Posts Tagged ‘AVBOB Poetry’

Gerhard Barkhuizen. Dislojale verset

Wednesday, June 1st, 2022




Dislojale verset

Jou oë kaats

die onvermoë om vrees

in myne raak te lees.

Jy ruik nie die asem

wat honger

deur gebarste lippe wasem.

Jy bly doof

vir my storie wat vertel

van daklek en winterhel.

My koker met die Quink trek leeg,

ek vul dit aan by Total in ’n steeg.

Ek pen sò my verhaal

in die ontvlambare

twaalfde taal.


Hierdie gedig – ’n inskrywing vir die jaarlikse AVBOB Poësiekompetisie – is in die AVBOB Poësiebiblioteek gepubliseer, en word herpubliseer met toestemming van die AVBOB Poësieprojek. Klik hier om toegang tot meer as 17 000 gedigte in al 11 amptelike Suid-Afrikaanse tale te kry:


Persverklaring: AVBOB Poetry

Thursday, March 17th, 2022


Malika Ndlovu (Foto: Dirk Skiba)



11 March 2022


Poësie as genesing in Menseregtemaand, met Malika Ndlovu


In Maart gee die AVBOB Poësiekompetisie erkenning aan diegene wat werk om menseregte te bevorder. Histories onthou ons Sharpeville (21 Maart 1960), maar die beskerming van menseregte en herstel van menseregtevergrype is ‘n voortdurende opdrag. Malika Ndlovu is deel van die  Spieel Arts Therapies Collective, ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse organisasie wat daartoe verbind is om gemeenskapsgebaseerde kreatiewe inisiatiewe te verskaf wat ongelykheid en intergenerasionele trauma aanspreek.


Lees die hele persverklaring by hierdie skakel:



AVBOB Persverklaring: Wêreld vleilanddag en ekopoësie

Tuesday, February 1st, 2022





Released: 28 January 2022


Healing flow on World Wetlands Day with Tania Haberland and ecopoetry


Since its inception, the AVBOB Poetry Project has supported grieving people by offering the resources of reading and writing poetry. Words that speak to our experience of being adrift in the waters of mourning help to create a tiny raft of meaning that enables us to survive bereavement instead of drowning in it. On World Wetlands Day (2 February), we explore this precious, but threatened, natural resource through the eyes of award-winning poet, Tania Haberland.


Lees die hele persverklaring hier:



AVBOB Poetry. Persvrystelling

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021






Released: 20 September 2021


An unsettled time – an invitation to reimagine heritage with Simon van Schalkwyk

How do we celebrate Heritage Day (24 September) in an unsettled time? In the face of a pandemic, ideas of identity seem as superfluous and dangerous as flames on “Braai Day”. The AVBOB Poetry Project exists to put poetry in reach of those who grieve. It also serves to educate and encourage aspirant poets to expand their horizons by studying excellent poetry. Simon van Schalkwyk’s debut collection, Transcontinental Delay, is the most fitting recommendation in Heritage Month.

“Has there ever been a time in South Africa that has not been unsettled?” asks the poet, whose work explores the loss of language and culture and the nostalgic sense of settled time. He studied at the University of Cape Town, has travelled widely and now lectures on American and world literature in the English Department at Wits University.

As a so-called ‘coloured’ with a traditional Afrikaner surname, Simon van Schalkwyk is sometimes perceived as ‘white’. In a fabulous interview with Lidudumalingani in the Johannesburg Review of Books, he answers the Delphic question, and it is from this position that he is especially well placed to explore the themes of disrupted time and language. Implicit in the title of his book are issues of delay – the one-way-ness of language, the impossible slowness of translation, of decolonised identity, of colonial redress.

Transcontinental Delay, published in March this year by Dryad Press, explores experiences of internal and external location and dislocation wherever the poet finds himself, both home and away. The collection traverses continents and ages, compressing transcontinental and tectonic shifts into translucent verses. It’s as if the elemental delay that is our human history underpins each poem while inherently questioning: Who knows what happened next? Who visited them? as if the poet is investigating the meaning of belonging and connectedness in every poem – to the place where he stands, to the country, to the time, to the other (beloved or not), and even to the earth.

The volume is suffused with a definite geography, revealing the influence of his mentor, Stephen Watson. Various towns, rivers and vistas appear alongside the fault lines of who we are – where we come from, our multiple identities and various histories. Considering that all our ancestors were travellers – both those who arrived on ships and those who roamed the continent – the poet invites a new reading of migration.

