Gabeba Baderoon is the author of three poetry collections, The Museum of Ordinary Life (DaimlerChrysler, 2005), The Dream in the Next Body (NB Publishers, 2010), and A Hundred Silences (NB Publishers, 2010), and is at work on a fourth, Axis and Revolution. She is the recipient of the 2005 DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry and is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund. Baderoon is an Extraordinary Professor of English at Stellenbosch University and a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. She co-directs the African Feminist Initiative at Pennsylvania State University, where she is Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and African Studies.
Robert Berold is the author of four collections of poetry. From 1989 to 1999 he edited the poetry journal New Coin, publishing much of the groundbreaking poetry of the period. Berold has edited more than fifty books by South African writers, many of them under his Deep South imprint. From 2011 to 2015 he was the coordinator of the MA program in creative writing at Rhodes University.
Vonani Bila is founding editor of Timbila poetry journal, publisher of Timbila books, and founder of Timbila Writers’ Village, a rural retreat center in Polokwane, Limpopo province. He has an MA in creative writing from Rhodes University, and has written five volumes of poetry in English. The poem in this issue of NER is from his manuscript, Grieving Forests.
William Brewer is the author of I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series, and Oxyana, selected for the Poetry Society of America’s 30 and Under Chapbook Fellowship. His poetry has appeared in such journals as Boston Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Narrative (where it was awarded the 30 Below Prize), the Nation, A Public Space, and on PBS NewsHour. He is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and lives in Oakland.
Breyten Breytenbach is a poet, painter, memoirist, essayist, and novelist who writes in both English and Afrikaans. Born in South Africa, he emigrated to Paris in the late ’60s after becoming deeply involved in the anti-Apartheid movement. Breytenbach received the Alan Paton Award for Return to Paradise (Mariner Books, 1994), and the Hertzog Prize for Poetry for Die Windvanger (Human & Rousseau) in 2008, after also winning it for Papierblom (Human & Rousseau) in 1999. He has published four books with Archipelago: All One Horse (2008), Voice Over (2009), Intimate Stranger (2009), and Mouroir (2008).
Mary Butts (1890–1937) was an English novelist whose distinctive voice was central to literary Modernism. She was a prodigy of style, learning, and energy, and wrote with powerful insight about the Lost Generation. A great-granddaughter of William Blake’s patron, Sir Thomas Butts, her career was championed by Ezra Pound and Ford Madox Ford, among others, and her stories, novels, and poems gained a formidable reputation. Her notorious lifestyle in 1920s London and France overshadowed the importance of her work, however, and she was “lost” for more than fifty years. Now, Butts’s writing has seen a resurgence of interest and she has joined the ranks of her Modernist contemporaries such as H.D. and Virginia Woolf.
Yvette Christiansë is a poet, novelist, scholar, and librettist. Her volumes Castaway (Duke University Press, 1999) and Imprendehora (Kwela, 2009) have received numerous awards, as has her novel Unconfessed (Other Press, 2006). Her work has been published in the US, South Africa, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. Her book Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics (Fordham University Press, 2012) received honorable mention from the Toni Morrison Society. She is Chair of the Department of Africana Studies and Professor of English Literature & Africana Studies at Barnard College.
Charlie Clark’s poetry has appeared in Pleiades, Smartish Pace, Threepenny Review, West Branch, and other journals. He studied poetry at the University of Maryland and now lives in Austin, Texas.
Ingrid de Kok has published six collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Other Signs (Kwela, 2011). Her work, which has been translated into nine languages, is widely anthologized and has received numerous awards. She has been awarded writing residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre, the Civitella Ranieri Centre, and a 2015 DAAD-sponsored residency in Berlin, among others. She lives in Cape Town.
Mike Dickman was born in South Africa, and now lives on the eaves of Paris. When not creating and playing music, Dickman translates from Classical Tibetan, Old and Modern French, and Afrikaans, especially the Southwestern Cape dialect called Kaaps.
Catherine du Toit is an associate professor in French language and literature in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at the University of Stellenbosch. She is the author of Henri Pierre Roché (Cahier de l’Herne, 2015) and numerous articles and literary translations from and into Afrikaans, French, and English.
Mario Hernandez is a lecturer in English at the State University of New York at Cortland.
Denis Hirson lived in South Africa until the age of twenty-two, then settled in France in 1975. His first seven books are concerned with the memory of South Africa under apartheid, including the poetry collection Gardening in the Dark (Jacana Media, 2007). His most recent publications are Footnotes for the Panther: Conversations between William Kentridge and Denis Hirson (Fourthwall Books, 2017) and Ma langue au chat (Éditions du Seuil, 2017), about the torture and delight experienced by an Anglophone when speaking and writing in French.
