15 questions for Pieter Odendaal

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15 questions for Pieter Odendaal

He is a North-West University writing lecturer and a poet whose debut collection, Asof geen berge ooit hier gewoon het nie, won the 2019 Ingrid Jonker Prize. Ontaard, his second collection, won this year's Eugène Marais Prize and National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences poetry prize. LAUREEN ROSSOUW asks the questions.

Image: ANGELA TUCK

1. Describe yourself in a hashtag?

#Busybody

2. What do you read first thing every morning?

The poetic answer is something like: the bright clouds on the horizon. Reality is doomscrolling on Al Jazeera, lol.

3. What do you listen to in your car?

Right now, Doja Cat's new album, and specifically Shutcho (feat. The Joy).

4. What kind of music do you like?

Amapiano, South African jazz, lo-fi, Latin trap.


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5. The best books you've read in the past year?

Gaireyah Fredericks' Een voet innie kabr, Ocean Vuong's Time Is a Mother, Frankie Murrey's Everyone Dies.

6. Your favourite author(s)?

South African: Too many to mention — Krog, Kamfer, Anker, Lynthia Julius, Jolyn Phillips, Lethokuhle Msimang, Maneo Mohale. International — Anne Carson, Michael Ondaatje, Michael Pollan, WG Sebald, Tennessee Williams, Rumi, Mariana Enriquez, Javier Heraud, Lorca.

7. If you could choose any painting, what would it be?

Frida Kahlo's “What the Water Gave Me”.

Image: © LIEN KLAKOW

8. Your ideal day?

Early morning rise with the sun, cup of coffee. Walk up a mountain somewhere with my husband and our dogs. Picnic with fruit and multilingual poems. Writing, playing piano, swimming, napping. Conversations around the fire with friends, dancing and karaoke.

9. Your favourite quote(s)?

“Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls.” — Ursula K Le Guin

10. Are you superstitious?

I throw salt over my shoulder, say bless you when someone sneezes and don't smile at a rainbow (something my husband taught me).

11. The highlight of your life?

To see my play Droomwerk on the stage.

12. Who and what inspires you?

Other artists, impending death, roadside cosmos flowers, water bodies, load-shedding.

13. And the event that had the biggest impact on your life?

My South American trip in 2017 when I met my husband in Cusco.

14. What do you fear?

The big end, that intolerance gets the upper hand in people's hearts, the climate crisis, AI-assisted warfare.

15. What do you regret you missed?

The funeral of a friend from the past.

♦ VWB ♦


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