Simon says, “I like the idea of ‘fault lines’ as a way to think about the relationship between place and identity. WH Auden, for whom questions of place and landscape are arguably vital, says somewhere that we are ‘faulted’[1] into being. The geological and moral dimensions of ‘fault/faulted’ speaks to the relationship between place and personality: they never quite match up, can’t be easily reconciled.”

“‘Floating Points’ was an attempt to signal some sense of drift as much as to suggest that one carries one’s personal and political history along like luggage, and that one can unpack this in and onto places that seem quite far afield from ones’ personal concerns – but then also to recognise that and to try to leave the baggage ‘at home’, so to speak; to try not to burden other spaces, places, or things with personal preoccupations, if only to see some elsewhere more clearly.”

“But, of course, the fault here is that one invariably fails to do this. I am less preoccupied with ancestral histories because of this commitment to faults: I am more interested in differences and failures than similarities, commonalities, successes.”

The yearning for rootedness and the tendency towards rootlessness are curiously competing dimensions of human nature and feature consistently in the collection. Simon wonders whether that yearning is for some kind of return to a lost place or history – a lost home, if you will – or whether it’s a yearning for some kind of liberation from place, history, home. He consciously kept this question in mind.

He says, “The collection depends on a tension between, on the one hand, an attempt to acknowledge how familiar places may be decidedly undesirable and unsatisfying and, on the other, that unfamiliar places may be as desired as they are discomforting.”

The poem ‘Infauna’ has an ancient quality to it, as if it might have been written by a Strandloper, whose signs are now lost, whose language of clicks was rendered too late with apostrophes and slashes, dashes and exclamation marks.




Cloudless before sunset, a day without fog,
clear as white handkerchiefs waving away
ships and present commitments.
An apostrophe also for the duneless future.

Who wades, shin-deep, between sculpins,
silver and quick, in the pellucid shallows
of the Kromme? What are these murmuring flues,
submerged corridors, enclosed labyrinths,

suggesting a deeper habitat? Inter-tidal plateau,
crystalline floodplain, freshwater, salt,
stray aquarelle of urchin, isolated hydra, detached
polyp, sessile and repeating: the ghost crab’s lair.


Speaking about this poem, Simon says, “A sense of inability to see clearly, or perhaps to imagine clear alternatives to what seems to be an increasingly claustrophobic contemporary moment is evident in ‘Infauna’. The poem speaks to the idea of somehow knowing that there are these other spaces, that there are other modes of life and living…”

“Reading this as written by a Strandloper works as a suitable allegory – the detached polyp speaks to the kinds of detachment and alienation I was aiming at when developing this particular poetic persona. Given the scale of our current global ecological crisis, I increasingly feel that it might be time to discard allegorical readings and recognise the natural world – such as that evinced by the poem – as alternative spaces of life and living that are profoundly more than human and which are perhaps best left alone.”

What the poet touches, what is left alone, and where his gaze falls must be experienced first-hand. Read the work, or better yet, hear the poet reading it himself. You might have a visceral sense of the ground beneath your feet dropping away, of falling into a reality from which you have become estranged… Transcontinental Delay could be a homecoming, even if its words and vistas are utterly new to you.

Do you have a poem that explores other modes of life and living in a time of crisis? The AVBOB Poetry Competition invites poets to submit poems of hope and comfort in all 11 official languages. The competition closes at 23h59 on 30 November and poets may enter up to 10 poems each. To register and enter visit:


 [1] Auden’s “New Year Letter”, line 1110.


Simon van Schalkwyk





Marinda Botes. TV-poësiereekse en haar muses

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021


Die vierde TV-seisoen van Ek wou nog sê…, ’n uitvloeisel van die AVBOB Poësieprojek se jaarlikse poësiekompetisie, was ’n reuse sukses – dr Daniel Hugo, ankeraanbieder noem die AVBOB Poësiereekse nie om dowe neute “’n ode aan ’n lewende monument vir meertalige poësie” nie. Waar 2020 se I wish I’d said (SABC 2) op die meertaligheid van Suid-Afrikaanse digkuns fokus, val die klem in Ek wou nog sê…(VIA) op Afrikaanse digters. Die AVBOB Poësieprojek is in 2017 van stapel gestuur om die universele behoefte van pyn en verlies wat die dood van ’n geliefde laat, aan te spreek; en wat is beter as poësie om dié onbegrip te verwoord? Goeie nuus is dat diegene wat die Afrikaanse programreeks misgeloop het, dit binnekort op YouTube te siene sal kry, soos die voorganger, I wish I’d said.

