just about screamed aloud – Is Julia her real name?), ‘Flake’ made me laugh, ‘Sweet Girl’, ‘Waste’, ‘Going Home’. So much richness for me. Thank you.”

10 December 2020

Thank you to Nina for sharing and allowing us to post this enthusiastic reader’s review.