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De Waal Venter

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Launch of poetry volume

De Waal with the book


De Waal’s book Entangling states of mind has just been published and can now be bought here.
The publisher:
This company offers an author self-publishing and Print On Demand (POD). This means that if you can do the layout and cover of your book yourself, as well as go through the learning curve of mastering the publishing process online (not difficult at all) you can publish the book completely free.
There is no catch. Lulu takes a percentage of sales – much smaller than traditional publishers. The latter usually take an incredible 88% of the sales price.
You can read a review of the book on the website (see the link above) and you can also get a sneak preview of the first eleven pages.
A printed, paperback copy as well as an e-book version is available.

More can be discovered about the poeson on De Waal Venter’s personal website at:

Here is some background to the poems.

The book is divided into three sections: Hacking the human mind, Grasping my pencil with my toes, and Rhyming hunger with the right to live.  In Hacking the human mind the poems explore the myriad ways the human mind processes reality. The reader is invited to approach the world in its many manifestations from unusual and fresh directions. The poetry twists and turns and never ends in a way that could easily be predicted at the beginning. The second section Grasping my pencil with my toes, contains poems that explore reality and being much like the poems in the first section, but they all have a humourous core. Humour is employed as yet another way of attacking the hard shell of reality and penetrating into deeper meaning. The third section Rhyming hunger with the right to live, explores our threatened ecological systems and the beings that inhabit our environment. The fist poem Releasing the rock, is set outside the main body of the book as it is a type of keynote poem. This is where the concept of the poeson is discovered and described. The poeson is a concept that De Waal Venter has developed and which he employs when writing poetry. It can be described as a methodological tool in the poet’s arsenal. More can be discovered about the poeson on De Waal Venter’s personal website at:

António Gamoneda

António Gamoneda

VI LAS bestias expulsadas del corazón

de mi madre. No hay distinción entre

mi carne y su tristeza.

Ek het die gediertes gesien …

Ek het die gediertes gesien wat uitgewerp is
deur my moeder se hart. Daar is geen verskil
tussen my vlees en haar smart nie.

Is dít dan die lewe? Ek weet nie. Ek weet
dat dit vergaan soos rimpels op water.
Wat nou gedaan, huiwerend tussen
sielsangs en sereniteit? Ek weet nie. Ek rus

in koue onkunde.

Daar is ‘n soort musiek in my, dis seker, en
ek wonder nog steeds wat dit beteken, hierdie
genot sonder hoop. Daar is musiek voor
die afgrond, ja, en, verder, weer die
klok van die sneeu en, steeds my hongerige
oor teen die kookpot van sorge,

wat beteken dit uiteindelik?

hierdie genot sonder hoop?

Ek het mos gepraat van een wat waghou
in my terwyl ek slaap, die vreemdeling
weggekruip in my geheue, sal hy ook

Ek weet nie. Hy ontbreek

desperaat aan belangrikheid.

Vertaler: De Waal Venter

VI LAS bestias expulsadas …


Now it is going too fast

It’s a slow day,
lunch is over,
the grownups are napping,
the dry midday heat twisted between their legs.
A toktokkie walks across the bare ground
between two tufts of grass;
I cannot make out whether he is frowning
or just being serious.
The dog scratches his ribs
and pulls a funny face.
Time doesn’t pass,
it’s a slow day.
I wonder whether I
should get myself a glass of gemmerbier,
I don’t want to wake up Ouma.
From the rant a bird shouts,
but the heat squashes his voice
thin and flat.
The toktokkie comes back,
he has probably forgotten something.
The dog sighs  with deep regret;
I think he is sorry
he killed that hare.
It’s a slow day,
maybe it will never pass,
maybe it will.
I close my eyes
and open my eyes.
My life went so fast
I can scarcely remember it.
The sun flits over the sky,
it seems to be driven
by ceaselessly expanding technology.
Nights rush towards me
so fast that they are losing
their darkness.
I’m wondering whether reality
is still under control –
if it ever was.

More poems by De Waal here.

Servants of the word masses

Poets are just the servants of the word masses

The poet looks back

at his early work

and shudders at its naiveté.


He looks at the body paintings

of Yves Klein,

and thinks that

that can be done only once.


The poet looks back

at his early work

and shudders at its imperfect innocence.


He looks at the fossilised skull

of an early hominid,

and thinks how Edison’s

clumsy apparatus

evolved into the smartphone.


