Saturday, January 23, 2016

Kobus Moolman Wins 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize + Poems

Kobus Moolman (b. 1964), a South African poet, playwright, and author of five individual collections of poems and two collections of plays, has received the 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for his collection A Book of Rooms (Deep South, 2014). The judge was the award-winning poet and scholar Gabeba Baderoon, and the honor was bestowed by African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) based at the University of Nebraska. The recipient of numerous awards in South Africa, Moolman teaches at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.

Judge Baderoon says about the book: "“In 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 heart also opens into speech."

African Poetry Book Fund Director Kwame Dawes writes about Moolman, "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. Our hope is that in some small way, this prize will aid in that larger effort." Lastly, Moolman describes this volume as "a brave/foolhardy attempt to shake up the distinction between truth (fact) and fiction, between autobiography and invention."

Though I am affiliated with the APBF, I wasn't familiar with Moolman's work before this award, but having read it I can without question that it certain merits this distinction and high praise. And now, here are two of Moolman's poems, from Poetry International. Enjoy!

[The sheep move off]

The sheep move off.
The sky gets heavier.
The birds grow lighter.
The wind stands up and stretches.
The trees bend over to pick up the old leaves.
The horizon folds in half, then half again.
The sound of a train drags rough words across the hills.
The hills slowly empty of colour.
He sits down on a stone.
He moves his left hand in circles,
circles that narrow in upon themselves.
His skin crawls with flies.
He makes no attempt to drive the end
of the day away from his bare chest.
He throws his left hand against the wind.
He throws the earth far away from beneath his feet.
There is a tightness in his side again.
A tightness where his faith should be.

© 2013, Kobus Moolman
From: Left Over
Publisher: Dye Hard Press, Johannesburg, 2013, 978-0-9869982-2-5



So most nights.

So every other night.

So every other night when not with.

So when usual and without surprise.

So together and far apart and beyond all at the same.

So at night time when leaving and standing, watching go

So more or less, this way and that.

So opening, closing, in, out, attached and loose as
a nozzle.

So switched on.

So off.

So when the sky rolls over and on top and big is too
full and the wind is grey as cotton, hand-washed,
hanging up, dripping over the bath, and the plug is
breathless and blocked up with his hair that does
not stop, that does not stop falling, out.

That does not.

© 2013, Kobus Moolman
First published on Poetry International, 2013

Both poems © Kobus Moolman, 2013, 2016. From Poetry International, all rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment