Before by CJ Driver

15 Aug 2018
Before by CJ Driver

I first dreamed the dream that begins and ends this sequence of poems a long time ago, when I was still in South Africa and had no intention of leaving. The dream is recorded in a note- book that I still have, but it peters out into another note that says I might one day have sufficient technical skill to make the dream into a poem, although I didn’t have it yet. Of course, I needed to be more grown-up to re-imagine the experience. CJ ‘Jonty’ Driver

How does one write poetry about a lost homeland that was both paradise and prison? CJ ‘Jonty’ Driver answers that question with Before, a haunting, virtuoso sequence which represents a kind of verse Bil- dungsroman woven of unreliable encounters with a lost self. He cre- ates deep meaning out of an impossibility of return, recognisable to anyone rendered homeless by the turmoil of the twentieth century. His South Africa can equally stand for my Eastern Europe, and so many other troubled parts of the world. – Vesna Goldsworthy

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