Monday, 17 October 2016

Poetry in McGregor 2016 gallery

Poetry in McGregor 2016

This is a selection of pictures of this year event, to see all the pictures by event browse Dani's Photos Blog at this link

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Poetry in McGregor's "Voices on Fire" 2016 supports the local McGregor Community

One of the most popular events to take place each year during the "Poetry in McGregor" weekend is the Poetry Eucharist in The Little Way Chapel at Temenos on Sunday morning at 9.00am. The service is led by Rev. Bob Commins who commits to donating the money taken during the Offering to a local charity. This year he added the donations taken at the door of his Saturday evening Meditation in The Well. An amount of R1 280.00 was collected. A unanimous decision was made to donate the money to the Byekorf Creche following the appeal that was sent out on their behalf on the 25th of August: 

(Writing on behalf of Christeline Davids): The Byekorf Creche was burglarized this past weekend. The kitchen was accessed and cowards stole vital products from an already needy creche. If you have a donation of milk, sugar, cereal, biscuits or any other product you might not need, please deliver to Christeline Davids - the lady who runs the crèche with a few helpers. They do amazing work at Byekorf with minimal resources. Do another 67 minutes today, tomorrow....constantly. The covering over the sand pit is in need of repair...any builders out there...take a look and offer your help. Many thanks in advance for your generosity of spirit.
McGregor Arts Community Project committee members: David Magner, Jennifer Johnson and Daniele Debellis paid a visit to the Creche to hand the money over to Christeline. She was completely overcome with emotions of deep gratitude. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this donation which has touched one of the hearts of the McGregor Community. 

Library Visit

On Thursday 8 September, Jenny Johnson and David Magner paid a visit to the McGregor Library. During the Schools’ Festival section of the Poetry Weekend,on Friday the 26th August, the Library had hosted a number of local children as part of our outreach programme to the community. Librarian Soretha and a team of volunteers had read poetry to an enthusiastic group of Grade 4 and 5 children. The children spent a wonderful hour in the company of magical poetry, and we were delighted with the support we had received from the librarian. So we headed off to the library to say thank you to Soretha. Two years ago the founders of the Poetry Festival created a Non Profit Organisation, The McGregor Community Arts Project, to act as a fundraising vehicle for the festival. Significantly, the organisation is specifically aimed at the Community, and as such we try to use any profits we make from the festival for the benefit of our entire McGregor Community. We were thrilled to present Soretha with a R1000 donation to assist her in obtaining poetry books for the youth. We also gave her copies of the Festival anthology for the last three years, and other poetry material. Thank you for your help, Soretha. You are a star!

You can see all the pictures at the following link 

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Schools’ Programme 2016

As has become tradition now, the first item on the weekend of poetry is a programme for schools.
This year we decided to kick off the programme on Thursday with the McGregor Waldorf  Primary School. David Magner went down to the school and read poetry to the group of children. The children enjoyed classics like Jabberwock, The Owl and the Pussycat and The Highwayman. It was a most successful session.

Friday the 28th was the big day.We welcomed over 700 children from local schools, including Farm Schools within a 20 kilometre radius of McGregor. The children range in age from Reception Year to Grade 7, with a few Grade 8 pupils from McGregor Primary. The event this year was generously sponsored by Graham Beck Wines- a huge thank you to them! The buses rolled in soon after nine o’clock, and the children gathered outside the NGK Hall to be welcomed. They then split up into various groups to attend different sessions.

Reception Unit and Grades 1 and 2 headed into the church to enjoy a Puppet Show. The grade 3 children went to the Breede Centre where Katleen and Gwyn read them stories which Gwyn has specially written for children- including a new story written just for the day, and set in McGregor!The Grade 4 and 5 children headed off to the local library where librarian Soretha and a group of volunteers including locals Ilana, Marinda and Corle read them poetry. The grade 6, 7 and 8 pupils were treated to a show called “Ons Ko Vandaan”, presented by a Drama Group from Wellington.

To wrap up the morning, everyone assembled in the NGK McGregor for the final show. Our local Dance Stars- The Next Step Dance Company and First Step Ballet, McGregor- put on an exhilarating performance of Poetry and Dance that had the delighted audience smiling, singing and dancing. The children were provided with a small snack to finish off the morning, and they left a very happy group.
A very big vote of thanks to all the volunteers who gave so willingly of their time to assist with this programme. I could not have done it without you! And another thanks to Graham Beck for their assistance. You are just great!
This programme is, I believe, one of the most important aspects of the Poetry in McGregor Weekend. We are giving these children, who come in the main from seriously underprivileged backgrounds plagued by social problems, an opportunity to look past all of that and see that there is an opportunity to fly in this world. We want them to see the potential, and not be afraid to grasp it. And who knows? There just might be an Antjie Krog, an Ingrid Jonker, an Adam Small or James Matthews amongst them, just waiting for the chance to unfurl his or her Poetic Wings!

