Bouncing Poetry off an Art Exhibition

It’s been a while! During a couple of big career changes this site went underground for a while. Vanoggend toe ek sit en gedigte print vir vanmiddag se voorlesing, het ek met ‘n slag onthou dat dit seker tyd is om weer ‘n slag ‘n verskyning aanlyn te maak. I’ll tell you another time about the collection of virtual travel haiku I piled up during Lockdown.

Today I’m stepping out with a brand-new collection, literally hot off the printer. The artist Diane Harper told me about an art exhibition, Landscape, in Cape Town she was hosting along with ceramic artists Sarah Walters and David Walters at the Sarah Walters Gallery. And, because we looked out of such similar locked down windows over the past two year, working with landscapes, we started talking about the idea of bouncing a collection of poems off the art works in the exhibition.

It’s been truly inspiring, sitting down to create such a focused collection, inspired by their beautiful, rich art and the coastline of my daily walks. Thank you, Diane, Sarah and David, for this opportunity to collaborate. I will carry your art with me for a long time.

Haiku Workshops and a New Poem!

Goeiedag, from a cold, sunny Potchefstroom!

I read at Off The Wall!

First, I’d like to thank everyone who attended my reading at Off The Wall in Cape Town last month. It was a lovely experience to read to such a friendly, appreciative audience and I heard some really wonderful poems during the open mic afterwards.

Off The Wall Poetry performing is a weekly poetry event in Observatory, Cape Town. Every Thursday night there’s a different featured poet at A Touch of Madness Restaurant with an open mic session afterwards.  I’m looking forward to reading at the open mic with some of you there soon!

Some of the poems I read are already here on my site, go take a look if you like.

Haiku Workshops

So, what I’m I doing in Potchefstroom? Bit far from home for this time of the year, right? Well, teaching German is one of the many things I do and for the past month I substituted for a friend who teaches German here.

One big highlight was teaching a workshop on writing haiku in German. You see, I’m currently working on a book in which I tell some stories about the benefits of learning just a few words in a foreign language.

In this workshop, I showed the participants that they can already use the bit of German that they know to write some tiny poems. It was such fun! We had some participants joining in via social media as well. See some of the haiku here on Twitter and look out for the hashtag #GermanHaikuWorkshop – I’ll be using that for future workshops too.

Speaking of which, the next one is coming up this Saturday, 11 August.

It’s a teleworkshop, so you can take part from anywhere in the world. In this free mini workshop, I’ll show you how you can use the ancient art of writing haiku – in a language you don’t speak so well. So, if you feel a bit stuck in a rut and you have a second or tenth language you want to stretch a bit, bring some pen and paper and join me to write some tiny poems.

The workshop itself is free, but you have to call in to a FreeConferencing number, so it will cost you a local phone call/ Skype call in your country.

How does it work?

You dial the number, then once you get prompted for the access code, you enter the access code (on your phone or your Skype key pad), followed by the # key. Ignore them if they ask if you’re the host. You’re not the host. I’m the host. If there’s a lot of noise or you can’t get through, hang up and try again.

Date: Saturday 11 August

Time: 5pm (South African Time)

Duration: About an hour.

Phone: US +1 (712) 770 4646; South Africa +27 87 825 0172; UK +44 330 998 1261; France: +33 7 55 51 15 97; Germany +49 221 98 203 459

Mail me at for numbers in other countries.

Access Code: 899991

I’m recording the call so that I can use the things I say in my book and for future workshops. I hope that, besides leaving with the little poems, you’ll also walk away feeling cheered and refreshed.

A New Poem

So, one of the memorable things I did in Potchefstroom was watching the blood moon lunar eclipse the other night – to the soundtrack of, uhm, student life. Here’s the draft version, fresh off the garden table:

Moon Eclipse

Pulling the blanket tight

against partly chilled party music

drifting in exhausting beats

from the walled-off next door.

And so, we all watch

the bright moon

steeping in our tea-coloured shade.

The handful of scattered stars

and a copper-coloured planet

sink down to our frozen faces

blinded by our own shadow.

Reading tonight at Off The Wall, Cape Town!

As jy in die omgewing is, I’m the featured poet at this week’s Off The Wall poetry evening in Observatory, Cape Town. This is a weekly event in Cape Town and I’ve listened to some wonderful poets there in the past. My reading is followed by their usual open mic, and I would love to hear your poems as well.

This is my first 2018 appearance and I’m running around excitedly, printing off the last poems. Here’s a sneak look at a brand-new one from the Little Karoo Collection:

Little Karoo Evening Breeze

 In the evenings when the little dogs

crack through the yellow bushes –

there might be a South wind.

And only the rock banks cling to the day’s heat

like a scorpion on a thick curtain

when the windows could finally open.


For the Afrikaans version of this one, and many other poems, come listen tonight! Details on the OTW blog or their FB page.