Carlie Hoffman is a recipient of the 2016 Discovery Poetry Prize. A finalist for the 2017 Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize and the 2017 Pablo Neruda Prize, she has published her work in Bennington Review, Boston Review, Narrative, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. Hoffman lives in New York.
Richard Osborn Hood’s poetry has been published in Blue Satellite, Berkeley Poetry Review, Processed World, Rain Dog Review, Fell Swoop, and Beyond the Valley of the Contemporary Poets. A video performance of his long poem “Crève Coeur” has been screened at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Eye Gallery in San Francisco, as well as other venues. He has worked more than a little in the construction industry, and lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and their half-wild dog.
Fady Joudah, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (Milkweed Editions, 2018). His first collection was a Yale Series competition winner.
Ronelda Kamfer’s debut collection, Noudat slapende honed (Kwela, 2008), received the Eugene Marais award, which she followed up with Grond/santekraam (Kwela, 2011), winner of the 2012 ABSA Kanna award. Her third collection, Hammie (2016), received the ATKV WoordTrofee award. All three collections have been translated and published in Dutch, and an Italian translation of Grond/santekraam will appear in 2018. She is an MA candidate at Rhodes University, and is married to cartoonist and poet Nathan Trantraal, with whom she has a six-year-old daughter named Seymour.
William Kentridge is a multidisciplinary South African artist—a printmaker, a director of theater and opera, and an animation filmmaker. His parents, both attorneys in Johannesburg, represented clients marginalized by apartheid; Kentridge grew up witnessing the struggle with and dissolution of those laws. Using film, drawing, sculpture, animation, and performance, his art continues to be influenced by political events. Kentridge has had major exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Moderna Museet (Stockholm), and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. His production of Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera The Nose premiered in New York at the Metropolitan Opera in 2010, and his 2005 production of Mozart’s Magic Flute premiered in Brussels and traveled to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, among other venues. He currently lives and works in Johannesburg.
Mary Kingsley (1862–1900) was the author of two books, Travels in West Africa (1897) and West African Studies (1899). Written during a period of intense European colonization of Africa, these books describe the complex social, religious, and legal systems of the cultures she studied during her extensive travels. She first went to Africa, alone, in 1893, and traveled for much of that and the following two years. She returned to South Africa in 1900 as a nurse during the Boer war and died at Simonstown of typhoid fever.
Antjie Krog, a poet, writer, and professor at the University of the Western Cape, has published eleven volumes of poetry and three nonfiction books: Country of My Skull (1998), on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; A Change of Tongue (2004), about the transformation in South Africa after ten years; and Begging to Be Black (2009), about the different ethical frameworks operating in the country’s democracy. The latter two have been nominated by South African librarians (LIASA) as two of the ten most important books written in a decade of democracy. Krog had been awarded most of the prestigious South African awards for poetry, nonfiction, and translation in both Afrikaans and English.
Evan Lavender-Smith is the author of From Old Notebooks (Blaze Vox, 2010). His writing has recently been published in BOMB, Hobart, and Southern Review. He is the founding editor of Noemi Press and an assistant professor in the MFA program at Virginia Tech.
Gloria García Lorca was born in New York City, where she lived for twenty years during her family’s exile after the Spanish Civil War. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and then moved to Madrid where she now lives and works as a visual artist, poet, and translator. She has co-translated, with the poet Jane Durán, Federico García Lorca’s The Gypsy Ballads (Enitharmon Press, 2011), The Tamarit Divan, and The Sonnets of Dark Love (both Enitharmon Press, 2017). The three poems in this issue of NER are from a bilingual collection called The Hudson Poems, written in the author’s two “mother” tongues.
Maxim Matusevich was born in Leningrad, USSR, and moved to the United States in 1991. He is a professor of history at Seton Hall University, where he directs the Russian and East European Studies Program. He has published extensively on the history of African–Russian relations.
Erika Meitner is the author of four books of poems, including Ideal Cities (HarperCollins, 2010, a 2009 National Poetry series winner) and Copia (BOA Editions, 2014). She is an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she directs the undergraduate and MFA programs in creative writing.
Rajiv Mohabir is the author of The Cowherd’s Son (Tupelo Press, 2017, winner of the 2015 Kundiman Prize) and The Taxidermist’s Cut (Four Way Books, 2016, winner of the Four Way Books Intro to Poetry Prize, shortlisted for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry). In 2015 he was a winner of the AWP Intro Journals Award. Mohabir received his MFA in Poetry and Translation from Queens College, CUNY, and his PhD in English from the University of Hawai`i. He is an assistant professor of poetry at Auburn University.
