Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Afrika-dig

Enlarge poem

afrika-dig

ek wil ‘n gedig skryf wat soos afrika ruik
wat soos die heuwels van afrika
onder my voete pols
‘n gedig wat soos afrika jou laat voel
dat jy tuis gekom het
‘n gedig wat afrika-vas is op my tong
wat gloei soos die afrika-son op my rug

my tong is warm afrika-klip waarop die son vurig pyl
en die besies teen die boombas van my keel sing
sing sing sing
die afrika lug en doringbome en krieke
en woestyn stilte
sing sing sing
afrika uit die woude van my afrika-tong

my gedig wil soos aalwyne die lug steek
met bloedklanke die ondergaan van my sonswoord
tot stilte en vrede roep
my woorde wil jou roep soos skaars watergate
in die dorre landskap en die klanke wil dorstig
opgelek word deur die tonge van skugter koedoes

met hierdie afrika-gedig wil ek nie sin maak met woord
ek wil my tong soos ‘n rotsblok laat tuimel
met die steil kranse af
en met die val wil
ek leer om weer aarde-taal te praat
afrika-aarde taal

Translation: Africa poem

i want to write a poem that smells like africa
that pulses under my feet
like the hills of africa
a poem that like africa makes you feel
that you have reached home
a poem that is africa-steady on my tongue
that glows like africa sun on my back

my tongue is africa-stone on which the sun fiery arrows
and the cicadas sing against the bark of my throat
sing sing sing
the african sky and thorntrees and crickets
and desert silence
sing sing sing
africa from the forests of my africa tongue

my poem wants to pierce the sky like aloes
with bloodsounds the setting of my sunword
calls to silence and peace
my words want to call you like the scarce waterholes
in the bare and dry landscape and the sounds want to be
thirstily lapped up by the tongues of shy kudus

with this africa poem i don’t want to make sense with word
i want my tongue to tumble like rock
from the steep kranse
and with the fall
i want to learn again
to speak with the tongue of the earth
africa-earth tongue

Lara Kirsten

Featured Poem:

Dit is soos dit is

Enlarge poem

die volgende gedig kom tot sy reg as dit in die naakte liggaam voorgedra word

dit is soos dit is
in die vlees van my siel
is dit waar die woorde broei
en wat lug soek in die eter van die
naakte siele soos wat hulle saam uit die velle
van mense gebore word

ek kan
nòg meer vel
nòg meer vlees
wees
veel meer as wat ek hier voorgee

dit is soos dit is
die vlees in die naakte warmte van sweet
wat deur skadu van kostuum in ‘n hel van klugspel
bedek word
word verwring tot ‘n ongenaakbare
banale maskerade

wat is dit wat ek wil bedek met
die weefselkleed van die skaamte?
wat is dit wat jy wil bedek met
die weefselkleed van die skaamte
wat die skone vel van sonsoen en
reënval wil weerhou
wil weerhou van die wonderwêreld van sensasie
wat so direk tot die sielshuid spreek?

dis in die waarheid
– die naakte waarheid –
waarin
ek vasgevang word om my self uit te druk
soos net die naakte waarheid kan

in die holte van my selfheid
hou ek my vas aan die wande van my vel
– slegs aan my vel
hang ek vir my lewe

Translation: This is how it is

(This poem comes truly to life when it is performed in the nude)

this is how it is
in the flesh of my soul
is where the words breed
where it searches for air in the ether of the
naked souls as they are born together
from the skin of people

i can
be more skin
more flesh
much more
than you are perceiving

this is how it is
the flesh in the naked warmth of sweat
that’s covered
by shadow of costume in a hell of deceit
becomes contorted in a merciless
banal masquerade

what is it that i want to cover with
the cloth of shame?
what is it that you want to cover with
the cloth of shame
that shields pure skin
from sunkiss and rainfall
that shields pulsing skin from the wonderworld of sensation
that speaks so directly so the soulskin?

it is in the truth
– the naked truth –
in which
i am enclosed to express myself
as only the naked truth can

in the hollow of my selfhood
do i hold onto the edges of my skin
only from my skin
do i hang for my life

lara kirtsen

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  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

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Biography

Lara Kirsten is a pianist and performance poet. She balances the strict discipline of the art music with the writing and performance of her own poetry in Afrikaans and English. On occasion she combines her poetry with movement, visual art, photography and music.