David Magner
Programme Co-ordinator

You can see all the pictures of this event at the following link

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

2016 Poetry Competition winners

The second edition of our Poetry Competition was again a highlight for us. Over 300 entries were received, the majority in the adult section. It was good to see that in the schools’ section that there were clearly a few schools which had picked up on the event and encouraged their pupils to take part. It was also pleasing to see that we received a small number of isiXhosa poems this year.

The judging process was wonderful for all involved, and it remains a highlight of the year for Billy and me. After sifting through the entries over many sessions, we were unanimous in our feelings on the School section winner. Dennis Buckland was a runaway winner with his poem Anthropomorphic. We were delighted that Dennis was at the Prize Winning, where he read his poem so eloquently.

Anthropomorphic, Dennis Buckland

I am anthropomorphic.
My disguise is human,
I inherited the suit that
The abstract dresses in,
Tailored by intellectuals,
And stitched by mothers
Patched piece by piece
By bygone civilizations.
I would weave a thread
Of my own, but it chafes,
It was made for the dead.
So at night, I strip bare
And feel the animal
Breathing down my spine,
And picking my lice
With awkward intimacy.

In the Adult section the choice was not as easy. We finally settled on our short list and sent it to our external adviser, a published poet of considerable stature. She sent her recommendations, and we were all in agreement. The winning poem was Hung Gun, by Georgia Gundersen. Georgia was on hand to receive her trophy and cheque from the sponsor of the event, Leila Witkin.

Hung Gun
, G Gundersen

On the wall there is a rifle
Over the mantle lean as a rapier.
There where flames split and flare, its
Barrel grey as slate; smooth as surface
Water, and to its form is clad that sense of
Its possessor. A craftsman’s piece of
Deadeye marksmanship; the
Weapon of a dry and dilatory man.
And the sling hangs sparely.
What has the one-eyed thing
Dropped in its sights to lie
Limply on a litter of grass?

A hare as long and prescient as the
Gun, the wind making eddies down to the
White of its taupe black-ticked fur. The
Lean woodsman turns towards home
Where the hare is laid out, and
The unerring line of rifle returned
To its backdrop of whitewash.

Special thanks to Leila for her generous sponsorship of this event. Without you we just could not do it! A huge thanks to all those who entered. As Leila said on Saturday morning, you are all winners! To Billy Kennedy, and Hester Van der Walt who help with the initial judging, a huge thank you for your wisdom and commitment. Thanks also to Patch for her help- you are a star!

David Magner

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Coming soon... Rustum Kozain

We are dekighted to welcome Rustum back to our village. A child of the Winelands, he grew up in Paarl, before studying English. Aftre travelling to the USA as a Fullbright Scholar, he returned to lecture at UCT. He has won the Ingrid Jonker and Olive Schreiner Prizes for Poetry, and insists that writing poetry is a sincere, necessary matter and no casual affair. His honesty, perceptiveness and clarity, allied to his skilful use of language make for exhilarating reading.
We are looking forward to hearing his words once again!

for S. Ben-Tov

Afternoon sun of Ohio’s August
daubs the classroom with early rust.

Eight of us bristle, apprenticed
to nail the world to its sentence.

Poet’s poet, our teacher hands us
a copy each of Heaney’s ‘Nerthus’.

A chill creeps in me as she reads.
From Heaney-soil, that concrete dark,

an unseen ash-fork staked in bog:
my first portents of winter north.


We have all heard the name
but not Heaney’s Great Chain of Verbs.

We stall. And do not fathom
the quiet mesh of kesh and loaning

that lull and push of middle-voice
that verb say

the long-grained never static
of the poem’s non-finite aesthetic

© 2005, Rustum Kozain
From: This Carting Life

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

"Poetry in McGregor" this weekend 26 to 28 August 2016.

A very important part of our event is our School Programme. This will take place on Thursday and Friday morning and over 650 children are involved. Dave Magner is the organiser of this event and he is to be congratulated for putting together another fabulous programme this year. Children from both our local and farm schools have been invited to attend and transport by bus arranged for those schools beyond walking distance. A large number of volunteers from McGregor will be facilitating these sessions. Our grateful thanks to all of them too.

For your interest, here is the programme.

