Worlds come alive from page to stage at #cocreatePOETICA 2019 a celebration of rap, poetry and the spoken word at the Open Book Festival from 4 to 8 September.

 Now in its fourth year, #cocreatePOETICA is a partnership between Poetica and #cocreateSANL, an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, to present an electric programme of performances, readings, discussions and workshops exploring themes such as culture, identity and history.

#cocreatePOETICA 2019

“We look forward to welcoming Dutch poets Simone Atangana Bekono (pictured right) and Radna Fabias,”says Festival Director Mervyn Sloman. “Catch Simone at The Mouth that Bears Many Tongues exploring how we find language through poetry, and Radna at Crafting Home, similarly about finding home through poetry. Both will also be performing at the not-to-be-missed Naked Word Session that closes the festival.

Included on the #cocreatePOETICA 2019 programme

USA-based Morgan Parker is the author of several poetry collections, including Magical Negro and will soon be launching a new Young Adult novel. Join her at Learning to Love Yourself and as part of the rousing Festival finale with Naked Word Poetry on Sunday night.

Mackenzie Berry is a graduate of the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA. Her poetry has been published in Vinyl Poetry & Prose, Up the Staircase QuarterlyHobart, and Broadsided Press, and she has performed poetry and facilitated writing workshops at various locations in the USA.

More #cocreatePOETICA highlights this year include Poetry Yoga with Linda Kaoma and Kafui Awoonor, interrogating the shape of words and narratives within our bodies, and the delight of pairing ice-cream with poetry at AuOral Interlude with TAPI TAPI’s Tapiwa Guzha and Toni Stuart.

#cocreatePOETICA 2019

“We are also delighted Ishion Hutchinson (pictured left) is able to join us thanks to Windham Campbell Prizes,” says Sloman. A winner of the 2019 Windham Campbell Prizes for Poetry, Ishion’s events will include Weight of History, discussing living with legacies with Karen Jennings and Wilhelm Verwoerd.”

As always,#cocreatePOETICA 2019 presents the best of South African talent, including groups Lingua Franca, Rioters in Session, the open-mic Grounding Sessions and What the Water Remembers, a multilingual poetry production that explores our relationships to water in the Mother City. The diverse range of local poets includes Allison-Claire Hoskins, Musawenkosi Khanyile, Afeefa Omar, Mbongeni Nomkonwana and Pieter Odendaal.

South African talent at #cocreatePOETICA 2019

The topic of absent fathers is explored in Fatherless Fathers, with Khanysio Mabodla, Lwanda Sindaphi and Mthuthuzeli ‘Blaze’ Zimba in conversation with Malika Ndlovu about absence and wounds that don’t heal, while Ndimthanda Ngesingqala explores the same issues through performance. Both these are presented by Lingua Franca.

#cocreatePOETICA also provides a platform to nurture rising stars. See the next generation of poets with Primrose Mrwebi at Prim Poetry on Fire to hear some of the young poets she has been mentoring, and Toni Stuart at Young Voices in Performance: Presenting Athlone Young Poets, with some of the youngsters she has been working with.

Poetry for Life presents the finalists of this poetry competition targeting highschool learners. The Poetry Slam on Saturday night features a wonderful line up of emerging and established names showing off their talent.

What: #cocreatePOETICA 2019 at Open Book Festival

Where and when: The Book Lounge, the Fugard Theatre, the District Six Homecoming Centre and the A4 Arts Foundation from 4 to 8 September 2019

Tickets: Webtickets