Four from New Contrast 149 and 150
In issue 149 of New Contrast, I was hoping to bring you a spotlight on Rustum Kozain whose poetry and thoughtful mind I much admire. But it is not to be: delays of one kind and another mean that we have no specific focus in this issue, but plenty of interesting stuff to read. First, the work of forty five writers grace its pages, among whom those you know well, others you may not know at all. Second, the first of eight parts of Johan Geldenhuys’s long poem, ‘The Soon Return’, appears in the issue (and the following seven issues). In all, the issue includes over sixty poems, five short stories, a review, and an extract from a forthcoming novel. I hope that is enough to entertain you for a while.
The project to make the archive of every issue of Contrast and New Contrast has reached the stage of looking for sponsors. It is going to cost approximately R2200 ($300, £200, €200) to make an issue searchable on the Web. I am hoping that both individuals and corporations will contribute. The project synopsis is at the bottom of this post.
We’ve had some success in that over the last two years subscriber numbers have nearly doubled. We are making progress but are not yet close to our objectives which would go a long way towards assuring the financial health of the journal. I hope, particularly if you are a contributor, that you do subscribe and encourage others to.
Please send me electronic copies of your work. I never have time to transcribe from paper to MS Word. If you have no access to a PC at an Internet Café, I will still read your stuff, but your chances of being published are significantly reduced.
Send me a separate document for each piece of work: I want five documents if you send me five poems: zip them together. If you have no access to MS Word, use Open Office (which is free – http://www.openoffice.org/), or any other text writer, such as Notepad, or send me an RTF. Make sure your name, postal address, email address and telephone number are on every page of the document: use the footer in MS Word to record the information. Make sure you complete the Properties tab in the document. Send me a brief biography: it can be as formal or not as you like. I will edit it.
FEEDBACK: send me a letter by email or snail, but preferably the former. Interesting comments or suggestions I will publish.
REVIEWERS: I receive books for review regularly. If you would like to write a review, let me know. At this stage, I cannot pay you beyond the two free copies of the magazine every contributor should receive.
We’ve reached the 150th issue of Contrast/New Contrast. It’s an honour to have shepherded the journal to this milestone.
Contributors to New Contrast 149
Emily Buchanan, Marilyn Keegan, Rob K Baum, Barry Wallenstein, Jane North, Chris Mann, Herman Lategan, Chris van der Walt, Adam Wiedewitsch, Brendon Bosworth, CJ Driver, Elizabeth Trew, Karin Schimke, eckhard cloete, Robert Bolton, Kelwyn Sole, Kobus Moolman, Lungelo Mbatha, Nosihle Magwentshu, JKS Makokha, Brent Meersman, Martha Evans, Julian de Wette, Mike Hagemann, Patricia Schonstein, Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhran, Phelelani Makhanya, Ken Barris, Danie van Jaarsveld, Rosemund Handler, Genna Gardini, Mark Espin, Danya Ristic, Norman Morrissey, Heidi Henning, Marianne Burton, Sumeera Dawood, Arja Salafranca, Dianne Stewart, Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho, Thandi Sliepen, Michael Bernard, Jana van Niekerk, Oliver Price, Johan Geldenhuys
Two from the issue
send condolences as
tears in words console Haiti
both nature and life
now struggle to survive!
in Pòtoprens –
on citizens wailing!
in Pòtoprens –
crushing ghetto floors
below fast falling feet!
Clang! – Crash!
Crackle – cough
dying radio studios!
in châteaux coffins!
under a chapel bell,
an owl in a Haitian night!
Haiti on the line!
– JKS Makokha
You took each word
You took each word from your mouth –
glistening in the light of its own vowels,
translated and buffed, each meaning
morselled out like tongue and diphthong
feeding sound and silence –
and placed it in the cup of my throat.
Now every remembered love word
sticks in my craw.
I choke on your reticence.
– Karin Schimke
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Contributors to New Contrast 150
Beverley Rycroft, Sarah Frost, Paul Mason, Fred Simpson, Heidi Henning, Bob Commin, Chris van der Walt, Brett Beiles, Danya Ristic, Maya Fowler, eckhard cloete, Madeleine du Toit, Grace Kim, Mari Pete, Gail Dendy, Lawrence Dugan, Shari Daya, Tiah Beautement, Anton Krueger, Rachel Paton, Ken Barris, Lana Brunner, Arja Salafranca, Fern GZ Carr, JKS Makokha, Abdul Ali, Medzani Musandiwa, Sara Dias, Martha Evans, Barbara Erasmus, Lauren van Vuuren, John Simon, Johan Geldenhuys, Andie Miller
Two from the issue
van uit “Om honger te stil”
Die tarentaal in die groen tuin piep fyn-fyn-fyntjies soos hy verbypronk met sy kaalblou nek en klein ogies. Een … dui-send, twee … dui-send, drie … dui-send tree hy verby. As ek my been uitsteek sou ek hom kon pootjie, of te pletter skop. Vir hom en sy witspikkel-rooilel maat agter hom. Hulle is gewoond aan my, hulle met die knikkoppe en skubberige bene en lang toonnaels. Hulle weet nie dat mense anderkant die tuin graag hulle blou gesigte met haeldons deurboor nie. Rooi wat spat-spatspat uit die blou.