Thursday 25th at various times throughout the morning, Dave will read poetry to the children attending the Waldorf School. This is our English programme and will take place at the Waldorf School itself.

Friday 26th - die Afrikaans se program:
  • 09h30 - Graad 1 en 2 – Poppekas vertoning by die NGK - 45 minute
  • 09h30- Graad 3 Storie tyd, by die Breede Sentrum -1 uur
  • 09h30 - Graad 4 en 5 - Gedigte voorlesing by die McGregor Biblioteek - 1 uur
  • 10h30 - Graad 6, 7 en 8 - Ons Ko Vandaan. Vertoning by die NGK - 45 minute
  • 11h30 - Almal by die NGK. Vertoning deur Next Step Dance Company - 25 minute

Our thanks and appreciation to the Graham Beck Trust who have provided the sponsorship for this event. This has enabled us to hire the necessary transport and provide snacks for the children to enjoy afterwards.

Coming soon... Frank Malaba

Poetry in McGregor is delighted to welcome Frank Malaba to our village this year. A native of Zimbabwe, Frank has been a vocal advocate for Gay Rights in Africa. He was formerly a producer of Radio Today Outspoken, the only LGBTI Talk show in Africa. Frank is a courageous voice, and is admirably suited to our theme for 2016, Voices on Fire. We hope his voice will be widely heard this coming weekend!

My heart rains in smithereens like red confetti falling
From the crown of cumulonimbus heights.
Its shredded pieces fall in dizzy circles while
Trying to find the perfect landing on uneven ground.
My eyes are ajar like shutters to a vacant, soulless castle.
I’m not dead. I’m not alive. I’m existing.
A solid presence in an otherwise empty space.
But do not be fooled…
I am powerful.
Somewhere deep within this thick dark mass
Is a volcano ticking and awaiting
The perfect moment to exhale new lava.
Waiting to create continents of thought
Populated by change and reason.
I am a heart still beating after it has been cut out from the living.
I am the African Violet leaf that lives on

After being ripped from the mother plant.
I am the singing voice of an orphaned child.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Event #92 – Poetry Supper @ Flora’s

Due to the popularity of the Poetry Supper on Sunday night we have had to make some last minute changes. Flora is unfortunately not able to accommodate the large number of people wishing to attend this supper, so we have moved it to The Food Tent in Temenos Garden. Delicious homemade soups, rolls and bread will be served as well as complimentary wine and grape-juice (you are welcome to bring your own bottle if you so wish) – a donation of R50.00 per person will help to cover costs. (Participating poets and volunteers are welcome as our guests, but please don’t forget your name-tags!) We look forward to seeing you anytime from 6pm for a relaxed evening together. For catering purposes, please contact Jenny ( / 084 675 1164) to add your name to the list.

Coming soon... Kobus Moolman

Poetry in McGregor is honoured and privileged to welcome award winning writer Kobus Moolman to this year’s event. Winner of among others The Ingrid Jonker Prize for Poetry, The Sol Plaatje European Union Award for Poetry and the Glenna Luschei Award for African Poetry, Kobus is a much sought after voice at Poetry gatherings around the world. Alonside four volumes of poetry , he has also written a collection of radio plays, and still finds time to lecture creative writing at UKZN. We are so looking forward to your being here!
We who accept survival as our password
accept incompleteness as our blessing.
We who dress in blindness and in faith
do not know the colour of our palms
nor the weight of our feet upon the water.
We who have dust in our mouths all day
have stones on our tongues instead of songs.
We who quench fire with fire all night
know that wings are not the only ladders
to the dark, that heavy wood swims too
in the tide of the wind.
We who accept survival

accept survival as our curse.

Coming soon... Dan Wylie

Dan Wylie is another making his first visit to our Poetry Weekend. A Professor AT Rhodes University, Dan has published widely on a range of subjects. He is particularly interested in the legendary Zulu leader, Shaka, and is considered a leading figure on the man. He is also interested in African literature, particularly Southern African, spirituality and poetry, and ecological issues in poetry. A published poet, we are delighted to welcome Dan to our little village!


Forgive me: I am all mange and forgetfulness.
Burrs in the coat of too much thinking, too much pain.
My bony hands have grown rigid with grasping the right.
What is morality if it is not safeguarded by the voracious?
What force would justice have were it not
clawed from the carapace of scorpions?

But unforeseen birdcalls are troubling this anaesthetic age.
Am I to be condemned for holding on to what little I have?
Am I to be overthrown by what I have so long sustained?
Who commands the city that has swarmed up beneath me?
What conspiracies burble in those terracotta cells?

