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 (info@mcgregorpoetryfestival.co.za / 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.