University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
Mxolisi Nyezwa’s poems are both violent and tender, with an immediacy of language that strikes the reader like a cry, or a note of music. Malikhanye is his third book of poems after Song Trials (2000) and New Country (2008). The book’s title comes from the extended lyrical sequence following the death of his infant son Malikhanye, a poem of astonishing humility and beauty. With what has been described as the softest of voices, poet Mxolisi Nyezwa created one of the biggest stirs at the 2008 Poetry Africa festival in Durban, where Nyezwa launched his second collection, a volume called New Country. His readings drew enthusiastic acclaim – and great curiosity from those unfamiliar with his work. Ben Williams, editor, book.co.za October 2008 As with the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Mxolisi Nyezwa’s poems register a chilling, physical response before the mind can fully apprehend their meaning. Rather than lull the reader with pretty lyricism, Nyezwa’s work strives for transcendence suffused with pain, driving the arrow-tip of searching ever on. Kobus Moolman, writing about New Country Nyezwa characteristically works through an associative poetry, juxtaposing macro- and microcosm, the familiar and the surreal, the local and the universal; often jumping between the five senses …] This collection extends and invigorates the concerns of the South African lyric in new and breathtaking directions, and I do not believe that tired old genre will ever be the same again. There are poems here as near perfect as anything to be found in the history of our poetry… Kelwyn Sole, reviewing Nyezwa’s first collection Song Trials, Mail & Guardian June 2000 Nyezwa grew up in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, where he still lives. He runs a shop and business support service from a steel container in Motherwell township. He is founder and editor of the cultural magazine Kotaz, now in its 14th year.