I am certain now of nothing but the persistence of stupidity.
This is the gift of the tall view.
We are drying out in the thin winter sun;
the dry ratchet of the barbet
winds down to some obscure apocalypse.
This is what history is: a throne
from which one cannot descend.
I send my bark echoing amongst the mopanes,
again, and again.
I will entertain no regrets.

Dan Wylie

Monday, 22 August 2016

Coming soon... Elisa Galgut

Dr Elisa Galgut is a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at UCT, and is particularly interested in the philosophy of literature. Her passion for poetry resulted in her completing a masters degree in creative writing and she is also a published poet. Her combination of interests make for thoughtful and well-crafted poetry as evidenced in her debut collection:
 The Attribute of Poetry offers a feast of thought and image. Elisa Galgut’s poetry seems both new and old, fresh in its ingenuity and mature in the wisdom of its deliberations. In these ‘incantations of creation’ (to borrow a line from one of the poems), a quiet yet powerful voice speaks to us; and we cannot but be moved by it. – David Medalie

We welcome Elisa to our special weekend of poetry in our beautiful village and look forward to her sharing her words with us..

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Coming soon... Next Step Dance and First Step Ballet

These two groups are the brainchildren of McGregor resident, Mary Corpe. A former professional dancer in the UK, Mary has lived in McGregor for around four years and has nurtured these children as if they were her own. The next Step Company has developed into a highly capable and creative group of young dancers, and have dazzled audiences both locally and nationally with their skills. The Ballet group is a more recent addition, and these local children have grown by leaps and bounds since Mary’s initiative started a few years ago. Both groups deserve all their accolades for their outstanding commitment and hard work. And as for Mary- well she is just a superstar! Come and support local talent at its very best! You will not be disappointed!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Coming soon... Sally-Ann Murray

We are delighted to welcome Sally-Ann back to McGregor for her third visit. Sally is currently a Professor of English at Stellenbosch and is a widely published poet and author. Several of her poetry collections are recipients of awards and her debut novel, Small Moving Parts, won the MNET Literary Award and the Herman Charles Bosman Prize. Her poetry is smart and perceptive, written with care and creativity. She draws heavily on her own experiences, and is honest in all she creates. Humour is a frequent guest in her writing, and her wry observations of the human condition are delivered with- sometimes- brutal honesty. A delightful person with genuine warmth, she is a valued partner of our gathering, and we are delighted to welcome her back after she had to miss the 2015 event because of work pressure. Thanks for your support Sally- we are so looking forward to seeing you again!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Coming soon... Ha Man and Joke Debaere

These two performers bring a welth of skill and talent to this show. South African born Ha Man, Francois Le Roux, is an accomplished cellest, keyboard player, singer, flautist and dancer. Belgian Joke Debaereis an actress and performance poet. 

Their performances together have been described as both memorable and emotive. They are two highly regarded talents combining to capture moments in sounds and words that emanate from and reach the heart and mind in new and often deep, resonant ways. 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Coming soon... Harry Owen

Harry is a born and raised Englishman, who took the plunge and moved to the Eastern Cape in 2008. It is a move he has absolutely no regrets about. He is a widely respected and experienced performer, teacher and workshop facilitator. He host a monthly Open Mic session in Grahamstown called Reddits Poetry. He writes with” honesty, directness and humour about the world. His poetry has been described as “ ..poetry at its finest: luscious, almost tangible imagery, sharpened into perfect form” A handful of small stones for Bromley


The milkwood moults,
melts its crisp brown leaves
into a terracotta husk.

From the thatch eves,
a thousand pearls of rain
string themselves
past the kitchen window.

This evening a huge armoured beetle,
spiky and black,
parks himself like a jeep
on the wall next to my bedside lamp.
I prise him, reluctant, into a glass
and repatriate him gently
to the African night.

and a silver-grey plastic bucket stands,
inverted like a helmet, on the wooden deck,
a Star Wars alien stranded
within the tropical greenery
of a real and natural world.

Surges of swarming ants clot the morning air.
From a high branch and crimson-faced with effort,
a barbet brays his rude challenge to the world.

Bromley is our smiling Ridgeback with a rubber face:
his mouth, when he sees you, draws back
into a broad, ingratiating grin,
his eyebrows sauntering about independently
like a couple of rambling caterpillars.


Here, two branches of the big coral tree,
loosened by high winds while we were away,
hang like swords of Damocles over the rock garden.
Silent and camouflaged as leopards they lurk,
waiting for some unsuspecting prey
to pass beneath.


a warm summer evening
four or five half-empty wine bottles
three people
an insistent scrizzling of invisible insects
one angular Ridgeback sprawled out on the stoep =

deepest contentment

Back briefly at Chintsa
and our evening geckoes line up
near the wall light
like the staff of Downton Abbey.

A genuflecting ocean,
shadows of palm fronds on the deck,
a rich sizzle of frying mushrooms

and one leggy hound,
no longer lost,
spread out on the carpet
in a jacuzzi of sunlight.

The ocean is rolling pewter,
the morning a hot cloud compress.

Down the road to the village
a skinny fig sapling begins
its possessive seduction of a coral tree

whose tears already drip
like rain onto the tar.

This is Harry’s second visit to McGregor Poetry- do not miss the chance to hear this wonderful man.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Launch of the 2015 Festival Anthology

We have great pleasure in inviting you to the Cape Town launch of the 2015 Festival Anthology. As you may know, each Festival is celebrated with its own Anthology, in which are published some of the poems presented on the main programme and at the open-mic venues. 
Each is a mix of strong, established voices and those of emerging poets. In the 2015 Anthology, we include, with a deep sense of homage, poems by Adam Small. He was scheduled to present at the 2015 Festival, but sadly could not attend and subsequently passed away. Join us as we read his emotive and eloquent contribution to the Anthology; and listen to the complimenting words of others included in this lovely collection.

7.30pm on 11 August 2016 at Hugh Hodge’s renowned Off the Wall at A Touch of Madness, Nuttall Road, Observatory 

A Touch of Madness, by the way, serves excellent meals, so you might consider dining there and taking the poetic evening into delicious realms.

Ons nooi u graag na die bekendstelling van die 2015 Gedigtefees Bloemlesing in Kaapstad.  Soos u mag weet, word elke fees gevier deur die samestelling van ’n Bloemlesing waarin gedigte gepubliseer word wat op die hoofprogram plaasgevind het, maar ook by die oop mikrofoon aanbiedings gelees is.  Uit eerbetoon aan Adam Small is van sy gedigte ook in die 2015 Bloemlesing opgeneem.  Hy was geskeduleer om by die fees op te tree, maar kon dit nie bywoon nie en is intussen oorlede.  Sluit by ons aan wanneer ons sy emosiebelaaide en veelseggende bydrae tot die Bloemlesing voorlees;  luister ook na ander se komplementerende woorde wat in hierdie pragtige bundel ingesluit is.

7:30nm op 11 Augustus 2016 by Hugh Hodge se befaamde Off The Wall by ’n Touch of Madness, Nuttallweg, Observatory, Kaapstad.

Touch of Madness bedien uitstekende etes, so jy mag dalk oorweeg om te bespreek en ook jou aandete te verhef tot die gebied van die digkuns.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Enter our Poetry Competition! “Voices on Fire”

Enter our Poetry Competition!  “Voices on Fire” 

If you have written an unpublished poem, then this is for you! 

There are 2 categories: 

Open (19 years and older)
The winner will receive R7 500.00 cash & a trophy 

High School (13 to 18 years)
The winner will receive a R2 500.00 book voucher & a trophy 

Closing date extended to: Friday 5th August 2016
See for details

Teken in op ons Gedigtekompetisie! “Voices on Fire”
Indien jy ’n ongepubliseerde gedig geskryf het, is hierdie kompetisie vir jou! 

Daar is 2 kategorieë: 

Oop (19 jaar en ouer)
Die wenner ontvang R7 500.00 kontant plus ’n trofee 

Hoërskool (13 tot 18 jaar oud)
Die wenner ontvang ’n R2 500.00 boekgeskenkbewys en ’n trofee 

Sluitingsdatum verleng tot: Vrydag 5 Augustus 2016
Sien vir besonderhede

Friday, 15 July 2016

Let the good times roll!

We are very pleased to announce that the “Poetry in McGregor” programme is now available on and the bookings have opened on Computicket 

There are 92 events this year – tickets for the musical events and workshops are R100.00 each with 10% discount for block bookings of 10 or more. Other events are R50.00 per person with half-price tickets available for pensioners, students, participating poets and McGregor locals. Block booking discount are also applicable for these events. 

The programme also includes a number of free events or entry-by-donation where no pre-bookings are required. Seating and/or participation in Open Mic sessions is on a first-come-first-accommodated basis.

