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Beside Myself – De Waal Venter

The creative impulse does not emanate from the conscious mind. It has a source that can be described as “beside” the creative person. In this sense it is reminiscent of the expression “to be beside oneself with joy or grief, or some other strong emotion.” In ancient times this phenomenon was fleshed out in the concept of the “muse”. A muse being one of the divine persons (always a woman) who “inspires” or breathes the creative material into the ears of the poet or artist. The metaphor of the earth having a “female companion” beside “him” comes to mind. The moon who never leaves the side of the earth is essential to what is created on and by the earth: tides of the sea, the delicate balance of gravity between the two bodies, the seasons, the waxing and waning of the months – not to mention the poetry and song created with the moon as subject over the ages. To apply the concept: I cannot create (a poem) unless I become “beside myself”, that is: I enter a creative state of mind which is different from my everyday, businesslike state of mind. One could say it is a state “beside myself”. In this state I receive the creative impulse from the unknown source we often call our muse.


Born 7 May 1942 in Pretoria. Married. Four children, five grandchildren. Lives in Krugersdorp, Gauteng. Attended University of Pretoria. Studied scientific subjects, literature and languages. Writes in English and Afrikaans. First volume of poetry “Kiem” published in 1963. Published more volumes of poetry in the ensuing years. Also published children’s books, youth novels, stage and radio plays, song lyrics, and a film script. Book of English verse “Entangling states of mind” published in 2010. Volume of Afrikaans poems “Oop sirkel” published in 2018. Book of Pablo Neruda poems translated from Spanish into Afrikaans “Vandag is boordensvol” published in 2019. Working on a new collection of Tomas Tranströmer poems translated from Swedish into Afrikaans. Poetry blog: https://inmogale.wordpress.com

Venue: The Little Way Chapel


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