I am delighted and honoured that my recent collection, A Book of Rooms (Deep South, 2014) was named the winner of the African Poetry Book Fund’s 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry.
The prize was judged by award-winning poet and scholar Gabeba Baderoon. Baderoon said of the collection: “Moolman’s poems in this collection are electric, visceral, brilliantly experimental, and profoundly moving.” She goes on to explain the sense of movement through the different rooms in the book: “Through this close reading of spaces, we trace walls, windows, curtains, corners; our attention caught by the cut beneath the door, illumination flaring from glints of memory . . . Yet if his flesh is betrayed, and his heart breaks into silence and shame, the hole in his [the boy’s] heart also opens into speech.”
The African Poetry Book Fund seeks to celebrate and cultivate the poetic arts of Africa. The Glenna Luschei Prize, funded by literary philanthropist and poet Glenna Luschei and the only pan-African book prize of its kind, promotes African poetry written in English or in translation by recognizing a significant book published each year by an African poet.
Kwame Dawes, director of the African Poetry Book Fund, said, “Every time we bring attention to the wonderful poetry being written by African poets today, we are enacting something quite important for African literary arts, and Moolman, whose poetry I have followed for a number of years, is a poet that more people should know.”
The Pietermaritzburg launch of my latest collection, A Book of Rooms (deep south publishers), was held recently at the Tatham Art Gallery coffee shop.
I spent two wonderful weeks at the end of September visiting Ireland and giving readings and workshops. I was a guest of the O’Bheal Poetry Centre, Cork. I read at O’Bheal, at University College Cork and at Fermoy. Below with poet-friends on the banks of Lough Derg at the Dromineer Literary festival: (L to R) Eleanor Hooker, Paul Casey (who was so gracious in arranging my Irish visit – Dankie!), Africa McGlinchey and Rosie (whose surname I forgot – sorry).
Irish friends in poetry
After my reading at the Dromineer Literary festival, county Tipperary, with Maureen Kennelly, director of Poetry Ireland, and Conor O’Callaghan, Gerald Dawe, and organiser of the festival, Eleanor Hooker.
At the Dromineer Literary Festival
Participating in the “Book that Most Influenced Me” panel discussion at the Nenagh Arts Centre, part of Dromineer Festival. With (L to R) Michael Murphy, Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Thomas McCarthy & Liz Nugent. Chaired by Maureen Kennelly, director of Poetry Ireland.
Panel discussion at Nenagh Arts Centre
If you would like to listen to a podcast of my poems “The Foot”, “Ambition” and “Survival”, visit my link on the amazing Badilisha Poetry site: http://badilishapoetry.com/radio/kobus-moolman/
I was announced as the winner of the 2013 Sol Plaatje European Union poetry award for my poem, “Daily Duty”. The award ceremony took place during the Poetry Africa festival in Durban.
Reading my winning poem, “Daily Duty”.
Poetry Africa 2013 poets
I performed recently at the 2013 Poetry Africa Festival in Durban, with other South African poets such as Lesego Rampolokeng, Ari Sitas and Khulile Nxumalo, and a host of wonderful poets from Ireland – Billy Ramsell, Paul Casey and Afric McGlinchey – and India, including Vivek Narayanan and Sabitha Satchi. It was a powerful line-up of spoken word and page-based poets!
Reading from Left Over at the launch
My new collection of poetry, Left Over (published by Dye Hard Press) was launched on 6th June. The book was launched at the education centre of the National English Literary Museum in Grahamstown. In his introductory talk at my launch Robert Berold hailed the book as the ‘most powerful collection of South African poetry he has read in the last ten years’.
I arrived ten days ago in Grahamstown, in the eastern Cape, to take up the Mellon Writer in Residence at Rhodes University. I’ll be here for three months working on new material, helping out with the MA creative writing programme and giving public readings and lectures. I’ll also be launching my new collection of poetry, Left Over, published by Dye Hard Press – but more about that later.
In the meantime, here is something from my current journal about the value of a residency:
“A residency – it seems to me slowly now – is not so much about the work produced, the amount of work begun and finished. But what I think it is about is the opportunity for a writer to be able to listen and to hear himself. To have the space and the time to walk around inside his own mouth all day and night. This is a true gift. The opportunity to connect anew (or connect for the first time) with what is there on the inside of the outside.”
Image by Julia Buss