Enquiries: / 084 675 1164 / 023 625 1908 / 023 625 1871

Margaret Clough, A poem on the radio

Coming Event:

Thursday, 2 June 2016

2016 Poetry Competition

Since ancient times our understanding of ourselves, our sense of what lies within, was said to come out of the blue: inspiration, the breath of heaven, the song of the muse, the voice of the poet. But now, in these bitter-sweet times, our new nation tensing in conflicted diversity, how do we hear ourselves – mice-quiet or bull-bellowing? What is the intimate content of our common voice now?

We are mirrors to each other in our humanity and our poets, giving voice to individual truth, express for us the insights in which healing is found. It is the joy of the sky’s eternal renewal, after all that the poet’s voice realises: the simple idea of freedom, our common South African goal. Because freedom, above all, is a state of mind, an experience of being, not a static social reality. When said and done, it is not the poet’s insight itself, but the experience of it emerging into our mind that makes the difference. We feel the presence of what was absent. We live Creation itself. We know the fathomless blue of heaven inside the vault of the human skull.

Open Category “Voices on Fire” 
Poetry Competition

· Have you ever thought of writing poetry?

· Are you an unpublished poet?

· Would you like to see your poetry published?

· Are you over the age of 19?

Then you are eligible to enter our Open Category and stand a chance of winning R 7,500.00 CASH and a trophy. The finalists may have the opportunity to have their poetry published in our annual “Poetry in McGregor” Anthology and their winning entries will be read during our “Poetry in McGregor” weekend which will take place from the 26 to 28 August 2016.

Competition Guidelines : Entries restricted to unpublished poets *The poem must be the original work of the entrant submitting it *Poems must have a title * Length submitted must be between 12 and 40 lines * Poems may be in English or Afrikaans or IsiXhosa* Full names must be provided plus date of birth and contact numbers * Maximum of two poems per poet * Entries must be submitted separately * The judges’ decision is final * No correspondence will be entered into *Entries must be typed and emailed to: /posted to PO Box 361, McGregor, 6708 / faxed to 086 756 0864 / delivered to the Temenos Office, corner Voortrekker and Bree Streets, McGregor. 

CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES: 16h00 on Friday the 22nd JULY 2016

The name of the (one and only) winner will be announced at the prize-giving function which will take place at 11.30am on Saturday 27th August in Caritas at Temenos Retreat, Long Street entrance, McGregor, 6708.

High School Category “Voices on Fire” 
Poetry Competition

· Have you ever thought of writing poetry?

· Are you an unpublished poet?

· Would you like to see your poetry published?

· Are you between the ages of 13 to 18?

Then you are eligible to enter the High School Category where the winner will receive a R2,500 book voucher and a trophy plus the opportunity to have your poetry read at the next “Poetry in McGregor” weekend which will take place from the 26 to 28 August 2016 and the top poems may be published in the 2016 “Poetry in McGregor” Anthology

Competition Guidelines : Entries restricted to unpublished poets *The poem must be the original work of the entrant submitting it *Poems must have a title * Length submitted must be between 12 and 40 lines * Poems may be in English or Afrikaans or IsiXhosa* Full names must be provided plus date of birth and contact numbers * Maximum of two poems per poet * Entries must be submitted separately * Our judges’ decision is final * No correspondence will be entered into *Entries must be typed and emailed to: /posted to PO Box 361, McGregor, 6708 / faxed to 086 756 0864 / delivered to the Temenos Office, corner Voortrekker and Bree Streets, McGregor. 

CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES: 16h00 on Friday the 22nd JULY 2016

The name of the winner will be announced at the prize-giving function which will take place at 11.30am on Saturday 27th August in Caritas at Temenos Retreat, Long Street entrance, McGregor, 6708.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Poetry in McGregor, 26 to 28 August 2016

Feast with us, on the heart’s food, the resonant human voice, the felt reality of who we are, the quiet of the cricket’s night and the exuberant possibility of the peacock’s day. There is no theme, no purpose, no rule, no truth, no meaning imposed. Just a few days of freedom for poets and poetry lovers. Rage, whisper, sing, declaim, laugh, preach, chatter, wail….carouse and sleep. As I should be, in McGregor. 

Friday, 20 May 2016

Poetry in McGregor!

It gives us great pleasure to present this momento from last year’s McGregor Poetry Festival. We hope you will enjoy viewing it as much as we have enjoyed compiling it and that you will share it with your family and friends. The next “Poetry in McGregor” weekend will take place from the 26th to the 28th of August 2016 and you are invited to join us for this inspirational annual event. The vision of this event is to honour poets and poetry by giving poets a platform for their voices to be heard and poetry-lovers the opportunity to indulge in the spoken word.

