The intricacy of a body in the dark These are the days of the clouds and colours of his childhood, of the secrets of forgotten garages with unwilling doors and small-paned windows, of the mysteries of broken glass, rust and enigmas of dust, And of the sides of houses too, of shadows leopard-crawling over mossed brick, and cool green thoughts and concrete crumbling to nothingness at the edge of tired swimming pools spun with holiday light. The intricacy of a body in the dark, how it reminds him of a life lived a lifetime away, where memory tastes of salted skin after a day at a beach, part sunlight, part ocean, and at the tip of its tongue the bitterness of its end. He stands, looking out at the waves and last scraps of surfers, imagining someone else watching him flared against sky leaking into cobalt. He has been turning a perfectly good key in a lock over and over his whole life but the door remains locked. He imagines she stands behind the door brushing the years between them from her hair. Now everything is silent and made of first light, except for the sound of that key turning helplessly and the distant keening of gulls. — Stephen Symons
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.
Date: 4 March 2021
Meeting ID: 952 904 1131
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.
Wednesday, 9 December 2020, 5.30 for 6PM!
Venue: Chartfield Guesthouse in Kalk Bay.
Dawn will be in conversation with Liesl Jobson.
Attend the launch, buy a copy of the book at the event and stand a chance of winning a one-night luxury stay for two at the Chartfield Guesthouse!
we are mere players
in a pantomime, performing parts
which must stay true to narrative alone;
right now, this means weeping salt
into a chilli stew to the sound of the sea –
that enormous story, consistent and unfathomed,
repeating outside in the dark, endlessly.
I write into questions of discomfort, tracking an image until the poem reveals a partial answer.
— Dawn Garisch
“They are poems to break hearts, and mend them again. And I swear I heard the sound of the potter’s wheel turning in The Sound in Stone.”
— Jacques Coetzee
Also available on Kindle: Disturbance by Dawn Garisch
Publication date: December 2020
About the author:
DAWN GARISCH Dawn Garisch is the highly acclaimed author of a non-fiction work, a memoir and seven novels, three of which were published in the UK. Her latest, Breaking Milk, was published by Karavan Press in 2019. She has written for television and has had five of her plays and a short film produced.
Her poem Blood Delta won the DALRO Prize in 2007 for best poem, and Miracle won the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry Award in 2011. Difficult Gifts, her debut poetry collection, was published the same year. She also writes short stories and her What to Do About Ricky won the Short.Sharp.Story competition in 2013.
Dawn’s novel Trespass was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in Africa in 2010, and Accident was longlisted for the Barry Ronge Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2018. She is part of the medical humanities movement and a founding member of the Life Righting Collective where she runs courses in memoir writing. Dawn is also a practising medical doctor and lives in Cape Town.
Disturbance, published by Karavan Press, is her second poetry collection.
Author photograph by AJ Wattamaniuk.
Space limited to 20 poetry lovers! Please book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
email@example.com / 0728683605
It is with delight that I share the news of Karavan Press’s first poetry collection: FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT by Stephen Symons. As designer/typesetter, Stephen has been part of the Karavan Press family since the very beginning. It is wonderful to welcome him to the press as an author! Next year, we will also be publishing Stephen’s debut collection of short stories. But first: the poetry!
“Stephen Symons’s new collection is engineered for flight, gliding its way between the heavy and the weightless, memory and forgetting. It is a self-proclaimed ‘language of feathers’ that makes this flight possible, a spiritual athleticism that brings to mind George Herbert, whose idea was that the ‘fall furthers the flight in me.’ Symons’s skill is in creating a fathomable sphere for the dimensions of war, contextualizing the enormous facts with small detail, whether referencing Amichai’s ‘diameters of bombs/and sadness of open closets’ or exploring the weightless dross of childhood in the beautiful piece ‘My son was conscripted.’ Symons creates an epicentre of violence by means of an exquisite prose poem sequence that reverberates even to the quietest poems in the book. But the work, as in all of Symons’s poetry, keeps thrusting us back into the present with all its perfect natural math as counter to aftermath: a child’s laughter; sunlight trickling over mossed stones; a ballet of cormorants. This is a beautiful book by one of South Africa’s most tender poets of witness.”
— David Keplinger, author of Another City (Milkweed Editions, 2018), and The Long Answer: New and Selected Poems (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2020)
FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT by Stephen Symons will be published in November 2020.
Stephen Symons has published poetry and short-fiction in journals, magazines and anthologies, locally and internationally. 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, was published by Dryad Press in 2018.
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.
Stillness is leaking from stone and concrete
Whether night or day
the world seems paused at 4AM —
Somewhere a grey priest
is ringing a church bell,
practicing for that moment
when the clocks cast off this spell.
I once gave a family
a jigsaw puzzle to pass the time
and now wonder if they ever
discovered it was missing
a single piece of sky.
Across the city, an old man
is watching that piece of sky
slide from the landscape on his curtains,
while next door, two lovers have become
the mapmakers of their own bodies.
Stillness is leaking
from stone and concrete
into the streets,
so each pool of reflection
is a duplicate earth distilled of humanity.
Most of the voices we know
have turned to dust and breadcrumbs,
snaring sunlight on the
floorboards of empty hallways.
Slowly, nature is making a temporary
comeback of clarity and vengeance
until each minute is missing a second
and each hour, a minute.
Eventually, all those seconds and minutes
will add to something
that is neither night nor day,
something closer to the purity
of a ticking clock in darkness,
marking that moment we
cast off the spell
and once again,
the streets will be full
of the languages
and laughter of countries
returning to blindness.
Stephen Symons is a graphic designer and poet. He holds an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Historical Studies. His poetry, essays and short-fiction have been published in journals, magazines and various anthologies, locally and internationally, including Prufrock, Carapace, Stanzas, New Contrast, New Coin, uHlanga, Aerodrome, Poetry Potion, The Kalahari Review, LitNet, Badilisha Poetry, Wavescape and Patricia Schonstein’s Africa anthology series. His short stories have also appeared in the Short.Sharp.Stories anthologies (2015, 2016 and 2017), amongst other anthologies and magazines. His unpublished collection, Spioenkop, was listed as a semi-finalist for the Hudson Prize for Poetry (US) in 2015. A selection of his poems was selected for an international anthology of contemporary poetry, titled A World Assembly of Poets (2017). Stephen’s debut collection of poetry, Questions for the Sea, was published in 2016 by uHlanga Poetry Press and received an honourable mention for The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry in 2017. His second collection of poetry, Landscapes of Light and Loss, was published in 2018 by Dryad Press. He lives in Oranjezicht with his wife and two children.
Stephen has designed (cover and typesetting) the following books for Karavan Press: