If I were asked, in my role as a curator of poetry anthologies,
“Whose company do you keep in your everyday working life”,
I’d answer that I keep the company of Poets.

A second question might be:
“What are you exposed to, in the company of Poets?”

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The Burundian artist, Serge Alain Nitegeka, has created a powerful installation at The Norval Art Museum in Cape Town called Structural Response III and I recently read a selection of poems alongside it.

Structural Response III is Nitegeka’s response to forced migration and the crises of refugees.
It is imposing and forms an obstacle that is not easily traversed.
It does not represent a place of new or even good fortune.

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Wednesday is garbage collection day in our area.

Over the years, I have befriended many people who go through the rubbish of the neighbourhood, taking out what can still be eaten, used again, recycled or sold.

Most of these people are homeless and live rough. All are extremely poor. Alcoholism claws at many without mercy.

A host of lessons are learnt, some of which are practical and should be obvious – don’t just chuck out food. Wrap it and put it in a clean bag on top of the bin. Wrap broken glass and tins in newspaper so that ‘Diggers’ don’t cut themselves. Bag unwanted clothes separately. Don’t throw out medicines that are not labelled. Etc.

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My time as Poet in Residence at David Krut Projects comes to an end with the closing of their Cape Town gallery at Montebello this month.

What a privilege it has been to read poetry there, alongside works of art, drawing poems from the AFRICA! Anthologies; the POETRY  IN McGREGOR FESTIVAL Anthologies; the first twelve issues of STANZAS; and a number of collections, including translations from the Italian of Valerio Magrelli’s work.

In bidding farewell, I reflect on four exhibitions –

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Sunday 11 November 2018, was the centenary of the Armistice which marked the end of World War 1 at the
“Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month”.

The British Poet Laureate, Carol-Ann Duffy wrote a commemorative poem, THE WOUND IN TIME, which was read simultaneously by thousands of people across British and Irish beaches.

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The South African figurative artist, Nicola Holgate, recently exhibited her Dolls’ House at Chandler House in Cape Town. It took her two years to complete and holds over 100 tiny pieces within five rooms which are exact in every detail. Wall-paper and framed works of art speak of tasteful occupants. Persian carpets cover the floors. There is a dolls’ house in the children’s room.

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