This past Friday I was fortunate to have been invited as a panelist at the Franschhoek Literary Festival for the first time. Renowned South African poet Antjie Krog and I were interviewed by award-winning poet Karin Schimke. I have been nervous about the event for quite some time, but felt completely relaxed when the time finally came to face a big roomful of strangers.
Karin threw some tough questions about the value or use of poetry in such terrible times we now face, both locally and in the rest of the world. I posited how poetry has never really skirted away from politics, that all along it was being written even as love and nature apparently take precedence among those who write poetry.
But how can I share more good news when the demented president of my country of birth has declared Martial Law in Mindanao – a massive island in the Philippines –when it appears the “trouble” is localized (in Marawi City) and, according to the military, largely under control?
Nonetheless, I shall try to use the coming invitation for me to read my work at the Cape Town Central Library this Saturday as a platform for three human rights issues:
Highlight the ongoing hunger strike by over a thousand Palestinian prisoners held in inhuman conditions by Israel
Express my support for women of South Africa who are far too often inflicted with such violence, including horrific murders, by men who should never be allowed to walk among us
Share the fear that people in the Philippines are now facing as a nationwide declaration of Martial Law seems imminent.
As it is also Africa month this May, I shall read not just from my new book, WINGS OF SMOKE, but also poetry by African authors.
Please join me at the Cape Town Central Library, 1400 – 1545, this Saturday 27 May 2017.
PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL for Wings of Smoke
Please send me a request if you wish to read this sampler.
Wings of Smoke is available worldwide through The Onslaught Press website, on Amazon and, for South African readers, through me (leave a message here).
I also put up an audio recording of the set on Soundcloud.com.
Some people have little care for words. Some learn a few that stick to them like bubblegum to orange hair, they end up using the same words over and over on television or Twitter. Surprisingly, one such person apparently managed to convince millions, mesmerised by his words, to vote him into power.
I don’t pretend to know more words than the average writer, but I try to care for the words that I let go, the words I allow to land on a page. In a world that seems to be increasingly overtaken by the loud and forceful, rather than those who seek truth and a common humanity, one has to be thankful for being read at all.
I previously posted links to the first review of WINGS OF SMOKE. I am delighted and deeply humbled by another review that has just been published at Aerodrome. Endless thanks to South African poet Christine Coates for her very kind words toward my latest paper child.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Wings of Smoke (The Onslaught Press, UK, 2017) is Agustin’s latest poetry collection, launched in the UK and worldwide in February 2017. The book may be ordered via the publisher’s website – www.onslaughtpress.com – and Amazon. It will be made available in South Africa from March 2017 mainly through the author who will be reading and launching the book at various venues: at the Writing for Liberty Conference at the Centre for the Book on 28 March, at Off the Wall (A Touch of Madness Restaurant) in Observatory on 30 March and at Kalk Bay Books on 4 April. More readings are to follow during the year.
Huge things are happening in my country of birth. A retired policeman has corroborated the testimony of one of the hired killers of the dreaded Davao Death Squad, saying the former mayor, now elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, created and conducted the vigilante-style group. During Duterte’s term as mayor of Davao City thousands were claimed to have been murdered or made to disappear by the DDS. Will this revelation change the course of my country of birth? One hopes for the better, as worse scenarios have been floated by various critics such as self-initiated revolution in order to force a change to federalism or even dictatorship (as Duterte’s hero, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos did in the 70s).
But the title of this post said something else! Yes, it did. My apologies. Here goes.
It is one thing an author wishes for his/her paper child – to be read. So I always thank readers who can find time to delve deeper into my work and come up with their own ideas about it.
Thank you to Marius Carlos, Jr for this review with two versions. One appears on his Medium.com page. The other version appears on The FilAm.
Wings of Smoke may be ordered via my publisher’s website – www.onslaughtpress.com – and Amazon. It will be made available in South Africa in March 2017 mainly through the author who will be reading and launching the book at various venues: at the Writing for Liberty Conference at the Centre for the Book on 28 March, at Off the Wall (A Touch of Madness Restaurant) in Observatory on 30 March and at Kalk Bay Books on 4 April. More to follow during the year.
original artwork from Synaesthesia Magazine
“Open Air Cinema in the Rain” was first published by Synaesthesia Magazine (pages 40-41).
It now finds a home in my new collection, WINGS OF SMOKE.
I posted a reading on Soundcloud.com
Should I say HAPPY VALENTINE? 🙂
My UK publisher, The Onslaught Press, posted this photo on Twitter of my new book alongside two other new titles. So my paper child is real. Alive. 🙂
Some inside pages were also posted.
1 February 2017. Or nearly. As I start writing this it is 23:33 in Cape Town. It is already dawn where I was born. I wonder what it’s like in the UK where my new paper child, Wings of Smoke, has just been born.
A few years ago two books of mine came out at the same time, Alien to Any Skin and Baha-bahagdang Karupukan. I’m still very fond of those books. They broke the more than 10 years of publication silence I underwent. I was terrified what would happen to them, as if they were flesh and blood of mine. So I wrote a poem where I gave them names, Karu and Skin. That poem later appeared in another book, Sound Before Water.
I can’t remember if I’ve posted it here before, but it seems appropriate to share it as Wings of Smoke is born.
May you all find loving homes and eager readers, my paper children, sooner rather than later.
How to Sell a Child Door to Door
for Karu and Skin, my paper children
tell them this child has no parent
and can only bring joy
to its new home
bring light and promise
into the room
as it silently sits
in their hands
even as the world burns
outside the window
tell them everything
they want to hear
that might make them smile
anything just to get
this child’s little foot
in the door
do not bat an eyelid
should the child
gasp at fragments
of moth wings
by the kettle
no one invites sorrow
into their lives