“Gedra julle soos blankes” het Oom Louw altyd gesê wanneer ons te veel lawaai buite die kerk ná Sondagskool. Dis wat ons nou doen. Wegkruipertjie is ’n lelieblanke spel. Maar dit hou die ekonomie aan die loop, al kreunende, soos ’n ratkas wat olie nodig het. My neef Mossie, byvoorbeeld, het lank sonder werk gesit. Toe’t hy vir hom ’n onderneming begin. Vra hom, en hy sê jou hy’s ’n security. Net so. Hy’t ’n abstrakte naamwoord geword.
Diefwering en gepantserde Prado’s en helduur alarmstelsels sou nie gekeer het dat ons pa vermoor word nie. Want hy was buite. Op pad om mielieland toe te ry in sy Toyota. Wat hulle toe nie saamgevat het nie. Al wat hulle vir hulself toegeëien het, was ’n ding wat die Bybel sê iets is om or te baklei: ’n siel. Dís wat hulle gegryp het. Dit, en twee mense se pa. En iemand se eks. Wat hulle met drie loodkoeëls deurboor het. Hulle het nie eers sy beursie gevat nie. Masechaba was te vinnig. Sy’t laat spaander na die platdakhuis, die alarm aan die skree gesit en oor die radio geroep. “Help, Here tog, help, dis die baas, hulle’t hom gaskiet!” En met dié spring die donners toe weer in hulle ou rammelkas diesel-bakkie en brul weg.
– Maya Fowler
Mrs Thompson woke up every morning at six. After breakfasting on half a banana sliced into a cup of oats, she left for work; driving right along Rose Street and turning left into Beatrix as she headed towards the city centre of Pretoria. She travelled the same route every day, and whenever she stopped at a traffic light – at Prinsloo, or Visagie, or Vermeulen – she kept her eyes firmly fixed on the road ahead. Mrs Thompson had learnt to shut out any disturbance to her regular routine.
It wasn’t because she was callous that Mrs Thompson ignored the people she saw along the way. She never deliberately shut them out. It was just that they had become invisible. Occasionally, a dirty beggar’s face might momentarily be thrust into her private space, pleading, a faint glimmer from a world beyond her comfort zone appearing for a moment through the edifices of the etiquette she had constructed around herself. She might, for a moment, be made aware of the weight of despair behind the eyes of the person at her window; but she inevitably managed to shuffle her car into gear and move on before any discomfort set in.
Today Mrs. Thompson could not avoid looking at this boy. She vaguely recognized him as he sat staring back at her from across the court room floor. Wasn’t this the kid from the corner of Hamilton and Vermeulen? The beggar had often appeared at her window – gangly adolescent elbows jutting out of a threadbare green jersey, beseeching look firmly fastened to his features. He had always seemed to Mrs Thompson to be trying almost too hard to appear pitiful, with his ohso-sorrowful expression under a mat of deliberately unwashed, tangled hair, calculated to extract sympathy and money (for drugs, no doubt) from innocent passers-by. When she had previously passed him by, Mrs Thompson had made a point of hardly glancing at his little performance, since she felt it would only encourage him to get his hopes up. But today she could not avoid staring at the boy as he sat before her in the court house, no matter how hard she tried to turn away. This boy had killed her son.
– Anton Krueger
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Preview the issues at Little White Bakkie
Internet Archive & Retrieval Project Synopsis
The fundamental objective of this project is to enable an income source. This is a ‘once-off ’ project. Future issues will be enabled in the normal production process. The source is the archive of literature published in the journal New Contrast and Contrast over the last 50 years. The target market is international academic researchers, students and scholars of South African and World Literature, and the general public.
The expected outcome is improved income to the journal by an increase in the number of subscribers, and the sale of ‘seats’ giving access to the archive. Better and more regular income will reduce vulnerability to changes in donors’ ability to fund the ordinary production of the magazine, and its enhancement and expansion.
The secondary objective is integral with the primary: to make SA Literature more accessible to a wider public.
- All issues of the magazine, if not already in electronic text format, need to be converted.
- Converted issues must be copy-edited for accuracy.
- True copies must be web-enabled.
- Searchable issues must be published on a secure web-site with controlled access.
The total estimated cost of the project is just under R300 000. It includes acquisition of software and software services, but the bulk of the money is required to outsource the manual task of copy-editing. A detailed spreadsheet illustrating the calculations is available.
Software (OCR Reader) R1 500
Software Services (Websites) R18 000
Copy-editing R279 600
Total R299 100
Through the offices of the Gordon Institute’s work to scan all the ‘old’ issues, UCT will have unrestricted access to the resource for both staff and registered students. Similarly, other sponsors of one or more issues will get a permanent ‘seat’ per issue sponsored.