Sonder Jou/Desolation Holdstock



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Sonder Jou/Desolation  by  Holdstock

Sonder Jou/Desolation by Holdstock
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Sonder Jou - Desolation comprises 164 poems- 120 in Afrikaans, two in Dutch, and 42 in English. Only one English poem is a translation of its Afrikaans equivalent. The volume is an ode to love- homage to loneliness- an intense expression of mourning. It can also be regarded as biographical bibliotherapy. The first section (Youth) consists of 12 short poems in Afrikaans conveying the loneliness the author experienced during his adolescent years. In 19 poems (8 in Afrikaans and 11 in English) of the second section (Seasons of our love) the happiness of finding love and the maturation of the relationship with his wife are conveyed, also the hiccups that occurred.

What the loss of his wife meant is evident in the 133 poems (102 in Afrikaans- 31 English) of the main section, Without You - Desolation (Sonder Jou - Verlatenheid). This section is devoted to the poems written during the 20 months following the death of his wife. He now finds himself even more desolate than in his youth.Several aspects of the volume are of interest.

The ability of the author to be in touch with and to express the various facets of his grief in simple language, in a cultural context where the expression of such emotions by men is frowned upon, is noteworthy.

The poems also highlight the therapeutic self-help value of bibliotherapy. The poems of loss celebrate the mundane and relatively insignificant daily events that he shared with his wife. In being in touch with his grief and in concretising the accompanying pain he attempts to find meaning in the paradox between consciousness, highly developed as it is in humankind, and death. An answer is not evident, except perhaps that humankind is destined by gravity to be absorbed by the sixth dimension of dark matter.

The bilingual aspect of the volume provides an additional aspect of interest.

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