Robert Berold (1948 - ) is a poet and editor. Born in Johannesburg, he matriculated from Hilton College in KwaZulu-Natal at the age of 16 before studying engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. After graduating, he read economics and English literature at Cambridge University. From 1989 to 1999, Berold served as the editor for the poetry journal New Coin. He also taught English literature at Zhejiang University in the People's Republic of China from 2005 to 2006.
He is the author of four books of poetry – The Door to the River (Bateleur, 1984), The Fires of the Dead (Carrefour, 1989), Rain Across a Paper Field (Gecko Poetry, 1999) and All the Days (Deep South, 2008) – a biography, and one memoir titled Meanwhile Don’t Push and Squeeze (2007).
Denis Hirson has suggested that: "His pared down naming of essential things around him, the physicality of the encounter between words and local environment, free of intellectual artifice, along with an increasing meditative simplicity, combine to give his voice its distinctive sound in South Africa today."
Furthermore, Berold has been involved with encouraging and editing the works of other poets. Collections that have benefited from his attention include those by Tatamkhulu Afrika, Nadine Botha, Angifi Dladla, Megan Hall, Mzi Mahola, Mzwandile Matiwana, Joan Metelerkamp, Kobus Moolman Seitlhamo Motsapi, Khulile Nxumalo, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Lesego Rampolokeng, Ari Sitas and Phillip Zhuwao.
Berold runs Deep South, a small press publishing mostly poetry. From 2012 to 2016, he coordinated the new MA in Creative Writing programme at Rhodes University. He lives on a farm near Grahamstown with his wife, Mindy Stanford.
the town’s new houses ( From Rain Across a Paper Field)
The town’s new houses stray in empty bush,
the old house stands in ruins.
The wind has gathered all the doubts
and blown them, one big questions, through the hills.
Following the dusk with my binoculars
I picked up distant traffic on the national road,
the tiny townships where the farmers
close their labourers in.
Still not sure what happened,
How the earth’s internal organs moved.
Found myself before a farmhouse,
dark transparencies of egrets beat across a vlei
1984. The Door to the River. Cape Town: Bateleur Press.
1989. The Fires of the Dead. Cape Town: Carrefour Press.
1999. Rain Across a Paper Field. Scottsville: University of Natal Press.
2008. All the Days. Grahamstown: Deep South.
2010. Seven Variations on a Poem by Du Fu. Grahamstown: Aerial Publishing (editor)
2003. Drive Out Hunger: the Story of JJ Machobane of Lesotho. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.
2007. Meanwhile Don't Push and Squeeze: a Year of Life in China. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.