Francophone presence at the Spier Poetry Festival
Chadian poet, novelist and essayist Nimrod Djangrang Bena, pen name Nimrod, takes part to the annual international poetry event, curated by Breyten Breytenbach.
Invited poets, each internationally renowned in their own right, gather in the Cape for one week in May, to explore poetry’s age-old function as “the dreaming vein in the body of society”. The group spends the first part of the week together, in conversation, travelling and translating. The assembly culminates in a public programme at Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch. The two‐day programme consists of afternoon conversations and master classes; and evening readings, stage crafted with musical performances.
The dancing in other words Spier Poetry Festival programme includes two Poetry Readings and a series of moderated Conversations, with translation as the underlying theme.
Nimrod says about his writing that he writes as a witness of the war in Chad that made him flee his home country. The poet will take part to three events, including a conversation about ’Frakaans, Françiques, Arabique: French as voyeur into Arabic, Afrikaans and Wolof’ with poet Abdellatif Laâbi from Morocco and Jabir and Diamil from the Senegalase rap collective Vendredi Slam moderated by Georges Lory, former director of the Delegation General of the Alliance Française in Southern Africa on Friday 9 May at 2pm and to two poetry readings on both 9 & 10 May at 7pm.
For the full programme, visit www.spierpoetryfestival.co.za/programme
For bookings, visit www.quicket.co.za
Born in Chad in 1959, Nimrod Djangrang Bena, pen name Nimrod, is a poet, novelist and essayist living in France. He taught French, history, geography and philosophy in Chad and the Ivory Coast before relocating to France where he now teaches philosophy at the University of Picardie Jules Verne.
His novels often evoke Chad during the civil war of the late seventies, early eighties. He also writes “to pay homage to” his mother, his childhood and the wonder of language itself. He is quoted as saying that French should be considered an African language.
Nimrod is published by Actes Sud and Obsidiane. He received the Louise Labé poetry award for Passage à l’infini in 1999 and the Prix Max Jacob 2011 for Babel, Babylone. He received the 2008 Édouard Glissant Price intended to honor an outstanding artistic work using the poetic and political values of the philosopher and writer Edouard Glissant.
His collections of poems include:
Pierre, poussière, published by Obsidiane, 1989;
Passage à l’infini, Obsidiane, 1999;
En saison, followed by Pierre, poussière, Obsidiane, 2004;
Babel, Babylone, Obsidiane, 2010.
His translated work has appeared in an anthology of poems by poets from Francophone Africa and the Arab world, called The Parley Tree, translated and edited by Patrick Williamson, Arc Publications, London, 2012.