In Rustum Kozain’s new collection, Groundwork, this leading South African poet raises his own bar way above ordinary expectations.
Kozain has intentionally retained connections with his early work while simultaneously introducing a group of poems that indicate the promise of work still to come. His voice has strengthened and has a new confidence making the poems (paradoxically) lighter without losing their characteristic trademark seriousness. This is a thoughtful, pitch-perfect collection that resonates with the reader long after the last poem is read.
His 2005 debut collection This Carting Life was widely acclaimed for its gravitas and vigour. With poems such as “Kingdom of rain” and “Talking jazz” Kozain firmly established himself as a brilliant new poet in the South African constellation.
Several of his poems have been anthologized and, most importantly, read and discussed. Kozain won both the Ingrid Jonker Prize (2006) and the Olive Schreiner Prize (2007) for This Carting Life.
“He is a poet to watch, to read and enjoy.” – Gus Ferguson