Media statement by Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs
Mar í Petégrew up on the Eastern Highveld of South Africa and has worked in e-learning at the Durban University of Technology since 1994. Over a period of twenty years her poems have appeared in a number of literary journals. Her first volume of poetry entitled Begin was published by umSinsi Press in 2002. She was the winner of the Woordgilde Poetry Competition in 2005. Two thirds of the poems are written in English and the remainder in Afrikaans.
The Live Poets Society will be meeting at the Alliance Francaise from 6-8pm on Tuesday 25 November. Our guest poet Marí Peté will be reading from her widely published and reviewed work “Amytis”. A collection of poems / ‘n versameling verse” (umSinsi Press). The themes for members’ and guests’ poems for the evening is “Ancient Voice.”
Meetings of the Live Poets’ Society are open to the public and you don’t need to be a poet to attend, just come along and enjoy.
DATE: 25 Nov 08
TIME: 18.00 — 19.00 (Amytis); 19.00 — 20.00 (Open session)
VENUE: Alliance Francaise, 22 Sutton Crescent (just off Windermere), Morningside, Durban
The book title Amytis (also the title of the first poem in the book) refers to the beloved wife of King Nebucadnezzar, who pined, after marriage, for her lush native land, and for whom the king constructed the hanging gardens of Babylon.
In this collection of poetry Marí Peté explores dreamscapes, everyday experiences, and the thin membrane between these two states of being. In many of her poems she weaves connections between the realms of Nature and Spirit. In contrasting mood, writing in Iscamtho or Tsotsitaal (an urban South African street dialect), Peté takes the reader on alternative guided tours of her home city, Durban (Umgeni Road, Durban Taxi, Local is Lekker).
A prominent theme which runs through the volume is the poets attempt to capture that moment when the bird sings / very close to the music of what happens (Seamus Heany) — whether it be the moment when a small stirring beneath inland sea sets in motion the formation of a cave (in Four Elements), or the moment the sun shifts over the spine of the earth when an armadillo is dreamt into being (in Beneath a Fig Tree), or the moment a hiker in a forest dreams of a shrine that makes gravel waves ripple (in Stream).
The reader will find various contemplations on kinship (what Mary Oliver calls your place in the family of things). In a sense the work becomes a networked conversation — voices that emerge are, amongst others, mystical theologian Thomas Berry; spiritual scientists Michael Faraday and Albert Einstein; eastern philosopher Tao Te Ching; and Old Testament characters Noah and Sarah. References to praying mantises, dassies and geckoes, illuminate the voice of the infinite in the small (Sir Laurens van der Post). This conversation culminates in a multi-layered poem entitled The Great Echo.
For more information contact Bhekani Dlamini on 031 373 2845 to facilitate the interview.