by P. R. Anderson
For P. R. Anderson, poetry is “language equipping us as itself at the frontier of the unspeakable”. Night Transit is such a volume, confronting the dark before and after life. There are poems of travel that take on an existential dimension and also poems of mythopoeic origin, memoirs of South Africa in the 1980s and after, and poems of witness and advocacy in the current ecocide. Whether it is love or death that axiomatically stirs up the poetry, Anderson sees into the cloudy transit with clear and original eyes. These poems range from a consideration of the fourth war of resistance at what is now Makhanda to the care of insects as populations collapse across the planet. Anderson considers the project of poetry, and recalls the euphoria of transit and relocation in an epoch of anguish, yearning and crisis.
“a profoundly sensitive and insightful view into humanness” – Nandipha Mntambo
R. Anderson has published three previous volumes – Litany Bird, Foundling’s Island and a long poem, In a Free State: A Music(“Destined to be a landmark in South African poetry” – J. M. Coetzee). He is the recipient of South Africa’s Thomas Pringle Prize for Poetry (2018) and the Sanlam Literary Award (2006). His work has appeared in various journals, both locally and abroad, and is widely anthologised. He teaches English at the University of Cape Town.