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Kerry Hammerton

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Poetry helps to keep the light on

For my final interview with South African woman writers for Mslexia I chatted to award winning poet Bev Rycroft about poetry prizes, poetry in South Africa and about being a woman writer.

Did it make a difference to you or your poetry when you received the second prize in the Sol Plaatjie Poetry Competition for Has your Dad got a Bird yet?

It opened doors and it helped my confidence. I used to have flashes believing that people were only saying good things about my poetry because they were being nice to me. This prize gave me an independent confirmation that my poetry is good. (The competition is judged blindly).

The rest of the interview can be found at the Mslexia Blog.

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    July 6th, 2012 @17:20 #
     
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    "Poetry has become politically correct – it needs to be a pleasure." Yes.

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  • <a href="http://kelwynsole.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kelwyn Sole</a>
    Kelwyn Sole
    July 7th, 2012 @10:02 #
     
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    For the life of me I can't think of much politically correct poetry in South Africa at the moment, or any requirement for it to be so - unless one moves in Government circles. Maybe I'm missing something. And poetry only needs to be as difficult as it has to be: no more.

    "Poetry demands a different material than prose. It uses another facet of the same fact ... the spontaneous confrontation of language as it is heard" - WC Williams, 'Detail & Prosody for...'

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  • <a href="http://www.kerryhammmerton.com" rel="nofollow">Kerry Hammerton</a>
    Kerry Hammerton
    July 7th, 2012 @15:38 #
     
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    I think that some poets believe that you have to be obscure and difficult in your poetry to be considered a good poet. I don't believe that Bev is disputing that poetry has musicality and requires a different way of writing than prose. It is more that good and great poetry can be accessible to everyone.

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  • <a href="http://kelwynsole.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kelwyn Sole</a>
    Kelwyn Sole
    July 7th, 2012 @17:09 #
     
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    Sure, Kerry ... but in quite a lot of poetry, there's work required from the reader too -

    e.g. when first reading Milton, he seems very difficult and obscure, until you teach people to understand that his style is MEANT to be multi-directional, and its use of prolix embedded clauses isn't just affectation. Moreover, a line of poetry often refers to the line preceding it and following it at the same time.... i.e. for Milton, 'truth is a struggle to understand, arrived at through the process of reading' (McCabe, I think).

    So, this is poetry that's difficult, but it's only as difficult as it has to be, given what Milton is trying to do to the reader's perceptions and consciousness. Just as an example.

    I'd argue the all poets has preconceptions about what they want to do their readers perceptions; and aim/format their style accordingly.

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