Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Darkroom

Enlarge poem

You are in my photo
you are luminously held
in my mind
in my mind
in silver images
negative, I shall keep you
secretively dark
in a dust-free room
I shall keep
I shall keep you
devoid of chemicals
and running water
I shall never
I shall never
hang you on lines
hooked up on the slow
on the slow ruby light
of my love
I am jealous
of my love
he is here
he is here
in the dark
in the cave
in my heart.

Gail Dendy

Featured Poem:

Invitation to the Dance

Enlarge poem

‘But [Lot’s] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.’ (Gen 19:26)

I wish to take off my skin. It is heavy
as though I’ve slept a thousand nights
and wakened with dew stuffed in my armpits,
my thighs, my whitening hair.

I wish to enjoy one delicious waltz
and a sexy rumba. I wish to be eloquent.
My shoes have the requisite diamonds at their heels.
My hips are satin. But there is a purple flower
hidden deep inside my mouth.

It’s my imagination, to be sure,
but when I think of dance it seems
each step I take drops puffs of salt
onto the ridge of this stony mountain.

Two cities destroyed and all I think about is dancing.

It’s my imagination, to be sure. I’m heavy,
standing here in the sleep of a thousand nights
and days. I think I’ve dreamt
of a world that’s long decayed.

Forgiveness is a virtue. A turn of the cheek
is all that’s asked. It’s little enough
for my looking back. Was it a sin? I was afraid.

Now I’ve stood here for far too long.
I remember I had an invitation.
The city glitters with a million lights.
Please, won’t you take me to the dance?

gail dendy_wk_edit

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

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Biography

Gail Dendy has published seven collections of poetry, her most recent being Closer Than That (Johannesburg: Dye Hard Press, 2011). Her first collection, published by Harold Pinter, was Assault and the Moth, Greville Press (UK) 1993. This was followed by People Crossing (Snailpress, 1995), Swimming in the Long Dark Sound (Stride, UK, 1998, Painting the Bamboo Tree (Arc, UK, 1999), The Poetry of Norman Corwin and Gail Dendy (Shirim, USA, 2002), and The Lady Missionary (Kwela/Snailpress, 2007). Her poetry regularly appears in journals and anthologies both in SA and overseas.
Throughout the 1980s and early ’90s Gail pioneered Contemporary Dance in South Africa and was nominated for the inaugural AA Vita Award for Best Performer. In her writing career, she was a Finalist in the South African Science Fiction Society’s Short Story competition, 1992; Finalist, Dalro Award 2007, Winner of the “Playwriting” category, SA PEN Millennium Competition, 2000; and Joint Winner of the cash prize for the Herman Charles Bosman Literary Award, 2008. She has also been long-listed for the Plough Prize (UK, 2008), shortlisted for the Thomas Pringle Award for Prose (Category: Short Story), 2010, and shortlisted for the EU/Sol Plaatje Poetry Prize in both 2011 and 2012.

The most recent anthologies to feature Gail Dendy’s work are: Anthony Astbury (ed) A Field of Large Desires (Manchester: Carcanet, 2010; Liesl Jobson (compiler) The Sol Plaatje/European Union Poetry Anthology 2011 (Cape Town: Jacana, 2011), and Patricia Schonstein Pinnock (ed) Africa, My Africa! (African Sun Press, 2013), and Harry Owen (ed) For Rhino in a Shrinking World: An International Anthology (East London, SA: The Poets Printery, 2013).

Over the years Gail has worked, inter alia, as a university lecturer, copywriter, and radio news writer. She is currently the Information Specialist for an international corporate-law firm.

Gail is passionate about environmental- and animal-rights issues. She lives in Johannesburg together with her husband, pets, a law library, and a collection of ballet, dance, classical, and Rock ‘n Roll CDs and DVDs.

