Athol Williams Wins the 2015 Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award

28 Oct 2015
Athol Williams Wins the 2015 Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award

PEN SA member Athol Williams has been named the winner of the 2015 Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award for his poem “Streetclass Diseases” at an event hosted by Poetry Africa on 17 October 2015.

Congratulations to Athol! Read his winning poem:

Streetclass Diseases
Athol Williams

Abeeda’s toothless mouth sprays saliva as
she paints a picture of her thirteen years
on Cape Town’s streets. He feels her spit in
his face, on his nose, on his lip, arousing
his middleclass concern over streetclass
diseases. At sixty two, she’s never been
to a doctor or hospital; he goes twenty times
a year. Distracted by her dark purple
gums, he misses part of her sermon chastising
him for his pagan life of walking past sick
children drowning in ponds and admiring
his large shadow on cave walls and buying
signed first editions of dead poets while
old women starve on Cape Town’s streets. She
tells of her walk with her god, her simple
life beneath bridges, clearly boasting
about her immunity to his diseases. He offers
her cash. She scoffs and carries on digging
through the garbage bin where he found her.

Athol was named the winner from a shortlist of three, that included fellow PEN SA member Jim Pascual Agustin and Sindiswa Busku-Mathese. Read all three shortlisted poems at Books LIVE.

(Image courtesy of Athol Williams)