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

Stephen Symons will be reading at The Red Wheelbarrow on Thursday, 3 June 2021, 19:30

Stephen Symons will be the featured poet at The Red Wheelbarrow next week.

Stephen Symons is a graphic designer and Postdoctoral Mellon Fellow at the University of Pretoria. He holds an MA in Creative Writing (UCT) and a PhD in History (UP). Symons’s poetry collections (Questions for the Sea, 2016 & Landscapes of Light and Loss, 2018) and short stories have been published locally and internationally. He was short-listed for the American Hudson Prize for Poetry (2015), Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry (2017) and the Ingrid Jonker Prize for Poetry (2018). His third collection, For Everything that is Perfect and Pointless was published in 2020. He lives with his family in Oranjezicht, Cape Town.

**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: 3 June 2021
Time: 19:30

Meeting ID: 952 904 1131
Passcode: 12345

Poems by poets featured previously at TRW can be found on their blog.

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