Open larger view

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Ansa Smit and the McGregor Poetry Festival

I will always remember the first time that I rolled into McGregor Village. It was 4:42 am on a cold winter’s morning in July 2013. I cannot remember what day of the month it was because days blurred into one. Days consisted of riding my mountain bike, carrying my bike on my back - up some unforgiving mountain, eating and sleeping. On this adventurous journey, there were many moments of astonishment - for the natural world, the vast spaciousness, for friendships made with other riders and for the open-hearted people that live in this beautiful, diverse country. There were tears of fear - fighting within not to give up but mostly, there was laughter. Plenty of laughter. McGregor was one of the villages we passed through on the annual event called The Freedom Challenge - the Race Across South Africa. In short – you ride, hike, crawl and roll from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town via the most remote and spectacular route. You have 26 days to complete this non-stop race of 2300km. No technology allowed, you have to navigate compass style and be completely self supportive. You have your maps, all your gear on your back, hopefully a sense of humour, a good dose of passion for your own insanity and bum cream. Lots of bum cream.
I vividly remember pedalling through McGregor’s short main street. There was something particular about this village that I could not put my gloved finger on. It was different and I like different - a warmth. Welcoming verandas. McGregor stimulated my imagination and I would even go as far as to say that I felt a beckoning. The route takes you through the village, then up and then up some more on a gravel road before we turn right, to follow electrical lines to get to our next stop - Trout Haven Farm outside Rawsonville. We left Montague early that morning – eyes and hearts set on getting home – we were so close to the finish line and we were racing to try and beat a storm pulling in. At some point, not too far outside the village, we stopped to eat breakfast next to the road. The sun was coming up and I could see the village nestled in the bottom, covered in mist – only the church tower sticking out. Magical. Surreal. Little did I know that I would return. 

Following the crumbs of my longing, I returned to McGregor about a year later. This time - no bike. No gear. Only myself. I was still yearning for something which I could not name. Much to my surprise, an even more challenging pilgrimage unfolded – the journey of navigating the valleys and mountaintops of my inner world. Looking back, I realise I was aching for silence and balance and for the need to cultivate simplicity and stillness into my life. The obsessively busy mechanical world overwhelmed me and I was becoming severely disconnected from my source of creativity and nurturance. An overgrown path appeared and I blindly followed. Eventually, I did find a lamp in my darkness. I arrived at the dream fields of Temenos, the heart of McGregor. Resting in their garden, I discovered these shimmering words in a little book saying:

Temenos, Temore and the Treasure
In the heart of a small country village
lies a garden that is more than a garden,
dreamed into being by a gardener who is more than a gardener,
whose eyes and heart sees the hidden treasure
in all things and beings,
and brings the inner beauty to light.

It felt like coming home – a sense of belonging. I did find silence and I rediscovered the gift of poetry. Rekindling the old flame.
Poetry has the ability to penetrate past the ego and thinking mind and straight into the soul. That is why it often stirs us deeply; reawakening parts we did not know are asleep.

In the silence that follows
a great line
you can feel Lazarus
deep inside
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.
David Whyte – The Lightest Touch.

We can try to grasp and analyse poetry with our logical minds but by doing only that, we cut ourselves off from one of the greatest sources of nourishment.  There is also the invitation to feel poetry come alive within your own flesh. To allow your entire body to become an ear – to soften and receive words, the lines, the substance within. Poetry lives in the body like music. We come to embody poetry - be it heavy, light, humorous or mystical. Like myths and stories, music and art – poetry delves into the collective and individual underworld. Often, we do not even know we need poetry until we hear those lines - until a poem slices through the topside world, down into the flesh and bone of being human.
Unbeknown to me, these two aspects of my life would combine - McGregor and Poetry. The journey unfolded in an unexpected way - introducing The McGregor Poetry Festival. Unaware, the village of McGregor are lovers of poetry. Billy Kennedy had a dream – to host a Poetry Festival and to welcome all lovers of all things poetic - a weekend to indulge and nourish. That year, the village hosted its’ first McGregor Poetry Festival.  Everyone was and still is involved, the whole community. I received an invitation to present my Weaving Word with Sound at the festival and what a heartening gift that was to me.
I labour my creative life in isolation. It is the fertile soil where I explore that which wants to immerge.  A time to pay attention to the world outside and equally essential, within. Yet our lives, like the seasons, moves in cycles. The great path of spirals. The Poetry Festival creates a welcoming and supportive platform for poets to share their craft – ears that are willing to receive, celebrate, contemplate and indulge. The programme is a spread of various poets, presentations and topics – literally something for every mood. Listening to the poets is one of my highlights, I try to go to as many readings as possible – leaving the festival saturated in creative stimulation. Inspired, I return home to reflect and digest everything given and received. In a world starved for soul, where most of us are constantly rushing around attaining some goal – poetry and a festival to nurture poetry  is something to be treasured. May we cultivate the poetic in our lives and in our world, giving sustenance to many a hungry heart.

