2018 Reviews2018-09-06T14:03:28+00:00

2018 Reviews and Comments

Ian McCallum

It was good to be back in McGregor again. Thank you all for your hard work and commitment to this very special event. I felt very honoured to be included among some fine poets. I hope you will be resting up for a while. You deserve it.

All good wishes


Elisa Galgut

Just a short note to say a big ‘thank you’ for all the hard work that you and everyone else on the organising team put into making the poetry festival such a success. I really appreciate it.  I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s festival, and both my venues were great!  As I said to the audience at “The Well” – if my poems don’t sound good here, they don’t have a chance anywhere else!

Thanks again, and much appreciated.


Adré Marshall

Congratulations on yet another supremely successful poetry festival! What a stimulating, inspiring time it was.  Despite the cold weather, the warm welcome and vibrant ambience enveloped us all.  And Geoff and I felt particularly privileged in having the Little Way Chapel as our venue. To read our poetry in the presence of that extraordinary picture of Buddha and Christ was a memorable experience.

With great appreciation and warm regards

Michèle Betty

I wanted to write to you to thank you for a most memorable weekend in McGregor.  Dryad Press had such a fantastic time. The programme was full of interesting events and so well attended.  I hope to be able to be involved with you and the festival again next year.

Kind regards


Edna Fourie

I am honored to be part of the Poetry in McGregor Festival. You do a sterling job to make the world a more soulful place.
Warm regards

Fourie Botha

Dear Jennifer, Margie, and everyone of Poetry in McGregor

I had an excellent time at your great festival. Thanks for inviting me! Thanks also to Marion Bower for putting me up.

Warmest wishes

Willem Fransman Jr

We enjoyed ourselves too! For me poetry is like breathing! I live by it!

Thank you!


Laverne Schwimmbacher

The Festival is over,

to another year we’ve said our good-byes.

Gone is the prepping and the planning,

the meetings, laughter and cries.

Hard work resulted

in smooth successful events

in many various venues in the town

including the book tent.

Poets Corner,

a quaint bookshelf lined room

where warmth of the fireplace

draws me into her cosy embrace

where I may happen upon another poet or two

eager to chat and share

words written from the heart

verses of Inspiration, hope and care.

Good food and wine at Tebaldies,

friendships and memories made to last.

A walk through the gardens, pausing here and there

and so much you’ll miss if you go too fast.

So cheers to the Sound of Water theme

and all who contributed

now to look forward to

another anthology created and distributed.

Blessings all, well done

thanks once again for the part that you played

And we will look forward to the next

when plans are laid out and begin to be made

Medz Musandiwa

I just want to say thank you to the committee for the opportunity to speak at Poetry in McGregor this year. I appreciate the effort and expense in bringing myself, Phillipa and Zama over for the weekend. I hope to see you again next year.



You must all be so tired, and so proud. Congratulations for another fabulous Poetry Festival. I admire you all for what you have achieved. Thank you.
Warm regards

Rina Koen

Thank you again for all the effort that went into organising a delightful event and weekend of poetry. Please extend my appreciation to all involved ( donators of time and money).

Being able to be part, i.e. to be inspired by the sound of water, to sit down and actually put words to feelings and to submit poems ( on time ) , to take part in the reading having my mom (92) attending…. was more than rewarding!

Would you then please be so kind to do the EFT

To: Pay it forward

Address: Any project/ person you want to contribute or to boost development.

With kind regards and much appreciation.

Harry Owen

Just a quick word to say a sincere Thank You to all of you for yet another triumphant Poetry in McGregor. The festival continues to grow from strength to strength and this is almost wholly a consequence of your inspirational thinking and sheer hard work. As poets, we are hugely in your debt for providing such a wonderful platform for our voices and our words. I hope you will pass on my special regards to David Magner when you have a chance to do so, wishing him a speedy and complete recovery so that we see him again, fit and healthy, next year.

With thanks and all good wishes

Don Pinnock

GREAT festival! Thank you for all the work you guys do to make it happen.

Kelwyn Sole

Dear Jennifer, Billy and the Committee –

Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for the space, care and assistance during the McGregor Poetry Festival. It was much appreciated.


Annette Snyckers

Dear Jennifer,

What a wonderful weekend you wove for poets and poetry lovers! Despite the wind and the cold, there was the warmth of poetry and the warmth of kindness that lifted our hearts.

