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.
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 email@example.com 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:
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.