Gail Dendy

gail dendy_wk_edit
gail dendy_wk_edit

Biography

Gail Dendy has published seven collections of poetry, her most recent being Closer Than That (Johannesburg: Dye Hard Press, 2011). Her first collection, published by Harold Pinter, was Assault and the Moth, Greville Press (UK) 1993. This was followed by People Crossing (Snailpress, 1995), Swimming in the Long Dark Sound (Stride, UK, 1998, Painting the Bamboo Tree (Arc, UK, 1999), The Poetry of Norman Corwin and Gail Dendy (Shirim, USA, 2002), and The Lady Missionary (Kwela/Snailpress, 2007). Her poetry regularly appears in journals and anthologies both in SA and overseas.
Throughout the 1980s and early ’90s Gail pioneered Contemporary Dance in South Africa and was nominated for the inaugural AA Vita Award for Best Performer. In her writing career, she was a Finalist in the South African Science Fiction Society’s Short Story competition, 1992; Finalist, Dalro Award 2007, Winner of the “Playwriting” category, SA PEN Millennium Competition, 2000; and Joint Winner of the cash prize for the Herman Charles Bosman Literary Award, 2008. She has also been long-listed for the Plough Prize (UK, 2008), shortlisted for the Thomas Pringle Award for Prose (Category: Short Story), 2010, and shortlisted for the EU/Sol Plaatje Poetry Prize in both 2011 and 2012.

The most recent anthologies to feature Gail Dendy’s work are: Anthony Astbury (ed) A Field of Large Desires (Manchester: Carcanet, 2010; Liesl Jobson (compiler) The Sol Plaatje/European Union Poetry Anthology 2011 (Cape Town: Jacana, 2011), and Patricia Schonstein Pinnock (ed) Africa, My Africa! (African Sun Press, 2013), and Harry Owen (ed) For Rhino in a Shrinking World: An International Anthology (East London, SA: The Poets Printery, 2013).

Over the years Gail has worked, inter alia, as a university lecturer, copywriter, and radio news writer. She is currently the Information Specialist for an international corporate-law firm.

Gail is passionate about environmental- and animal-rights issues. She lives in Johannesburg together with her husband, pets, a law library, and a collection of ballet, dance, classical, and Rock ‘n Roll CDs and DVDs.

Darkroom

Enlarge poem

You are in my photo
you are luminously held
in my mind
in my mind
in silver images
negative, I shall keep you
secretively dark
in a dust-free room
I shall keep
I shall keep you
devoid of chemicals
and running water
I shall never
I shall never
hang you on lines
hooked up on the slow
on the slow ruby light
of my love
I am jealous
of my love
he is here
he is here
in the dark
in the cave
in my heart.

Featured Poem:

Invitation to the Dance

Enlarge poem

‘But [Lot’s] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.’ (Gen 19:26)

I wish to take off my skin. It is heavy
as though I’ve slept a thousand nights
and wakened with dew stuffed in my armpits,
my thighs, my whitening hair.

I wish to enjoy one delicious waltz
and a sexy rumba. I wish to be eloquent.
My shoes have the requisite diamonds at their heels.
My hips are satin. But there is a purple flower
hidden deep inside my mouth.

It’s my imagination, to be sure,
but when I think of dance it seems
each step I take drops puffs of salt
onto the ridge of this stony mountain.

Two cities destroyed and all I think about is dancing.

It’s my imagination, to be sure. I’m heavy,
standing here in the sleep of a thousand nights
and days. I think I’ve dreamt
of a world that’s long decayed.

Forgiveness is a virtue. A turn of the cheek
is all that’s asked. It’s little enough
for my looking back. Was it a sin? I was afraid.

Now I’ve stood here for far too long.
I remember I had an invitation.
The city glitters with a million lights.
Please, won’t you take me to the dance?

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Darkroom

Enlarge poem

You are in my photo
you are luminously held
in my mind
in my mind
in silver images
negative, I shall keep you
secretively dark
in a dust-free room
I shall keep
I shall keep you
devoid of chemicals
and running water
I shall never
I shall never
hang you on lines
hooked up on the slow
on the slow ruby light
of my love
I am jealous
of my love
he is here
he is here
in the dark
in the cave
in my heart.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.