Thank you to you all: Jennifer, Billy, Madie, Margaret, Temenos – the organising committee, the volunteers, the kind people of McGregor.

Poetry in McGregor just gets better every year! I wish you all a well-deserved rest.

Warm regards

Annette Snyckers

I came back from Poetry in McGregor on a high. Yesterday I gave it time to settle in my mind. When I look back on the weekend now, several things remain highlighted:
Temenos and Billy Kennedy – how that beautiful place grew over the years to become a safe refuge and meeting place for many, how its positive impact has spread to touch the lives of the whole community of McGregor and beyond, how Billy’s joie de vivre, kindness and love of poetry birthed this annual poetry festival that has flourished and inspired many poets. Thank you also to Patricia Schonstein for compiling the McGregor Poetry Festival Anthology each year and for the important role she plays in promoting poetry in SA.
I think of the hard work Jennifer Johnson and the members of the commitee do – and still have to do once we are all back home – people like Madie Maans and Margaret who are always smiling and helpful, the helpers and the volunteers, the staff at Thebaldi’s.
And then I remember my fellow-poets and the warmth there was between them despite the wild wind of Saturday and the freezing cold of Sunday. I listened to wonderfully diverse readings and was again amazed by what people carry in their thoughts and in their hearts and are willing to share through their words. It was a privilege to take part for the third year. I appreciate very much the email I received from a stranger last night, telling me how deeply one of my poems had touched her. I come away inspired. Thank you. #poetryinmcgregor

Julia Kramer

McGregor Poësie-plesier.

Ek lê in my bed, knus toegewikkel onder ‘n rietdakplafon. Houtluike dig gesluit teen die kraakvars kilte daar buite.
Gistraand se koue het my onkant gevang.
McGregor toe, het ons met die skilderagtige roete, Somerset-Wes verby gery. Ek het gebruis van opwinding, soos ‘n kind voor Kersfees, kon ek die vorige aand nié slaap nie. Grabouw deur en anderkant verby, blom plate kanola in geel laslappies tussen geiltes koring en die ryk, neutbruin stoppelbaard van gesnoeide wingerde.
Villiersdorp kom nader en om die draai, is die pad omsoom met helder kolletjies. Magrietjies en gazanias in diep oranje en roesrooi. Goudgeel, purper en wit. Uitbundige pointilliste, blomplesier.

Sondag oggend, skrefies wolke skuif oop en die berge om McGregor is net-net sigbaar. Versiersuikersneeu lê gesif teen die hange van die berge wat McGregor omarm.
Ek herkou die naweek se poësie. Die McGregor Poetry Festival het oor drie dae gestrek, met so ‘n raps oor die twee honderd digters. Vanjaar se tema “Die Wonder van Water,” het ‘n wye spektrum van stemme die lig laat sien oor onderwerpe soos versengende droogte, daardie ‘wag op die reën-tyd’, en skrywes oor storms, strome van smart, en hartstog oorpoel deur blinkbruin, fluviale landskap van riviere.
Verskeie inwoners hier op McGregor het hulle deure-en harte oopgegooi vir die feesgangers en self die poësie-makieties by hulle bestuur. Hierdie is die sesde bestaansjaar van hierdie fees van digters en die digkuns, waar woorde dans, sing en lewe kry. Gevestigde digters het verskeie jong-kuikendigters gementor en saam met hulle opgetree.

Die jaarlikse skole-program het uit sy nate uit gebars met meer as vyfhonderd leerders van verskillende skole, hulle het die NG kerk-gebou laat bloos en jubel met klank, vers en tekstuur.
Hier was slypskole vir aspirantdigters en boekbekendstellings en ‘n boeketent.
Athol Williams, het ‘n bus saamgebring vanuit die Kaap, met sestig, jong entoesiastiese, poësie-liefhebbers.
Erns Grundling en Toast Coetzer, loop al baie jare ‘n paadjie saam. Die twee het heerlik gesels oor hulle reis-ervaringe en Afrikaanse skryf-en kamp avonture. Gesels oor hulle baba, Die Klyntji. Margot Luyt en Johann Nel het Getoor met Woorde. Lara Kirsten, het alger betower.
Verskeie digters in en om Kaapstad vergader weekliks in Observatory, die “Touch of Madness Collective het vonke laat spat teen vers-en klankkranse.
Digters soos Joan Hambidge, Doug Skinner en ander het van hulle gunsteling digters se gedigte voorgelees. Hier het ou staatmakers, Willem Fransman, Patricia SchonsteinDiana Ferrus, Helen Moffet en Kobus Moolman my laat regop sit, kop gekantel na hulle raakvat-woorde.
Port Elisabeth se jong digtersgroep, The Helenvale Poets kon die fees bywoon en ook hier optree danksy die groepsbevondsing-inisiatief deur die taakspan vd Mcgregor Poësie-fees.

