Tonight I saw 9 poets at the Drum. 4 South Africans and 5 local poets they spent the last week working with. I have simply been inspired to write again. Listening to their amazing tales I realised why I had stopped writing. (I say had because as of tonight I’m writing again). It was because I thought I had nothing to say; thought I had no story worth telling; nothing interesting that I hadn’t already said. How wrong I’ve been. One of the local poets wrote about her name-its origins and how she has grown into it. I can tell a story about my name if I wish. Lebo talked about how she is formed by the strengths and weakenesses of both her parents and what an amazing ‘dancer’ that makes her. How am I the product of my parents; what have I taken from them; what would I rather have left? Donata focused on children-his own and other peoples -they are the reason we are here he said-its what its all about-without children there would be no point to it all. (Interestingly I read two poems about Miles at WWB today) What else can I write about children? Me who have worked with them and on behalf of them for so long.
Of the four South Africans I was most inspired by Lebogang Mashile. Bought her book and even asked her to sign it. It was the second signed poetry book of the day- one of the WWB members gave me a signed copy of her book today ‘for being an inspiring’!!! When did I do that I asked myself (but kept the question to myself).
The other SA poets were Keorapetse Kgositsile, Donata Mattera, and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers. This was the first date of the tour ‘Beyond Words’. They are doing the Southbank Centre 4th Nov; Saville Exchange North Sheilds 7th Nov; The Albany London 10th Nov; Contact Manchester 12 Nov; and Bristol Old Vic 15th Nov. Worth seeing if you are anywhere near.
I’ve spent the day steeped in poetry and now I’m off to write. Halelulah I actually have some subject matter. I have a rich life; I have a story (or is it many stories) to tell.