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The Mushroom Summer of Skipper Darling

by Tony Voss

The debut collection from one of Southern Africa’s most astute critics of poetry, born in 1935, is a treasure. A collection that accomplishes that rare thing in poetry: of being an immediate pleasure even as it demands re-reading and slow contemplation. With classical form and meter meeting modern sensibility and local image, The Mushroom Summer of Skipper Darling fills a gaping absence in South African letters, and will kickstart an appreciation anew of a strong, steady and significant influence on this country’s literature.

“I have tried to write poetry ever since I can remember,” says the author, “with varying degrees of success, having published poems intermittently over the years. As an academic I found that the critical faculty sometimes interfered with the creative in both the writing of my own poetry and the appreciation of others’. In retirement, the critical and the creative seem to have become more cooperative.

“A poem can come from anywhere, but more often than not these days it will spring out of, give admission to and offer a release from, memory. Quite often a poem turns out to be my half of a conversation, and I can only hope that my imagination admits the reader to a realm where words mean what they say. While understanding may not come at once, a poet hopes to offer enough to catch and hold the reader on first reading.”

ISBN 9780620831277 | 78 pages | 203 x 133mm | 2019 | Crane River, South Africa | Paperback




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