Introduction [to the book "Scatter the Shrilling Bones" by Sithembele Isaac Xhegwana]

Wright, L.S. (2003) Introduction [to the book "Scatter the Shrilling Bones" by Sithembele Isaac Xhegwana]. In: Scatter the Shrilling Bones / by Sithembele Isaac Xhegwana. Lovedale Press, Alice, South Africa, pp. 4-10. ISBN 0869862227




Scatter the Shrilling Bones by Sithembele Xhegwana comprises an ordered sequence of poems that conveys a journey both literal and spiritual. Revisitation is the organizing principle of the collection – the return to rural sources and origins by a consciousness estranged and illumined by modernity (cf. ‘The Return’). Underlying the collection is the theme of the night journey, whose archetype in western culture is Odysseus’ descent to the underworld – a pattern identified as such in the concluding essay ‘Starting from my Place: Notes on an Aesthetic’. The underworld here is literally the return to the home territory – a journey from Cape Town to the rural Eastern Cape – but also a revisiting of the mental world of traditional Africa: ‘Here at home, here all guilt begins’ (‘Homecoming’). The return journey is haunted by nightmare memories of mental illness, the schizophrenic episodes accompanying (or occasioned by?) the poet’s initial encounters with modernity. This illness is represented as both pathological and cultural – a price paid for challenging and rejecting the old certainties while grappling with new assumptions: “He undermines the ancestors, That’s why he suffers. Let him.” (‘To Himself’)

Item Type:Book Section
Additional Information:This piece introduces Sithembele Xhegwana's first poetry collection, and was published by the Lovedale Press in 2003.The collection is based on work he completed for his MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. Professor Laurence Wright is Director and Head of the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA), Rhodes University
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sithembele Isaac Xhegwana; South African poetry; African identity; poems of revisitation; Lovedale Press; Shaka; Senzangakona; Nongqawuse; King Hintsa's skull; amaXhosa; Khoi; Bushmen; Cape Town; Eastern Cape; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1361
Deposited By: Prof Laurence Wright
Deposited On:13 May 2009
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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