Over the three years of the festival it has been a treat to meet a special group of people. Once again it was a joy to catch up with poets who have been with us on this special journey from the start. Ian McCallum was a revelation in his first festival, and he continues to astound, inspire and entertain us with his work. Bob Commin is a delight. Blessed with a rich, mature and inspiring voice and filled with an infectious love of life, Bob once again entertained us- this time with his Cowboy Poetry ! Liesl Jobson once again brought her bassoon and poetry to entertain us. Helen Moffett was once again larger than life and full of fun. Kerry Hammerton was there again- inspiring budding poets and gently helping them to achieve that long desired success. Warm and wonderful, Marguerite Van Der Merwe once again led groups through the stunning gardens of Temenos.
Gentle and caring, Patricia Schonstein ,the maestro behind the Anthology. She lovingly brings together the whole project, and we are deeply indebted to her for her enthusiastic commitment to a very special project. And we get a bonus with Patch- her wonderful husband, Don, and delightful family are always there in support.
Thank you for your special support for our festival. We love you. Floris Brown from Worcester once again joined us. He brought with him blind children from the Pionier School in Worcester. It was an honour to hear these special children reciting their poetry. Thank you Floris for your support. Over at De Akker we welcomed old friends Graham Dukas and Wendy Woodard. Thank you for your continued support of the festival. So wonderful to see old friend, Dorian Haarhoff, again. Dorian is a special, loving man, and we so enjoy having him with us.
All in all it was once again a joy to catch up with old friends, and we hope the future continues to bless us with your presence at this special festival.
In what we hope is becoming a festival tradition, Festival Co-ordinator and all round Superwoman Jennifer Johnson and husband Martyn open their beautiful home, La Bonheur, to all to end the festival with a Potjie Dinner and Poetry.
As usual the food was superb, and the entertainment was provided by Lara Kirsten on piano, and locals Dave and Neil. They shared a tribute to Irish Poetry, in their own inimitable way.
The evening was thoroughly enjoyable and carried on till late in the night with a tired but happy group of organisers finally letting their hair down!
Antjie Krog had entertained the youngsters with aplomb on Friday and I was so looking forward to hearing her adult poetry on Saturday. The venue was again the NG Kerk, but this time the audience was a bit older than the throng who had rocked the Kerk the day before.
Because I had never really read her poetry, I did not quite know what to expect. What a woman. Her poetry is raw, honest and stunning. She leaves no emotional stone unturned in her quest for an open, honest examination of the human state. It was in turns brutal and lyrical. I left feeling like my chest had been ripped apart and my soul exposed to the world. It was just brilliant!
On behalf of our committee I would like to thank all the villagers who so generously came on board to assist us with the McGregor Poetry Festival. I do appreciate your assistance whether it was offering accommodation to the poets, helping out at the venues, providing food for the poets or being great ambassadors for McGregor - which you all were.
The poets delighted in the festival and all want to return. This was our third festival and I am happy to say that the media coverage we received was stupendous. It certainly seems that the event is here to stay. Of course we learn as we go along and are grateful for the feedback we have received. It encourages us to keep the faith and to improve.
I would like to share what singer/poet Gert Vlok Nel shared with me yesterday.
‘Thank you to all of you for creating the Poetry Festival. It is a warm thing in a cold world’
What a treat it was to see Mary Corpe’s dancers in action over the festival. Mary has singlehandedly trained a Dance Group, The Next Step Dance Company, and also a ballet group, The First Step Company.
The children are all locals, and Mary has done a stunning job with them. This was very evident when they performed on the Saturday of the festival. They delighted the audience as they performed outside the Church Hall, and visitors to McGregor were amazed to see the quality of Dance on offer.
Both groups then delighted the large crowd attending the Poetry Competition Prizegiving, with their own versions of I am an African Child.
Thank you Mary- you are a very special lady!
David Magner All event pictures at the following link:
Judging a competition like this was no easy task! The organisers received hundreds of entries, and it was a pleasurable, though lengthy- process to give each entrant due diligence. Finding a winner in each category had a number of difficulties. The poetry reflected different styles and content, and was also in different languages.
Afrikaans and English entries were separated- unfortunately we had no IsiXhosa entries this year- and the judges spent many hours whittling their piles down. When we arrived at a more manageable number, all the shortlisted poems were read out loud to each other. A further shortlist was thus developed. The judges then arrived at what they considered their top three in each language in each section. Independent poets were then consulted as to their opinions. We were happy to note that their choices mirrored ours. We then sat together as a group and arrived at a final decision as to the top poem in each category.
