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The taboos within the tidal moods of the menopause are described with an anger and a verbal intensity that are uniquely Krog’s. Close relationships are searingly explored, occasionally in a confrontational way, more often searching for resolution. In the final meditative section, Table Mountain, a looming, symbolic and androgynous godhead is contemplated as an abiding presence and witness to the transience of human life. These dramatic, even reckless poems, reaffirm Antjie Krog’s status and bring an altogether new and unique energy to South African English-language poetry.
Antjie Krog’s iconic status as one of South Africa’s most popular and critically acclaimed poets began when she was eighteen, with her first collection, Dogter van Jefta (1970). Almost four decades later, this very different collection will confirm her reputation with poems that blur and ravage the boundaries between the lyrical and confessional, the private and public.
From Body Bereft, p.62
the found fossil does not describe
how my blue eyes look past your eyes
how your black eyes look away from my eyes
how my white forearm does not simply
rest next to your black forearm
how my sleek hair sleeps next to your frizzy hair
the fossil does however describe in the finest vertebrae
how the coast blindingly kept on shouting
after the continent that once was part of her
how the fynbos undisputedly sniffed for her torn-away friends
how the rusted rock along the coast longed for the drifted bloodbrother
but the fossil knows that once everything was linked
that we broached our hearts for one another
only we don’t know
why we now sit with this stoney one-ness
and so much furious aversion
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ANTJIE KROG'S English prose debut was an extraordinary success. Country of My Skull met with much critical acclaim and unprecedented interest locally and in several markets and various translations published abroad. It won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, the BookData/South African Booksellers’ Book of the Year prize, the Hiroshima Foundation Award, the Olive Schreiner Award for the best work of prose published between 1998 and 2000, and received an Honourable Mention in the 1999 Noma Awards for Publishing in Africa. It appears as one of ‘Africa’s 100 Best Books of the Twentieth Century’ in a list compiled and adjudicated by a panel of the continent’s leading writers and academics. Down to My Last Skin, a collection of Krog’s poetry in English translation, was the inaugural winner of the FNB Vita Poetry Award in 2000. Antjie Krog was born on the farm Middenspruit in the Free State province of South Africa. She is the mother of four children and lives in Cape Town with her architect husband, John Samuel.
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