In die tien episodes van Ek wou nog sê…is uitgelese gaste en digters soos Antjie Krog, Diana Ferrus, Louis Esterhuizen, asook debutante soos die bekende prosateur, Fanie de Villiers (Kleinboer) en Lynthia Julius genader vir gesprekvoering. Prof Joan Hambidge en Nini Bennett het onlangse bundels geresenseer – ’n nuwe toevoeging tot die reeks wat volgens BRAND et al en die vervaardigers die toeganklikheid van poësie benadruk, maar ook alle digters uitnooi om deel te neem aan die AVBOB Poësieprojek. As gevolg van die diversiteit van die AVBOB Poësiereekse is Ek wou nog sê…onder meer by die Pretoria Buiteklub, asook in Wellington, by die Breytenbachsentrum verfilm. Die meertalige I wish I’d said, op sy beurt, se 13 episodes is in 30 stede, oor ’n afstand van 11 000 km, en oor ’n tydperk van 40 dae verfilm. Maar poësie ken nie grense nie, en die IWIS-produksiespan het ’n odusseia onderneem om die bande van liefde en verlies, soos verbeeld teen die reële landskappe van die wendigters se lewens, na die kykers te bring. Hierdie produksie wat poësie in al elf amptelike landstale bevorder, is vergesel van Engelse onderskrifte. BRAND et al se produksiespan het ook hiérdie reeks, ’n kollektiewe ontdekkingsreis in die psige van hedendaagse Suid-Afrikaanse digkuns, se afronding hanteer.

Hoe vergelyk AVBOB se televisiereekse met hulle oorsese eweknieë, kan mens tereg vra? Digters is maar kamerasku, waarskynlik introverte ook… (alhoewel ek nie wil veralgemeen nie). Die antwoord is eenvoudig: poësiereekse soos dié is skaars. Gesog, eintlik. Dokumentêre oor digters wat oorlede is, is geredelik beskikbaar. Een van die bekendste lewende televisie-oomblikke van ’n groot digter is waarskynlik dié van WH Auden wat in 1972 op die geselsprogram, Parkinson (BBC 1) gesê het, en ek haal aan: “A poet – pardon me, a citizen – has one political duty, which is to try, and by one’s own example, to protect the purity of the language. I’m a passionate formalist on hedonistic grounds.” Auden het aangesluit by die populêre kultuur met sy gewilde gedig in die film, Four Weddings and a Funeral; en hy het opgetree as karakter in ’n drama van Alan Bennett, The Habit of Art.

In 1988 het The Lannan Foundation Video Series verskyn (die Lannan Foundation was bekend vir die bevordering van kulturele vryheid, diversiteit en kreatiwiteit; skrywers kon sonder vooroordeel gesels oor hoe politiek en kultuur hulle persoonlike en eie muses beïnvloed). Hierdie reeks bly ’n klassieke ou juweel en is gratis versprei aan biblioteke, opvoedkundige en korrektiewe instansies. Nog ’n voorbeeld: in 2018 is Poetry in America geskep, ’n televisiepoësiereeks en multidigitale inisiatief wat poësie dwarsoor die wêreld na die klas- en woonkamers van hul kykers bring. In ’n ryk dokumentêre styl is digters, byvoorbeeld Allen Ginsberg na San Francisco, en Emily Dickinson na Amherst, gevolg. Die reeks delf diep in die Amerikaanse literêre verbeelding.

Daar is egter ’n opwindende oplewing in “the third golden age”, of “the high art era of TV”, of eenvoudig gestel: “the age of art television”. Die fusie van letterkunde en TV-narratiewe sorg vir kwaliteit produksies, soos virtuele romans en die impak van literêre diskoers op TV – transmedia. Met die ontploffing van kabelnetwerktegnologie het minireekse ’n ongekende opbloei getoon, ook in kwaliteit. Uiteraard bly poësie nie agter nie. In hierdie goue eeu van multimedia “ken” baie kykers reeds hulle gunsteling digters via sosiale media, maar ’n poësiereeks soos Ek wou nog sê…is meer as net vermaak. Die onmiddellikheid van die televisiemedium stel kykers in staat om literêre diskoers en gesprekvoering aan te moedig – en om krities te dink oor die poësielandskap van die dag. ’n Meer intieme kennismaking met ’n digter stimuleer die verkope van digbundels en bevorder die lees van hedendaagse poësie. Kykers word bekend gestel aan die diversiteit in Afrikaanse poësie, byvoorbeeld die verskille in gender, kulture en taalvariëteite. Prof Hambidge en Nini Bennett se TV-resensies gee ’n toeganklike kyk op onlangs verskene bundels, wat ook dié bundels ontsluit en verdere belangstelling mag prikkel. AVBOB se poësiewebwerf word die “poësiebiblioteek” genoem, en só beskik die YouTube-skakels van afgehandelde uitsendings ook oor ’n argieveringsfunksie, wat moontlikhede vir toekomstige literêre studie inhou.

