Loving the Dying (African Poetry Book )
Loving the Dying is a collection of poems on life’s different stages. Set against the backdrop of a conflicted society, Len Verwey looks at a person’s life from youth and growing up to aging and dying, considering what the ineluctable reality of death might imply about how we should think about our lives.
These are poems of uncertainty rather than certainty. The more overtly biographical ones end with as many questions as they start with, and there is often sympathy for the outsider or the marginalized voice. Varying in tone and complexity, Verwey’s poems focus on the tension between escapism and reality, truth and delusion (for individuals and societies), and the need to face death if we are to care for the aged and learn to understand the process of dying.
As in his first poetry collection, In a Language That You Know, Verwey continues his effort to understand the successes and failures of the South African post-apartheid journey, with both humor and some despair.
Praise for Loving the Dying (African Poetry Book )
“This is a brilliant, contemplative, passionate collection. Rich with ‘un-’ words—unreceiving, unanswered, undone—it leads us into the unknowable, invents a new country. A poetry of the afterwards, the collection reaches past ‘unconfronted shadows’ and ‘old acrimonies’ and ultimately toward love. No simple tenderness, this love, but schooled in a long knowing, finally earning the coming of ‘something almost imperceptible, unforced, unbidden’ that reveals ‘the wilder wonder of all.’”—Gabeba Baderoon, author of A Hundred Silences and The History of Intimacy