Viewing page 3 of 7

00:04:18
00:06:22
00:04:18

Transcription: [00:04:18]
{SPEAKER name="Dennis Brutus"}

addressed to my sister-in-law, my brother's wife, Martha.

[00:04:22]

And they deal mainly with my prison experiences.

[00:04:26]
{SPEAKER name="Brooks B. Robinson"}

Why did you write directly to her?
[00:04:29]
{SPEAKER name="Dennis Brutus"}

Um... I didn't in fact write directly to her, but they were-- the letters were intended for her.

[00:04:36]

And I call them letters because it had become a crime for me to write poems.

[00:04:43]
It was criminal for me to write poetry.
[00:04:46]

But by calling it letters, I could get away with it.
{SPEAKER name="Brooks B. Robinson"}

Mhm.

[00:04:49]

{SPEAKER name="Dennis Brutus"}

And subsequently, these were collected together with the poems I wrote after I came out of South Africa.
[00:04:57]

--I was exiled which means I can come out but I can't go back except to go to prison.
[00:05:05]

And many of those such as poems from Algiers and Strains were collected together in a book called The Simple Last.

[00:05:15]

Since then I haven't written a great deal, although I have a new book coming out called Stubborn Hope.

[00:05:24]

But the poems I'm going to read are poems written subsequent to those and they deal very much with the contemporary South African experience.

[00:05:36]

The first one I might read is a very short one, written after the massacre of the students in Soweto in June 1976.
[00:05:49]
When the South African Police machine-gunned the students in the streets of the ghettos, cape town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, East London, and especially Johannesburg. Particularly Soweto.
[00:06:03]

This is a short piece for the children who died in Soweto.
[00:06:10]

[[music plays]]

[00:06:22]
Sorrow--

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.