Om ’n goeie onderhoud te voer, is nie so eenvoudig soos ’n blote vraag-antwoord-sessie nie. Met die onlangse Ek wou nog sê…het Daniel Hugo, gemeet aan die kriteria van goeie onderhoudvoering, hom uitstekend van sy taak gekwyt. Hy het ’n kalmte uitgestraal wat die mees senuagtige digter genoop het om oop te maak; om ontvanklik te wees vir sy vrae. Hugo se mooi stem is natuurlik ’n bonuspunt. Hy het die strik vermy om gekompliseerde en tegniese vrae te vra. Onderhoudvoerders, wat kenners in hul veld is, maak hulle dikwels skuldig hieraan – en die “vrae” word dan eerder ’n uitstal van persoonlike kennis as om die aangesprokene te lei tot ’n sinvolle antwoord. Hugo se vrae was bondig, alhoewel dit getuig het van ’n grondige kennis van die digters se werk, en die opvolgvrae was sinvol. Die aanbieder het aandagtig – intens, eintlik – geluister na die gaste; mens kon die belangstelling op sy gesig sien. (Sommige onderhoudvoerders is so haastig om aan te beweeg na die volgende vraag, dat hulle skaars luister na wat gesê word.) Ten laaste: Hugo se vermoë om aan te pas by die verskillende persoonlikhede en oeuvres van die ateljeegaste, het opgeval. ’n Digter soos vader Jacobus van der Riet, ’n priester in die Grieks-Ortodokse Kerk se aanslag (ernstig) verskil uiteraard van die jeugdige energie van ’n digter soos Lynthia Julius. Die meertalige reeks, I wish I’d said se waarde lê in die empatiese impetus: deur wisselende fokalisering- en perspektiefwisseling “sien” die kyker via die krag van poësie hoe ander taal- en kultuurgroepe leef en poësie benader. Die AVBOB Poësieprojek is reeds nasionaal en internasionaal bekroon: Pendoring, Assegai, PRISM en M&M Global Awards. En dié televisiereekse speel toenemend ’n groter rol in die lewens van aspirantdigters, studente en die lesers van poësie.


Meer inligting oor AVBOB se vierde reeks “Ek wou nog sê …” is beskikbaar by:


Ek wou nog sê. Episode 10 – 15 Februarie 2021

Saturday, February 13th, 2021




Episode 10 van Ek wou nog sê word Maandagaand 15 Februarie 2021 om 19:30 – 20:00 op VIA uitgesaai. Daar is ‘n heruitsending op 21 Februarie 2021 om 22:00.

In hierdie episode voer Daniel Hugo ‘n onderhoud met Lynthia Julius en Nini Bennet resenseer Bientang van Jolyn Philips.


Ek wou nog sê. Episode 9 – 8 Februarie 2021

Saturday, February 6th, 2021




Episode 9 van Ek wou nog sê word Maandagaand 8 Februarie 2021 om 19:30 – 20:00 op VIA uitgesaai. Daar is ‘n heruitsending op 14 Februarie 2021 om 22:00.

In hierdie episode voer Daniel Hugo ‘n onderhoud met Johann de Lange en Joan Hambidge resenseer Die waarheid oor duiwe van Gisela Ullyatt.


Ek wou nog sê. Episode 8 – 1 Februarie 2021

Saturday, January 30th, 2021




Episode 8 van Ek wou nog sê word Maandagaand 1 Februarie 2021 om 19:30 – 20:00 op VIA uitgesaai. Daar is ‘n heruitsending op 14 Februarie 2021 om 22:00.

In hierdie episode voer Daniel Hugo ‘n onderhoud met Churchil Naudé en Joan Hambidge resenseer By die dag van Eunice Basson.