My kop is ‘n warboel van woorde en kwatryne waarvan ek die draadjie van my onthou gretig lostorring. Feesgangers is betower deur spitsvondige haikoe, parmantige pantoeme, en gedigte, wat ander wêrelde vir ons oop-breek en ons aan die digters se lippe laat hang.
Hier op Temenos, plek van bome, lig en skadu’s teen witgekalkte mure. Plek van water wat stroom en kabbel .
Met gemaskerde wewers wat aan mandjienessies hang en poue, drag-queens wat gillend in die tuine hulle sterte oopwaaier.
Plek van aanbidding en voorbidding. Meditasie en oordenking. Hier het Billy Kennedy sy poësie-droom lewe ingeblaas. In hierdie digtersparadys flonker gedigte aan takke in peperbome, pronk haikoe, ingeplant in die grond, dryf gedigte in emaljeskottels, in die laberinte-kronkel van die roostuin.
Stanza’s, flenters gedigte skommel in my gedagtes, spoel oor my oë. Ek rol die ritmes, soos klippies, proe die woorde op my tong.
Lees-weer poësie, lees-meer poësie. Haal jou kaart uit en koop meer poësie.
Poësie is ons daaglikse brood, en ons moet dit uitdeél aan almal wat honger is.

Christine Muller Coates

After the festival — nature dancing! Thank you McGregor, Temenos, Billy KennedyJennifer Johnson, organizers and volunteers for a wonderful weekend of poetry. One of the best ever!

Helen Moffett

McGregor Poetry Festival was intense. Difficult to write about: I heard so many extraordinary, intimate, knotted stories in private conversations; heard so much good poetry (but how to describe? it’s like listening to music); had the teeth blown out my head by first the berg wind and then the storm that dusted the surrounding mountains with snow. Enjoyed the comfortable hospitality of Jan Glazewski and his wonderful mutts, Smarty and Rolo: strange but nice staying in someone else’s home rather than a guesthouse. I did too much — way too much to even write about — but I don’t regret a thing, and still didn’t see or hear enough people. I took lots of photos of beautiful poets, but everyone looks awful in them, so I’m not posting them. But I did get some grand ones of the Temenos peacocks.

I trod my little patch of earth. The strangest feeling.

Tracy Shaw‎

A big THANK YOU to all involved in imagining, creating, organising, presenting and participating the wonderful Poetry in McGregor event. It was a fun, heart-enriching and revitalising weekend. I am so glad we came.

Dawn Garisch

I would like to try to express our gratitude for the generous and fertile space you have created in McGregor for poets and their poems, that we can listen, perform and learn. There were 18 poets in total who attended from the Life Righting Collective, four had gigs at other times too. An intense and rewarding experience, something that we will never forget. We have come away inspired and bonded through this mystery of poetry. Thank you, and we hope to attend again next year.

With warm regards

Michelle Ainslie

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for an incredible weekend in McGregor. It went beyond my expectations and I feel so blessed. You did a fantastic job managing this massive event and you made each of us feel special. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Nancy Richards

I just wanted to thank you all so much for making me feel so welcome and at home for my first McPoetry fest. What a treat!

Best wishes and thanks once again

Douglas Reid Skinner

At this stage you’re frazzled and exhausted, I know. Brava e bravo for a festival that everyone I’ve spoken to feels went particularly well. I am grateful, as always, to have been invited.


Gayle Kent

Thank you all for a truly wonderful weekend.

I feel that I crept out of my comfortable Cape Town nest and into a vibrant world of the small dorpie, humming with talented people eloquently sharing the extraordinary beauty of their soul worlds. The strings of my being have been delicately strummed and will be resounding for a long time.