The poet looks back

at his early work

and wonders whether he should hide it.


He looks at the poem

marching out of his pen,

and wonders who is in control;

is it he or the word masses?

More poems on “Poetry en poësie”

Romantic poem

The romantic power of theoretical physics

Derek Dexter Ph.D (theoretical physics) waxed lyrical:
imagine spacetime as an unending
elastic surface, he instructed
Jane Darling B.Sc.
Her blue eyes softened
as she imagined
spacetime being an unending elastic surface.
Doctor Dexter had to clear his throat
before he could continue.
Gravity as a force
doesn’t actually exist, he announced.
Massive objects create a hollow, if you will,
in the surface of spacetime.
Nearby less massive objects
tend to roll into this hollow
towards the more massive object,
and that is what we often call the force of gravity.
But less massive objects
also attract more massive objects?
Jane suggested demurely.
Exactly! Doctor Dexter exclaimed enthusiastically.
He leaned towards the young lady
to expand his explication,
but he abruptly lost his thread,
noticing that her eyes
were very much the colour
of the sky over willows
on a warm afternoon.
It’s a mutual attraction,
Jane Darling concluded
through her smile.


You can now read, criticise and listen to poetry on Poem Crit. Click here


The ineluctable lure of the stigma

Orange purple tulip

flaring into the shape

of a young woman’s mind

open, ready to receive,

holds a half-hidden pistil

held on a fluting stem

green with the joy of growth,

tulip tender to the touch,

you deftly hold my mind,

I am a little afraid

of your subtle power.


At Poem Crit you can publish your poetry, receive and give crits.

Relating to Escher and Tranströmer

Reading the paper while waiting

Escher has drawn

flying eagles into my mind,

black eagles sweeping low

in the crumbling blue sky

of my uppermost thoughts –

their wings touch,

they become pianos

arranged in rhythmic rows,

Mozart is playing

tunes into my mind

that emerge from each other,

slipping under, folding over each other.

Tomas Tranströmer

is writing words into my mind,

that glide through the unseen night,

being there and also elsewhere.

I don’t know whether that train of thought

has stopped,

somewhere in the cold veld,

far from anything and anyone,

but I know it will bring me something

when it arrives.

I’m sitting here at the station


reading tomorrow’s newspaper

with mixed feelings.

Have a look at the new forum for poets – Poem Crit

On track

Life training

When he realised

that he was a train,

he was disconcerted.

Not that he was unhappy

with the main track he was on;

it ran between major cities

and he carried passengers

that paid highly for their passage.

But he developed a longing

to explore side tracks

when he thundered past them

on the flat belly

of the baking Karoo afternoon.

Where did they lead to?

he wondered.

Perhaps to scenes unseen before,

perhaps to a people

living together in delight,

perhaps to a mountain

half seen through mystical mist.

One day

there was something wrong with the track;

he was shunted onto a siding.

His heart beat fast,

this was it!

After a short distance

he had to stop,

the line came to an end.

It was very quiet in the heat.

Far away a bird

chipped tiny holes in the day.

He looked back at himself.

He couldn’t see the end,

nor the beginning.


Blue-eyed boy

The woman was not an Earth Mother

who could make the winter

go away

and protected the hunters.

She was a woman

who held the baby’s head

in the hollow of her hand.

He was sleeping,

but she knew his eyes were blue

like hers;

but he had the long head

of his father’s.

You are of two people,

she crooned to him softly,

of the rhino hunters

and the clever ochre people

from the warmer lands.

He opened his eyes

and opened his mouth.

She stopped him with her breast.

He was content,

for now.

Boy reading

A boy reading and a fat boy

Reading by the light of a candle,

the boy listens to the night

moving around him.

There is a fat old wind

lazily shuffling around the corner

in the dark outside.

A jackal gives a hunting cry,

and, barely just there,

his mate answers thinly.

Down the passage

comes the yes and no,

the here and there,

the good and bad,

the right and wrong,

the now and then,

the life and death

of the grandfather clock

gravely working away,

unseen in the visiting room.

Crickets he doesn’t hear,

they are the night.

That was a ewe

calling her lamb to her

in the family gathering of the kraal,

and a dog

slowly spelling out his point of view

into the listening sky.

The boy reads about a bomb

that turned a city into rubbish.

There was no blood

like when you slaughter a pig;

the people just became

part of the night.