By Sandile Dudu Saki
Wordsmiths, writers, poets, word enthusiasts, and those passionate about the written word gathered at Amazwi South African Museum of Literature on the evening of 11 May to experience and support the launch of Kerry Hammerton’s latest book of poetry, afterwards. This is not her first nor her second, but a fourth offering preceded by These Are The lies I Told You, The Weather Report, and The Secretkeeper.
Hammerton says that the journey to poetry is not a linear one. For instance, she wrote the poems in this collection previously, but they could not fit in any of her previous collections.
“The process towards this has been two years of working with the editor and the publisher, and I can assure you it has been rigorous and challenging,” said the poet. When asked which poems are her favourite, she answered: “They’re all my babies. I cannot have a favourite, but the title poem (afterwards) is apocalyptic – you have humans eating moss and grass.”
The launch itself was on a different par because the author was in conversation with Makhanda poet, Marike Beyers, talking about the poems in the book, the difference between prose and poetry, poems about Cape Town and other issues pertaining to writing.
South African poet, Kobus Moolman describes the book as an exploration of “the lived-in-ness of the body with its desires, its beauty and even its joys”. It provides a nice read and could make a lovely present for a dear friend, a companion or a loved one. It contains poems like There is Something About Her Body, Her Life in Colour, and Not Wife, which represent how society constructs a view of women.
Listening to the author read some of the poems helped in locating the voice and synching it with the poetry as it is presented on the page. Listening to how the poem came about also gives a clear perspective of the journey to poetry, which the author deems not linear. The book in itself is presentable, with a sprinkling of photographs for illustration here and there. Besides being a notable author, Hammerton is a freelance tutor and supervisor in the Master’s Creative Writing programme at Rhodes University.