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Marlise Joubert PDF Print E-mail

Marlise Joubert is a full-time painter and Afrikaans writer, who studied Librarianship and Philosophy at the University of Pretoria. She worked as a journalist before joining the the department of Fine Arts at the University of Stellenbosch. Her publications include seven volumes of poetry and three novels. She was the editor of four volumes of poetry containing work of all the poets participating in the yearly Versindaba poetry festivals in Stellenbosch. She translated some poems of Yhuda Amichai into Afrikaans. Four of her radio dramas won prizes with the RSG/Sanlam radio competition. Her new volume of poetry, splintervlerk, has been published by Protea Book House. In 2013, Joubert compiled and edited an anthology called In a Burning Sea - Contemporary Afrikaans Poetry in Translation. Her most recent work was a book of poetry, Bladspieël, which was released in 2015. Bladspieël was nominated for the Elisabeth Eybers Poetry prize of NB Publishers, as well as the ATKV Woordveertjies 2016.

Joubert lived in Westville, Durban from 1976 to 1982. Apart from working as a ceramist, she wrote her first novel Klipkus during this time as well as a volume of poetry.

Joubert is married to the poet, Louis Esterhuizen and they live and work in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She is the webmaster of Versindaba, a collective poetry web for Afrikaans poetry, with interaction from poets of  Netherland and Belgium.

Extract from splintervlerk (Tr. by Tony & Gisela Ullyatt)

blossom tongue

behind the easy chair

the irises still blooming

after four sterile days.


behind the vase of ribbed glass

cut-off arteries hang loose in the water.


behind purple butterflies bleeds the trauma

of a week ago, no, two or three

when purple forceps pinched my back,

rupturing the rotten cartilage like a nut –

bruising the jellied tissue soft as saffron

and snapping the orange stamen

of braided nerves.


behind the chair,

incessant and fervent,

with purple-spittled tongues

the irises bloom


before the sun squanders the crescent moon

and the stars’ firmament in perfect equilibrium

ligament by ligament



  • ’n Boot in die Woestyn, Perskor, 1971
  • Domus, Tafelberg, 1973
  • So ver en verder, Perskor, 1976
  • Klipkus, Tafelberg, 1978
  • Rode Granaat (Dutch translation of Klipkus), Anthos, Amsterdam, 1979
  • Ontruiming, Haum Literêr, 1986
  • Oranje Meraai, Tafelberg, 1996
  • Lyfsange, Protea Boekhuis, 2001
  • Ateljee van Glas, Protea Boekhuis, 2004
  • AVersindaba 2006, Protea Boekhuis, 2006
  • Passies en Passasies, Protea Boekhuis, 2007
  • Versindaba 2007, Protea Boekhuis, 2007
  • Versindaba 2008, Protea Boekhuis, 2008
  • Versindaba 2009, Protea Boekhuis, 2009
  • Splintervlerk, Protea Boekhuis, 2011
  • In a Burning Sea - Contemporary Afrikaans Poetry in Translation, 2013, (ed.) Protea Boekuis
  • Bladspieël, 2015, Protea Boekhuis.

Some poems translated to English can be viewed here: