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Review of 'Rock Pool Rhythms' by Jan Altman

There was a time when it was thought that objects made from materials such as fabrics, clay, metal, wood or stone were to be described as craft and that objects made with paint and canvas were entitled to be described as art. There was also an attitude that objects from the former category must comply with particular rules and traditions or they would be seen as not maintaining faith with their own kind. These attitudes were based on a general assumption that craft production followed formulae and directions in order to achieve predictable outcomes. There was creativity, but little room for innovation or variation. Works of art, on the other hand, transcended their materials and techniques to create original expressions in meaningful and enduring ways. Of course crafts could transcend their humble materials and established techniques to become art but it took an experienced and determined effort to bring this about. When this did happen the results were, and still are, inspiring, even magical. It created the type of magic that happens when a humble lamp-maker becomes Louis Comfort Tiffany or a simple jeweler turns into Rene Lalique or Carl Fabergé.

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Not a single story - George Mutale, Atihow

Tineke Van Der Eecken is an amazing woman. At the tender age of 24, she leaves the comforts of her home in Belgium to join the international effort to eradicate poverty in Africa. With little idea of what to expect and armed only with her deep-seated dreams of justice for all, she quickly comes to realise the problems facing the region are many, and underlying it all is the corruption and power mongering of those who could be doing some good.

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On Language: I have rarely read a poem like it - Marcella Polain

The winning poem declares itself immediately through its title. It is about language, is written in three languages and yet begins with the poet's declaration that she has none. It moves between languages -- sometimes translating, sometimes not -- so that we (readers) experience the destabilising of the world similar to that which is all the time experienced by those who live outside their first (or second) language(s). Only two of these languages are accessible to me but such is the poet's skill that my exclusion from the third enhanced, rather than diminished, my understanding of the poet's intention. Similarly, English misspellings worked as (intentional or unintentional) visual evidence of the impossibility of seamlessness or direct translation, that languages (like humans) can't be easily understood or transplanted, that living, speaking, thinking, belonging is never straightforward nor complete. This is an intensely moving poem, deeply philosophical, political, personal and universal. I have rarely read a poem like it.

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