That Old, Material Utensil, Language – Dryad Press (Michèle Betty, Joan Hambidge and Sally Ann Murray)
Take that old, material utensil, language, found all about you, blank with familiarity, smeared with daily use, and make it into something that means more than it says.
- Adrienne Rich, “Someone is Writing a Poem”
The blurb for Sally Ann Murray’s new collection Otherwise Occupied says: ”Here, a poem is a space of enactment, a process of thinking-writing and performative exploration: idea ↔ body, lyric ↔ language, innovative necessity ↔ enduring convention.” Michèle Betty will be in conversation with Sally Ann Murray and Joan Hambidge on the complexity of language and language innovation. On how to make the familiar new and on how to use language imaginatively and creatively. She will also engage with Hambidge and Murray on their dual lives as poets, critics, mentors and departmental heads. Both Murray and Hambidge will read from recent work.
Sally Ann Murray is Chair of the English Department at the University of Stellenbosch. She has an MA (cum laude) and a PhD from the University of Natal, Durban. Her novel, Small Moving Parts (Kwela, 2009), won the 2013 UKZN Book Prize, the 2010 M-Net Literary Award for Best Novel in English, and the 2010 Herman Charles Bosman Prize for Best Publication Media 24. It was also shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Prize (2010), and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize (2010). She was the recipient of the 1991 Sanlam Award for Literature (Poetry) and the 1989 Arthur Nortje/Vita Award for poetry. Her poems have recently been published in poetry journals Aerodrome and Five Points, and in The New Century of South African Poetry (Jonathan Ball, 2018). Otherwise Occupied is her third poetry volume, her previous collections being open season (HardPressd, 2006) and Shifting (Carrefour Press, 1992). She has also published short fiction, most recently in the Short.Sharp.Stories competition anthologies Incredible Journey (Mercury Books, 2015), Trade Secrets (Tattoo Press, 2017), and Instant Exposure (National Arts Festival, 2018).
Michèle Betty is the editor of New Contrast: The South African Literary Journal and the founder of Dryad Press (Pty) Ltd, an independent poetry publishing company dedicated to the promotion and publication of poetry in South Africa. She has a BA LLB from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. Her poems have appeared in journals both in South Africa and abroad, and have been anthologised, most recently in Michael Chapman’s New Century of South African Poetry (Jonathan Ball, 2018). Her debut collection Metaphysical Balm was shortlisted for the 2018 Ingrid Jonker Prize.
Joan Hambidge’s debut book of poetry, Hartskrif, was published in 1985. Her second collection, Bitterlemoene, published in 1986, was the recipient of the Eugène Marais Prize. She was also awarded the Litera Prize for her poem on Eugène Marais (which appeared in Lykdigte) and the ATKV Poetry Prize for her collection, Visums by Verstek. In the decades since receiving these awards, Hambidge has written prolifically and produced over 25 poetry collections, the most recent being Indeks, (Human & Rousseau, 2016) and The Coroner’s Wife (Dryad Press, 2017). She was a lecturer and later a professor at the University of the North. Since 1992, she has been a professor at the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Cape Town. In 2016, she was also appointed to the Council of the University of Stellenbosch. She is an active reviewer, literary theorist and public intellectual, and has written extensively on Postmodernism, deconstruction and gender. She has also published various novels, including Die Judaskus(Perskor, 1988) and Kladboek (Protea, 2008). She currently holds the Hofmeyr Chair in Afrikaans at UCT.
Venue: Caritas at Temenos