Mbongeni Nomkonwana is an actor, writer, poet, aspiring filmmaker, and stand-up comedian. He is co-founder, director, and resident poet of Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement in Cape Town. He has served as a panelist and performer at the annual Open Book Festival Poetica Programme, and has been featured at festivals such as Joburg Arts Alive, Franschhoek Literary Festival, and Woordfees.
Mxolisi Nyezwa grew up in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, where he still lives. He manages a not-for-profit arts and culture organization, Imbizo Arts, in Motherwell Township. He has published five books of poetry, Song Trials (Poetry Gecko, 2000), New Country (UKZN Press, 2008), Malikhanye (Deep South Press, 2011), Ndiyoyika (2017), and Songs from the Earth (2017). Nyezwa is the founder and editor of the cultural magazine Kotaz, now in its seventeenth year. He teaches creative writing at Rhodes University.
Alyssa Pelish writes and teaches in New York. Her work has appeared in Harper’s online, Paris Review online, Slate, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Denver Quarterly, among others. She recently completed a memoir, The Girl Vanishes, and is currently revising her first novel, A Failure to Communicate.
Hannah Rahimi lives in Montreal. She earned an MA from Concordia University and an MFA from Purdue University. She has published short fiction in Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading and Cosmonaut’s Avenue. In 2016 she was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers.
Lynda Sexson’s work has appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Gettysburg Review, Amsterdam Review, Epoch, Massachusetts Review, Image, Copper Nickel, Ninth Letter, Kenyon Review, and others. She is the author of Ordinarily Sacred (University of Virginia Press, 1992), Margaret of the Imperfections (Persea Press, 1989), Hamlet’s Planets (Ohio State University Press, 1996), and the filmed essay My Book and Heart Shall Never Part (Corona Productions, 2008).
Julia Ridley Smith’s stories and essays have appeared in American Literary Review, Arts and Letters, Carolina Quarterly, Chelsea, Greensboro Review, Southern Cultures, and storySouth, among others; new fiction is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review. An associate editor at Bull City Press, she teaches fiction writing at UNC Greensboro.
Gregory Spatz’s most recent publications are the story collection Half as Happy (Engine Books, 2013), the novel Inukshuk (Bellevue Literary Press, 2012), and the forthcoming collection of linked stories and novellas What Could Be Saved (Tupelo Press, 2019). His stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Santa Monica Review, Zyzzyva, Glimmer Train, Epoch, and other journals including, once upon a time, the New Yorker. He teaches in and directs the program for creative writing at Eastern Washington University and is a frequent contributor to New England Review.
Molly Spencer’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Georgia Review, Missouri Review poem-of-the-week, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, and other journals. Her critical writing has appeared in Colorado Review, Kenyon Review Online, and the Rumpus. She holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop, and is a poetry editor at the Rumpus.
Nomi Stone is the author of the forthcoming collection of poems Kill Class (Tupelo Press, 2019) and Stranger’s Notebook (TriQuarterly, 2008). A Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Anthropology at Princeton University, Stone has an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in New Republic, Bettering American Poetry 2017, The Best American Poetry 2016, Poetry Northwest, Sixth Finch, diode, and elsewhere. The poem appearing in this issue of NER was inspired by Thalia Gigerenzer’s podcast “On Wonder” (www.thaliagig.com/on-wonder/).
Nathan Trantraal, thirty-three, is a cartoonist and an award-winning Afrikaans poet whose poetry has been translated into English and French. André Trantraal, thirty-eight, is a cartoonist and writer. Their weekly cartoon strip, The Richenbaums, appears in the Cape Times. Their comic art has been exhibited in Hamburg, Amsterdam, and Cape Town, and they have published the graphic novel Drome Kom Altyd Andersom Uit (Tafelberg Publishers, 2008) and the comic book Coloureds (Underdog Comics, 2010). A second cartoon strip, Ruthie, about a black family living in apartheid-era South Africa, ran for a year in the national newspaper Rapport. Having grown up in the townships of Mitchell’s Plain and Bishop Lavis, the brothers are acquainted with the social conditions and the ordinary human face of people who call these places home. Much of their work is written in the Cape Town Afrikaans vernacular and they are pioneers in recording, through their poetry and cartoons and comic book stories, this particular orthography.
Rob White is the author of Freud’s Memory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and Todd Haynes (University of Illinois Press, 2013).