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

Book of Hours, I 2
Rainer Maria Rilke.

Weaving Word with Sound by Ansa Smit.
Experience poetry at the McGregor Poetry Festival:
Read about the Freedom Challenge, Race Across South Africa:

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Invitation to participate in the 2016 McGregor Poetry Festival (26 to 28 August 2016)

It is our pleasure to announce that the next McGregor Poetry Festival will take place from the 26 to 28th of August 2016.

Poets (International and local, published and unpublished) who would like to be considered for participation are invited to submit a proposal for our consideration. We are particularly looking for presentations that are original and creative to enhance our programme and entertain our audiences.

Guidelines for submissions:
  • Describe your presentation in approximately 50 words and include a short title
  • Ensure that your presentation is between 30 to 40 minutes duration
  • Your presentation may be in English or Afrikaans, or bilingual. We are also open to welcoming poets performing in the other official South African languages as well but our audiences at this stage are predominantly Afrikaans and English speaking
  • Be innovative and creative and feel free to collaborate with fellow poets and present a combined performance, discussion, interview etc
  • Include a short biography of yourself plus any links to websites, publications etc
  • Submissions must be emailed to / posted to PO Box 361, McGregor 6708 / faxed to 086 756 0864 / hand delivered to Temenos Retreat Office, corner Bree and Voortrekker Streets, McGregor
  • Enquiries: Jennifer Johnson 023 625 1908 / 084 675 1164
  • Closing date: 30 April 2016
  • If you have not heard from us by 20 May 2016, this will mean that your proposal to be included in our main programme was unsuccessful but you are more than welcome to participate in one of the Open Mic sessions that will be included in the festival programme
  • Please note that you must arrange your own transport to McGregor and secure your own accommodation. We have a wide range of accommodation on offer in our village and we will gladly assist you with queries

Uitnodiging om aan die 2016 McGregor Gedigtefees deel te neem (26 tot 28 Augustus 2016)

Ons is bly om aan te kondig dat die volgende McGregor Gedigtefees vanaf 26 tot 28 Augustus 2016 sal plaasvind.

Digters (Internasionaal en plaaslik, gepubliseerd en ongepubliseerd) wat graag oorweeg wil word vir deelname, word hiermee uitgenooi om ’n voorlegging in te dien vir oorweging. Ons soek veral na oorspronklike en kreatiewe aanbiedings wat waarde sal toevoeg tot ons program en ons gehore sal stimuleer en vermaak.

Riglyne vir voorleggings:
  • Beskryf jou aanbieding in ongeveer 50 woorde en sluit ’n titel in.
  • Maak seker dat jou aanbieding tussen 30 en 40 minute lank is.
  • Die aanbieding mag in Afrikaans of Engels en selfs tweetalig wees. Ons verwelkom ook digters wat in enige ander van ons amptelike landstale optree, maar jy moet bewus wees daarvan dat ons gehore tans hoofsaaklik Afrikaans en Engels is.
  • Wees innoverend en kreatief en jy is ook vry om saam met ander digters op te tree met gekombineerde aanbiedings, besprekings, onderhoude, ens.
  • Stuur asb. ’n kort biografie van jouself, plus enige skakels na webtuistes, publikasies, ens.
  • Voorleggings moet gestuur word aan / Posbus 361, McGregor 6708 / faks 086 756 0864 of per hand afgelewer word by Temenos Retreat kantoor, h/v Bree en Voortrekkerstraat, McGregor.
  • Navrae: Jennifer Johnson 023 625 1908 / 084 675 1164.
  • Sluitingsdatum: April 30 2016
  • Indien jy nie teen Mei 20 2016 van ons gehoor het nie, beteken dit dat jou voorlegging vir insluiting in ons hoofprogram, nie suksesvol was nie. Jy is dan steeds welkom om aan een van ons oop-mikrofoon sessies tydens die fees deel te neem.
  • Neem asb. kennis dat jy vir jou eie vervoer na McGregor verantwoordelik sal wees en jou eie akkommodasie moet reël. Ons het ’n groot verskeidenheid akkommodasie moontlikhede in die dorp beskikbaar en sal jou graag help met navrae of inligting.