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Connect – The life Righting Collective (Giles Griffin, Hani du Toit and Dawn Garisch)

‘We know how to get to the moon, but we don’t know how to get on with each other.’

– Arnold Mindell

We reach for a poem because the poem’s reach is beyond the confines of the page and the line. Giles Griffin, Hani du Toit and Dawn Garisch from the Life Righting Collective will read examples from their own and other poets’ work that illustrate the ways in which poetry can help connect us to our bodies, to each other, and to the world.

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” —T.S. Eliot

“Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.” —W.H. Auden

Giles Griffin likes food, wine and books. He was brought up mostly in the Midlands of England, spending time in London and the past 25 years in Cape Town. He is moved by “nature, mothers, unspoken emotion, unjust oppression, a finely turned bicep and creativity – in particular gastronomic and literary innovation.” Giles is an apprentice poet. His poem “Four not out (yet)” captures a first ’60s childhood memory and sets the trajectory for a whole life to come… while “Gone viral”, part-presented at his debut at the McGregor Poetry Festival in 2018, is a personal and public eulogy about the 1990s – both for those who have gone before and those who have survived the HIV pandemic. Giles is a founder member of the Life Righting Collective and a contributing author to its first anthology: This is how it is (Fanele/Jacana 2018).

Hani du Toit As a Muslim woman, Hani is inspired by the possibility of breaking invisible barriers and increasing human to human connection. She carries this love into her work as a Conversation Coach teaching conflict resolution at corporates and universities, in boardrooms and townships, locally and abroad. She writes poetry and memoir to expand her self-awareness, grapple with her own life struggles and have greater ability to recognise the golden light in every human being. Her children’s book, Just Like Me, created through the Book Dash project, was cited as a model for writing about inclusion for children and has recently been translated into Urdu for distribution in Pakistan. Depending on the day or season, you could find Hani cooking up a storm, facilitating team cohesion, painting in water colour or oils, or nursing her tiny vegetable garden… if she’s not writing a poem of course!

Dawn Garisch is an award-winning author, poet, playwright, medical doctor and life writing facilitator. Her second collection of poetry will be published in 2020 by Modjaji. She is part of the medical humanities movement in South Africa.

Venue: Chalice at Temenos

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