In August 2007 she made her debut as a performance poet with the one-woman piece Ingrid Jonker Dans Weer. She performed her first extensive installation art and poetry piece, Frames, at the Fook Festival in Somerset-East in 2008. This work consisted of eight poems which were performed in eight different rooms with dialoguing installation art, costume and movement. In 2009 she made her debut in The Netherlands in the show Op het Punt van Aanraken (featuring music improvised by Francois le Roux, photography by Carmen Gonzalez and poems written and performed by Lara). In 2009 she was commissioned to write and perform poetry for the 60th Anniversary of the Voortrekker Monument Pretoria, taking a strong view on what it is to be an Afrikaner today. In September of 2010 and 2011 she had the privilege to perform as pianist and poet in the Baxter concert hall in Cape Town. In 2012 a highlight was performing in the Guy Butler theatre at The Settler’s Monument in Grahamstown. She has been invited to write and perform poetry for part of the opening ceremony for the International Aquarium Congress hosted at the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Centre) in September 2012. From 2010 to 2012 Lara has conceived and performed one-woman poetry happenings at the annual AfrikaBurn festival hosted in the Tankwa Karoo in the Northern Cape.In 2014 she was invited to perform as pianist and poet at the McGregor Poetry Festival. Since 2009 Lara has performed as featured poet at the Off the Wall poetry sessions in Observatory, Cape Town.

Since 2007 Lara’s poetry has been published in various editions of the South African Literary Journal New Contrast. In 2008 she became part of the Eastern Cape poet-group, Ecca, who presents readings and publishes collectively each year.

For more on Lara’s music career, poetry, photos and creative projects please visit her blog at http://laraafrika.blogspot.com/

Lara Kirsten

lara kirtsen
lara kirtsen

Biography

Lara Kirsten is a pianist and performance poet. She balances the strict discipline of the art music with the writing and performance of her own poetry in Afrikaans and English. On occasion she combines her poetry with movement, visual art, photography and music.

In August 2007 she made her debut as a performance poet with the one-woman piece Ingrid Jonker Dans Weer. She performed her first extensive installation art and poetry piece, Frames, at the Fook Festival in Somerset-East in 2008. This work consisted of eight poems which were performed in eight different rooms with dialoguing installation art, costume and movement. In 2009 she made her debut in The Netherlands in the show Op het Punt van Aanraken (featuring music improvised by Francois le Roux, photography by Carmen Gonzalez and poems written and performed by Lara). In 2009 she was commissioned to write and perform poetry for the 60th Anniversary of the Voortrekker Monument Pretoria, taking a strong view on what it is to be an Afrikaner today. In September of 2010 and 2011 she had the privilege to perform as pianist and poet in the Baxter concert hall in Cape Town. In 2012 a highlight was performing in the Guy Butler theatre at The Settler’s Monument in Grahamstown. She has been invited to write and perform poetry for part of the opening ceremony for the International Aquarium Congress hosted at the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Centre) in September 2012. From 2010 to 2012 Lara has conceived and performed one-woman poetry happenings at the annual AfrikaBurn festival hosted in the Tankwa Karoo in the Northern Cape.In 2014 she was invited to perform as pianist and poet at the McGregor Poetry Festival. Since 2009 Lara has performed as featured poet at the Off the Wall poetry sessions in Observatory, Cape Town.

Since 2007 Lara’s poetry has been published in various editions of the South African Literary Journal New Contrast. In 2008 she became part of the Eastern Cape poet-group, Ecca, who presents readings and publishes collectively each year.

For more on Lara’s music career, poetry, photos and creative projects please visit her blog at http://laraafrika.blogspot.com/

Afrika-dig

Enlarge poem

afrika-dig

ek wil ‘n gedig skryf wat soos afrika ruik
wat soos die heuwels van afrika
onder my voete pols
‘n gedig wat soos afrika jou laat voel
dat jy tuis gekom het
‘n gedig wat afrika-vas is op my tong
wat gloei soos die afrika-son op my rug

my tong is warm afrika-klip waarop die son vurig pyl
en die besies teen die boombas van my keel sing
sing sing sing
die afrika lug en doringbome en krieke
en woestyn stilte
sing sing sing
afrika uit die woude van my afrika-tong

my gedig wil soos aalwyne die lug steek
met bloedklanke die ondergaan van my sonswoord
tot stilte en vrede roep
my woorde wil jou roep soos skaars watergate
in die dorre landskap en die klanke wil dorstig
opgelek word deur die tonge van skugter koedoes

met hierdie afrika-gedig wil ek nie sin maak met woord
ek wil my tong soos ‘n rotsblok laat tuimel
met die steil kranse af
en met die val wil
ek leer om weer aarde-taal te praat
afrika-aarde taal

