Bookfair thrills with new poets

DESPITE initial hiccups on the first day of the bookfair in Kimberley, the event went well and ended with excellent recitations of poems from the books that were launched on the last day of the fair.

The Saudi Arabian writer Abdullah Al Wesali gave a mo­ving keynote address, cautioning writers to steer away from writing on sex, politics and religion.

While he gave his reasons for this, it was clear that his country controls the lives of its citizens and they live with minimal freedom.

However, every writer who launched a book on Saturday (01/10) read poems, particularly on sex and politics.

The caution by Al Wesali was a stark contrast to the invitation of the bookfair, which reads:

“The Annual Kimberley Book Fair intends to draw attention to the importance and the triumph of freedom of expression anywhere in the world. People who can speak with authority on freedom of expression are those who at some point in their artistic careers were denied the same freedom.”

  • The four writers who launched their books expressed such artistic freedom in the recitation of their poems to the approval of those who attended. First to launch was the late artistic and cultural giants Matsemela and Nomsa Manaka’s son, Makumele “Mac” Mana-ka, on crutches, who bellowed his lyrics expressing his frustrations to the powers that be.

Manaka is growing in stature in poetry and writing circles. His accident in their Diepkloof Extension home was widely reported and many South Africans saw him ma-king his first moves while undergoing physiotherapy.

  • Thus his anthology Flowers; broken smile “is an attempt to sincerely bear witness and openly express the dust and dirt of paying beneath the carpets of our lives,” according to his book. The second writer, who is the surprise of the 2016 South African literary circuit, is Sarah Godsell, a PhD-holder and daughter to Bobby Godsell. According to one of the atten-dants, Godsell’s Easy go and Simplicity betrays her social upbringing.

Godsell launched her poetry collection, Seaweed Sky, out of which she recited some sexy and naughty poems.

  • The foreword of Godsell’s debut poetry collection, by Makhosazana Xaba, reads: “These poems kept me smiling from my depths. Sarah captured life and rounded it up as the circle it is.” Raphael d’Abdon, who is an international speaker and writer, was born in Italy. Hence his poetry is much more of a lament for the past and yearning for his homeland.
  • His publication, which he did through Poetree Pu-blications, is a self-published anthology and the beauty of it is that it is a mixture of English and Italian. The last person who launched was Selome “Flow” Payne.

Payne is a publisher and co-owner of Poetree Publications Pty Ltd, which encourages self-publication and are able to assist with a step-bystep move through the publishing pro-cess.