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Douglas Livingstone Digital Archive PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2007 00:54

Douglas Livingstone (1932- 1996) was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and came to South Africa with his family at ten years of age. He went to school at Kearsney College in Natal, and trained as a bacteriologist at the Pasteur Institute in Salisbury, now Harare, in Zimbabwe. Livingstone was employed as a marine biologist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Durban from 1964. He produced several volumes of poetry including The Skull in the Mud (1960, a pamphlet), Sjambok and Other Poems from Africa (1964), Poems (1968, with Thomas Kinsella and Anne Sexton), Eyes Closed against the Sun (1970), A Rosary of Bone (1975, republished with additional poems in 1983), The Anvil's Undertone (1978), A Littoral Zone (1991), Giovanni Jacopo meditates (1995), and Selected Poems (1984).


His translations of Shona poetry with Phillip Berlyn are collected in Eight Shona Poems and Wilson Chivaura: Dreams. He also wrote radio plays entitled The Sea My Winding Sheet (1964; pub. 1971, revised 1978) and A Rhino for the Boardroom (1974, a prose satire). Michael Chapman is the author of an insightful literary study of Livingstone's poetry entitled Douglas Livingstone: A Critical Study of His Poetry (1981). Livingstone received the BBC Federal Broadcasting Corporation Prize (1964), the Guinness Poetry Prize (1965), the Cholmondeley Poetry Prize (1970), the Olive Schreiner Prize (1975) for his second radio play, and the CNA Award (1985) for Selected Poems. He died in Durban where he had lived and worked for many years.

Digital Audio Downloads (MP3s)

The Poet Speaks: Part One. Radio South Africa. Broadcast date: 09/05/1993

Divided into five sections

Thanks to Monica Fairall for supplying us with the interviews and readings.