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Saturday, October 15, 2011


The release of four collections of poetry stand out in the series of book launches taking place during the 15th Poetry Africa International Poetry Festival.

Running from October 17 to 22, the festival is hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and made possible through core funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and other valued partners.

Myesha Jenkins will launch Dreams of Flight (Gecko Publishing) on October 18. Taking the reader on a journey of sensuality, resilience and memory, this second offering from Jenkins reflects her keen storytelling ability through language that is simple, descriptive and profoundly emotional. Of this book, Jenkins says, “You will find yourself in these poems. I did.”

October 19 sees the launch of No Serenity Here (World Knowledge Publishers), a contemporary anthology of African poetry edited by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Isabel Ferrin-Aguirre and acclaimed Chinese poet and academic Kaiyu Xiao, and launched during the Shanghai Biennale in October 2010. With original poems published in English, French, Portuguese, Arabic and Amharic, alongside their Chinese translations, this book contains material by poetic maestros such as Kofi Anyodoho and Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Veronique Tadjo (Cote d'Ivoire), Chirikure Chirikure, Joyce Chigya (Zimbabwe), Fatima Naoot (Morocco), Keorapetse Kgositsile and Lebo Mashile (South Africa), TJ Dema (Botswana), and Shailja Patel (Kenya), amongst others.

The inaugural Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology (Jacana) honours the spirit of the legendary intellectual giant, activist, linguist and translator, novelist, journalist and leader, Sol Plaatje. This sparkling array of contributions from poets around the country will resonate with those who live in this country and those who love it from afar. Individual voices in a range of languages bear witness to all that is gruesome, glorious and gleeful. This anthology will be launched on October 20. In the spirit of Sol Plaatje, the Jacana Literary Foundation also presents the inaugural Sol Plaatje European Union Award, a competition open for poetry in all 11 South African languages.

Wrapping up the festival’s book launches will be Durbanite Sarah Frost’s debut collection, Conduit (Modjaji Books). This book of pared-down poems graphically tracking a young girl’s journey from the lonely spaces of childhood to the creative, powerful realm of womanhood will be launched on October 21.

All book launches take place at the Wellington Tavern Deck, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from 18h45 to 19h15, prior to the evening performance. The Sol Plaatje European Union Award prize-giving will take place as part of the programme inside the theatre, which commences at 19h30.

Click on the Centre for Creative Arts button advert at the top of this page or visit for the full programme of activities, biographies, and photos of participants or contact the CCA on 031 260 2506/1816 or e-mail

Organized by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal), the 15th Poetry Africa International Poetry Festival is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (HIVOS), French Institute of South Africa and the City of Durban.