Translation: Africa poem

i want to write a poem that smells like africa
that pulses under my feet
like the hills of africa
a poem that like africa makes you feel
that you have reached home
a poem that is africa-steady on my tongue
that glows like africa sun on my back

my tongue is africa-stone on which the sun fiery arrows
and the cicadas sing against the bark of my throat
sing sing sing
the african sky and thorntrees and crickets
and desert silence
sing sing sing
africa from the forests of my africa tongue

my poem wants to pierce the sky like aloes
with bloodsounds the setting of my sunword
calls to silence and peace
my words want to call you like the scarce waterholes
in the bare and dry landscape and the sounds want to be
thirstily lapped up by the tongues of shy kudus

with this africa poem i don’t want to make sense with word
i want my tongue to tumble like rock
from the steep kranse
and with the fall
i want to learn again
to speak with the tongue of the earth
africa-earth tongue

Featured Poem:

Dit is soos dit is

Enlarge poem

die volgende gedig kom tot sy reg as dit in die naakte liggaam voorgedra word

dit is soos dit is
in die vlees van my siel
is dit waar die woorde broei
en wat lug soek in die eter van die
naakte siele soos wat hulle saam uit die velle
van mense gebore word

ek kan
nòg meer vel
nòg meer vlees
wees
veel meer as wat ek hier voorgee

dit is soos dit is
die vlees in die naakte warmte van sweet
wat deur skadu van kostuum in ‘n hel van klugspel
bedek word
word verwring tot ‘n ongenaakbare
banale maskerade

wat is dit wat ek wil bedek met
die weefselkleed van die skaamte?
wat is dit wat jy wil bedek met
die weefselkleed van die skaamte
wat die skone vel van sonsoen en
reënval wil weerhou
wil weerhou van die wonderwêreld van sensasie
wat so direk tot die sielshuid spreek?

dis in die waarheid
– die naakte waarheid –
waarin
ek vasgevang word om my self uit te druk
soos net die naakte waarheid kan

in die holte van my selfheid
hou ek my vas aan die wande van my vel
– slegs aan my vel
hang ek vir my lewe

Translation: This is how it is

(This poem comes truly to life when it is performed in the nude)

this is how it is
in the flesh of my soul
is where the words breed
where it searches for air in the ether of the
naked souls as they are born together
from the skin of people

i can
be more skin
more flesh
much more
than you are perceiving

this is how it is
the flesh in the naked warmth of sweat
that’s covered
by shadow of costume in a hell of deceit
becomes contorted in a merciless
banal masquerade

what is it that i want to cover with
the cloth of shame?
what is it that you want to cover with
the cloth of shame
that shields pure skin
from sunkiss and rainfall
that shields pulsing skin from the wonderworld of sensation
that speaks so directly so the soulskin?

it is in the truth
– the naked truth –
in which
i am enclosed to express myself
as only the naked truth can

in the hollow of my selfhood
do i hold onto the edges of my skin
only from my skin
do i hang for my life

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Afrika-dig

Enlarge poem

afrika-dig

ek wil ‘n gedig skryf wat soos afrika ruik
wat soos die heuwels van afrika
onder my voete pols
‘n gedig wat soos afrika jou laat voel
dat jy tuis gekom het
‘n gedig wat afrika-vas is op my tong
wat gloei soos die afrika-son op my rug

my tong is warm afrika-klip waarop die son vurig pyl
en die besies teen die boombas van my keel sing
sing sing sing
die afrika lug en doringbome en krieke
en woestyn stilte
sing sing sing
afrika uit die woude van my afrika-tong

my gedig wil soos aalwyne die lug steek
met bloedklanke die ondergaan van my sonswoord
tot stilte en vrede roep
my woorde wil jou roep soos skaars watergate
in die dorre landskap en die klanke wil dorstig
opgelek word deur die tonge van skugter koedoes

met hierdie afrika-gedig wil ek nie sin maak met woord
ek wil my tong soos ‘n rotsblok laat tuimel
met die steil kranse af
en met die val wil
ek leer om weer aarde-taal te praat
afrika-aarde taal

Translation: Africa poem

i want to write a poem that smells like africa
that pulses under my feet
like the hills of africa
a poem that like africa makes you feel
that you have reached home
a poem that is africa-steady on my tongue
that glows like africa sun on my back

my tongue is africa-stone on which the sun fiery arrows
and the cicadas sing against the bark of my throat
sing sing sing
the african sky and thorntrees and crickets
and desert silence
sing sing sing
africa from the forests of my africa tongue

my poem wants to pierce the sky like aloes
with bloodsounds the setting of my sunword
calls to silence and peace
my words want to call you like the scarce waterholes
in the bare and dry landscape and the sounds want to be
thirstily lapped up by the tongues of shy kudus

with this africa poem i don’t want to make sense with word
i want my tongue to tumble like rock
from the steep kranse
and with the fall
i want to learn again
to speak with the tongue of the earth
africa-earth tongue

Comments

Your email address will not be published.