ISBN 9781920397401
Pages 82
Dimensions 210 x 148 mm
Published 2012
Publisher Modjaji Books, South Africa
Format Paperback

Absent Tongues

by Kelwyn Sole

Absent Tongues is Kelwyn Sole's sixth collection of poetry; a collection that speaks of tenderness, anger, ambivalence and fear. This is territory Kelwyn has long made his own - hymnal vignettes that thread the landscape of South Africa with patterns of myth and people, with pasts, presents, and, at times, with futures. We come away from these poems with something akin to nostalgia, something like a yearning to belong in the most fundamental sense - to be water, air, bone, sky. Kelwyn Sole writes with grace, acuity and with thoughtful philosophical purpose, affirming his position in the forefront of contemporary South African poetry.

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"Kelwyn Sole is South Africa’s foremost poet writing in English and this, his sixth volume, maintains and reaffirms an oeuvre that does not shy from the difficult complexities of our lives. In lyrics and elegies, love is made strange and new, forceful yet fragile. And his political poems refute any notion that political art can never be art. His insights draw us into the heartlessness of our new political masters, the confused brutality behind the murder of poor immigrants, and of a hovering “sadness at what might have been/ had we more courage/ had we searched/further than our skins our pockets”. His voice is our national conscience."

Rustum Kozain

"Kelwyn Sole’s work thinks this country into some kind of language we can return to when reality confounds us, and the language of paid political commentators dumbfounds us. It is restless in its forward motion, formidably rich in its recruitment of forms of language to capture and make coherent the inner logic and madness of a human landscape that is itself constantly, restlessly inventing itself."

Karen Press
About the Author

Kelwyn Sole

Kelwyn Sole was born in Johannesburg in 1951, and has lived in Botswana, Namibia and the UK.  He taught for many years at the University of Cape Town until his retirement in 2016.  He has won a number of awards for his poetry, as well for his academic articles on South African and postcolonial literature.  In 2012 Sole edited a selection of contemporary South African poetry for the US literary journal The Common.  His creative and critical work has been published widely in journals, websites and anthologies both in South Africa and overseas.

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