Original Research

‘Text’ and ‘voice’ in recent South African poetry

C. Woeber
Literator | Vol 17, No 2 | a610 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v17i2.610 | © 1996 C. Woeber | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 1996 | Published: 30 April 1996

About the author(s)

C. Woeber, Department of English, Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa

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This article explores in some depth two volumes of poetry which are indicative of a tension between the poem as ‘text’ and the poem as ‘voice’, or the self-conscious (metaphoric) ‘reading' or ‘rewriting ’ of the world versus the outward (prophetic) ‘speaking' to the world. While neither book is hermetically sealed and, like all rich poetry, delights in transgressing categories, each is distinctive enough to lend itself to exploration in terms of ‘text’ and ‘voice’. The article argues that John Mateer, the self-avowed iconoclast yet to find an individual voice, is postmodern in his reading and rewriting of the fragmented world, while Joan Metelerkamp is closer to the modernists in her speaking to the hallowed world as poet-prophet, eschewing textual pyrotechnics while situating herself within poetic tradition.


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