Now the world takes these breaths

Now The World Takes These Breaths

Joan Metelerkamp

As we have come to expect with Joan Metelerkamp’s work, these poems can be read individually or, more rewardingly, as a body, from cover to cover.

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Now The World Takes These Breaths

Formal but fluent, the ‘sonnets’ ( ‘soundings’) of this sequence marry cycle and narrative, old and new, secular and sacred, momentary and eternal. This is a strange and immediately familiar book – at its simplest it traces the story of a mother’s “letting-go” her grown children, a daughter’s relocation to the Northern hemisphere, a wedding, shadows of deaths and losses, sparks of joy. It recalls the story of Demeter and Persephone, but goes on from there in immediately accessible South African, contemporary terms. Above all, it celebrates!

Joan Metelerkamp

Joan Metelerkamp is one of South Africa’s foremost poets. She is the author of seven previous books of poems. Her poetry is quite different to that of most of her local contemporaries and has been favourably compared to that of Anne Carson and Louise Glück. Her work won literary prizes (SANLAM, Sydney Clouts) in the early 1990s and later she judged the DALRO and Ingrid Jonker prizes. Her poems have been widely published in local and international anthologies of South African poetry, and she has taken part in readings and literary lifestivals here and in Europe and America. She edited the South African poetry journal New Coin for some years and has also written poetry reviews and essays. She lives on a farm near Knysna.

Joan Metelerkamp's author page

“If there is a poet in South Africa today who writes the voice of the soul – made awful flesh, fragile, flagrant – then it must be Joan Metelerkamp.”
Kobus Moolman

“Joan Metelerkamp is one of the most consistent and articulate poets of South Africa’s post-apartheid literary landscape. Each poem is a multi-layered expose that reflects back one particular moment from a lifetime’s worth of thoughts and experiences.”
Tom Penfold