The schools’ section:
Under 18 yr finalist Onele Rolobile is from Cape Town and attends The Cape Academy of Mathematics , Science and Technology. She won a Gift Voucher for R2000 from Exclusive Books for her poem I’m at War
I’m At war by Onele Rolobile
I’m at war with
I’m at war with
I was raised to
always trust your instinct
what I think is
right IS right
but lately I’m
afraid they will kill me
I’m afraid of
the reflection I see in the mirror
I know that
WHAT I see is not WHO I am
and Lord knows
my mom didn’t raise a vindictive monster
WHO AM I
I’m at war, but
I don’t even know who I’m at war with…
but they tell
you that you can lose the battle but win the war
See… this is
why I’m at war
world I live in tells me I’m crazy for being myself
sixteen year olds that having “relationship” goals is better than having “life”
They call it
living in the moment,YOLO
I’m at war ..
But it’s no
longer with myself
Its with who
I’m SUPPOSE to be ..
The winner in this section was a local girl from Bonnievale, Mia Beukes who attends Bonnievale High School, for her delightful piece entitled Namiblied. Mia won herself an I Pad for her efforts.
NAMIBLIED by Mia Beukes
Die ooswind sing
‘n duin van misterie en wonder te bou
So rooi soos die oerduin daaronder,
So blou hang die suiwer hemelruim daarbo.
bruin , amper swart klip, met enkele trane
Wat al vloeiend in die Kueseb loop....
Wes borrel die wit skuim van die
Wat b r e e k
As die son besluit om agter die rooiduin te
En die blou lug geleidelik pers verkleur,
Bly die grysgroen Welwitchia steeds
Soos die skemer oor die duine daal,
Wys die gemsbokke hul swart en wit maskergesigte vir ‘n wyle
En die horingadder bêre sy sandgeheime.
As die aandster se diamantoog in die nag blink
en die duine aan slaap begin dink,
sing die ooswind se stem sag
en die Namiblied raak stil.
The adult section :
In the adult section the winner was Louise Westerhout from Cape Town for her wonderfully descriptive poem entitled, I Simply Left.
I SIMPLY LEFT by Louise Westerhout
I simply left
wafted out like cigarette smoke and chatter
mid-set the tuned-out
soloist mounted his offensive while I slipped
out toward the back (I'd
come in for free at the front but man I paid
in full) skint now thigh
deep in sharp faces and flat gazes past
leaning mops, stacked plastic
crates dribbling on the way I grabbed a used
ashtray stubbed out my
heart in the glass bottom
all the way past the halfwit toilets,
photos of greats, me-me beat of
wings against bare bulb, right to the end of
the joint I squeezed past
offended dumpsters rearranging their junk
under too-tight lids over
threshold under exit sign
in the alley
I stole lungfuls of midnight
gazed up at the silent
full swoon of a blood moon crowning I inhaled
until the smug black
velvet backing stars stared me down to my last
breath in that site
then the air was silent
I flexed the collar on
my loner cape I
We were delighted with the interest shown in the competition, and also by the quality of work before us. We hope that the competition can become bigger and better in 2016! Thanks to everyone who entered, and special congratulations to the winners.
Her fragile stature belies her inner strength! Lara Kirsten may appear elfin like, but her spirit is that of a lion. Back for her second visit to the Festival- this time accompanied by her partner, the delightful Kim Goodwin- she once again entertained a full house of festival lovers with her wit, passion and energy!
Thank you being with us again and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
I was so looking forward to seeing local poets Hester Van Der Walt and Suenel Bruwer- Holloway perform at the newly opened Damfitheatre, at Hester and Lies’ house .
Unfortunately the miserable weather forced us inside, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of all present. Poena,their beautiful home, was packed tight to enjoy once again the work of these talented neighbours.
As usual the work was a mix of raw honesty, humour and pathos. A delightful time was had by all, even if we had to vacate the Dam! Thanks to you both for a wonderful afternoon.
Following from the tremendous success of the Thursday Youth Programme with the outstanding In Zynch Sessions, we looked to Friday with some anticipation. Here we had one of South Africa’s greatest poets, arriving in McGregor this morning, and presenting a programme for young children.
And boy, did the children arrive! We had to move the event to the NG Kerk, as over 450 excited children arrived. Some were bused in- special thanks to Sally Anne Murray and Stellenbosch University for a generous donation towards these costs – from neighbouring farm schools, and what a treat it was to host these children.
Antjie Krog was a revelation. She knew exactly how to relate to the children and the packed church was enraptured by her tales of spooks, monsters and fairies.
She had them stomping the wooden floorboards so hard I thought the church would come down! It was a triumph! Her address was followed by local children coming to the front of the church to recite their own songs and rhymes. The children were a treat, and entertained the happy audience for another thirty minutes.
We left the church knowing that the day had seen something very special- I am sure it was one the children will never forget. Thank you, Antjie Krog! You are a very special, super talented lady!