I have the greatest pleasure in announcing the prestigious Dalro (Drama and Lyrics Rights Organisation) Award for 2009 has gone to Arja Salafranca.
Judging poetry makes me go beyond the realm of words, to the human that has extracted an understanding with oneself and crafted it in imagery. I try to probe into values and rightfulness connecting the poem to present circumstances within the country, the person being a part of the country and the world, shares thoughts, recurring and sometimes inadvertently that comes to the mind. Mapping thoughts and places in this rapid stream, the eye believes and that’s when we share this belief too.
The prize winners have been judged from poems published in the South African Poetry Journal, New Coin. New Coin is published by the Institute of Study of English in Africa, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
It was a difficult task but I definitely enjoyed thinking about each poem. Words, Imagery, Fusion, Restlessness and a combination of all of these goes to the achievement in the poetry of Dalro Award winners.
First Prize – Arja Salafranca
Second Prize – Lungelo Mbatha
Third Prize – Anton Krueger
1 Peter Horn
2 Brett Beiles
3 Natalie Railoun
4 Haidee Kruger
5 Rosemund Handler
There’s a perfection in the sharp knife,
handle thick and satifying to hold.
It eases through the meat, parting it
like the Red Sea.
A thin trail of red juice eases out,
I spear the soft buttery steak
with a mushroom, add a half-moon of avocado,
a quartered tomato.
The food shatters in my mouth.
There’s something about summer nights,
the kind of nights that follow days
in a city that reeks of boiled bodies
crisping under the sun’s glare.
There’s something: the lack of breeze,
the water in the pool. gleaming bluely,
the soft murmur of traffic.
It’s an island, an oasis, the lawn jewelled green.
Candles illuminate our faces
the silver, the sparkling cutlery,
the sheer perfection of knife, fork, crystal glass,
steak, salad, speared food, shattered tastes.
At the bottom of a garden,
in the heart of Johannesburg.