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RDP POEMS BY ARI SITAS (article first published : 2004-10-19)

On October 21 at 18h30 in the Wellington Tavern at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Adams Campus Bookshop and Madiba Publishers will launch a collection of poems by Ari Sitas as part of the Poetry Africa festival.

The poems in RDP Poems are about a harsh process of reconstruction: of bones, bricks, mortar and souls. They are a serious reflection of all that the poet feels is wrong with “his” revolution and in this, he neither stands above, to the side or abreast of what he describes. He remains at the centre of what is wrong with a candid sense of pain and self-irony. The poet, writer, sociologist and civic activist is always there and so are the furies and sounds of his Durban-based world.

From the first lines of Black Mamba Rising- a reference to a poem of the 1980s by Mi Hlatshwayo and the title of the first edition of worker poetry which he edited in the 1980s, to Bombing Iraq, the imagery has been stripped down to its bare skeleton to achieve new intensities of expression and musicality. It is a poetry meant to be read aloud, to others and to oneself.

Ari Sitas is the author of several novellas and plays. This is the fourth collection of poems after Tropical Scars (1989), Songs, Shoeshine and Piano (1992) and Slave Trades (2000). His latest prose work, Voices that Reason : theoretical parables (Aug 2004, Unisa Press) forms part of Unisa’s Imagined South Africa Series, made up of 11 titles published to celebrate ten years of democracy in South Africa .

Featured poets on October 21 are Deborah Drisana Jack (Saint Martin); Jit Narain (Surinam); Christine Otten (Netherlands) accompanied by Jan Klug on saxophone/flute/pataphone; Sutardji Calzoum Bachri (Indonesia), and Joy Harjo (USA) poet and saxophonist.




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