By Jane Rosen
It is very difficult to capture the essence of something truly sacred – a sharing of thought, a union of voices and a chorus of appreciation after each poem is recited.
The owner of Reddits café, together with Harry Owen and a number of local Grahamstown poets decided, after many long discussions, to create a forum conducive to celebrating poetry. “History in the making ought to be attended by a lot of people,” announced Harry Owen as he introduced the occasion to those nervous faces at their very first poetry evening. The aim of this evening is to bring together those who “may be embarrassed about confessing they don’t read poetry,” those who write their own, and those who attend just to listen.
The warmth of a crackling fire greets you as you enter the quaint home-turned-book-and-coffee-shop and lures you in to purchase a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of wine. As you descend the narrow staircase, a grey stoned garden waits at the bottom, scattered with chairs, tables and a muttering of intelligent conversation. Lilies are lit up by light bulbs in the early darkness and a celebration of poetry erupts over home-made soup and nervous participants.
An array of characters emerge to share each other’s creative work. Among the crowd are some recognizable faces, some English lecturers and respective tutors, students and local friends. Some poems are recited about tomatoes and pineapples and cicadas as crickets sing in chorus, hidden behind the tall skinny trees which stand in the back garden.
Poems by a variety of well-known poets are shared together with the virgin poetry of those sharing new works in the celebration. As the poets stand up, voices trembling, a trust is silently established with the rest of the crowd and ends with applause.
Reddits’s will host a poetry evening on the last Friday of every month at 6pm. Everyone is invited, even if you do not have the courage to recite any poetry, but rest assured you will leave with the plan of perhaps contributing something the following month. It is not an evening to be missed, and will hopefully be the beginning of a legacy.