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Interview: Kobus Moolman and Sbogiseni Dladla PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 September 2010 10:08

1. First tell us about the title Light and After, how did you come up with it?

The title just came to me. Out of the blue. I don't know what it means. I leave that up to the reader to decide for themselves. I don't want to prescribe a particular definition. 

2. How is it (Light and After) different from the other collections that you have published?

I do feel that in this collection I have somehow been able to get closer to what I want to say and have been wanting to say, than in other previous collections - perhaps with the exception of Time like Stone, my first book. This present collection is for me a breakthrough in that I think I have succeeded in finding a form and a language to be able to say things and to confront things within myself and about myself that I have not been able to do before. 

3. As a person who does not know anything about your work or your style, how would you describe your style of writing?

I have come to see my style as quite instinctual, almost visceral. I prefer to approach my poems through the unconscious, looking not at meaning, but rather trusting in the energy created when form meets content, when language meets shape. I am fascinated by form and fascinated by image (sensory images), and I have slowly come to trust that some kind of dynamic, some energy is created when these two elements come together. 

4. What inspired you to publish Light and After?

No one thing inspired me. It was rather a confluence of several factors. Things like my own reading, my own deep confrontation with myself on a psychic level, my awareness of the place I am at as a writer and as a human being, my awareness of getting older, my questioning myself and who I am and what I am doing.  

5. I know this question has been asked before but from you as Creative Writing teacher, what is the difference between a story teller and a poet?

I am not sure that there is such a big difference. It all depends how you define story and story teller and how you define poetry. A poem is a story. It is just a different kind of story to the kind of story that we might expect to find conventionally when we listen to a story teller. But a poet is deeply connected to the oral tradition, though breath and blood and the rhythms of the body, and all story is essentially the story of the human being in the world, and that is what poetry is too. So I am not too hung up on making barriers between genres and creating impenetrable divisions. It is the crossing, the sharing, the mixing that excites me. Not any attempt to claim some kind of literary purity. 

6. How many rewrites do you go through before you get to the final draft?

Oh boy. Yes, I do re-write and re-write. I can't exactly say how many times. It differs from one piece to another. Some are more immediate, more spontaneous, while others do require shaping and re-shaping. It just depends on the piece itself. Whether it can and does do what it wants to do yet, or whether I have to spend more time on searching out its required shape and sound. Each poem is different. 

7. Going back to the book, so far what has been the response from the people who have read your work so far?

I have had very positive reactions. Many people have responded to it in a way that my previous work has not been able to do. It has touched and moved people. They have recognized themselves in it, which is for me a deep compliment.  
8. With the rise of e-books, do you think printed books will become obsolete in 10-20 years?

No. I think the Book will always be with us, in a way that electronic technology will not be. The Book is physical. The e-book is electronic by its nature. It does not have what the Book has. The e-book is a part of fashion, of image and convenience, and lifestyle. The Book is deeper than that.  A Book has soul in the same way that trees and stones do. The e-book has no soul. Or if it does it is the soul of the machine. And that is of a different order.  

9. In one sentence, what advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Write. And don't give up. (That's two sentences.) 

10. Final words on your latest offering Light and After: what can you tell your readers about what they can expect from it?

I am sorry but I can't add anything to the book, more than what it has to say for itself. People must simply go and buy it. Read it. With an open mind.