Fire, shadow and dreams
Life is a never-ending circle which causes a ripple effect as it impacts on everything and everyone. The senses and the brain experience and store this information. Every now and then, these experiences bubble to the surface. When this happens, one grabs a pen and writes for others and for oneself - sometimes from the heart, at other times from the head.
Since the phenomenon called life is so "chock-a-block", it is difficult to single out specific people or experiences (writers do not want to be too specific either!). Fire Griffin and Light Raven are influenced by music, the movies, poetry, prose, romance and sex, the gothic culture and spirituality. (No sport, thank you!) They also paint.
Poetry/lyric writers Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave played a big role in the writings of both these poets. Cohen says in one of his anthologies, The Energy of Slaves:
I'd like to read
(Touché, they say!)
The focus is on the "Energy of Slaves", since writers and artists are all slaves - driven by emotions, passions and obsessions! It's the fire that fuels and devours. Leonard also writes:
Love is a fire
Fire Griffin and Light Raven did not compose this book of poems with a set theme in mind. The idea originated with a few glasses of wine in hand (always extremely inspirational!). After all the poems were laid on the table, put in the poetry pot and the two began to "stir", it "became evident that a threefold theme ran through everything like a golden thread: fire, shadow and dreams!" says Light Raven.
Many South African poets used these themes.
The images of fire, love and lust are used by, amongst others, Elisabeth Eybers and ID du Plessis. Stephan Bouwer sketches the privacy of the dream and the dreaming. Breyten Breytenbach writes about the dream world of his mistress. André Letoit/Koos Kombuis writes about "sweet dreams". Ingrid Jonker created "Die donker man" and Sheila Cussons let witches toil and brew in the "Swart kombuis". Opperman writes ("Diereriem/Weegskaal"): ''Die nag en dag sal ek soms bring deur wik en weeg tot ewening; maar altyd roer tussen die twee die wyser van die skemering."
The design was also done by the two poets. They used the rich red and black for obvious reasons. The placing of the "soulful symbols" on each facing pageenhances the symbolism. Even the variation in line spacing is deliberate. "We use this idea to accentuate our individualism while simultaneously highlighting a unanimity of thought," says Fire Griffin. The two writers agree that the book can be seen as a freedom cry: "We did not want to conform and be dictated to." They also foresee that thís type of creative individual will be the kind of person who buys, reads and enjoys the book.
Why bilingual? While Fire Griffin's English poems were being published and receiving awards internationally, she was forced to feel guilty for not being able to publish in Afrikaans. New poets and story-writers should receive a publishing break. There's a library of writers eagerly waiting to be published. Afrikaans elitism is history! LitNet motivates a new generation of writers to prove that "the pen is mightier than the penis". If someone is bilingual, write! She then mentions the names of Antjie Krog and André Brink.
Light Raven jests that his poems are darker than those of Fire Griffin and describes it as an "abyss" of mirrors, reflections and shadows and a place of pain where one could get lost in dreams. He accentuates time and contrasts in his poetry. He believes that everything should have a beginning and an end. If not, one ends up with another "boring soapy"! He works with contrasts to transform the reader into a thinker and to add a little mystery: "My writing is focused with a goal in mind; using spacing, capital letters, punctuation marks, spelling, etc. to accomplish this."
Fire Griffin's Afrikaans poetry is a type of satire, only leading her readers through "the valley of the shadow of death" and Hades - not leaving them there! She distorts fables and fairy tales to reflect reality's twists. Her English poems are spiritual with a hint of mythology. She keeps a dream diary as a source of inspiration.
They already have a second anthology in mind.
LitNet: 09 February 2005
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