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Lava Lamp Poems

R160.00

Colleen Higgs

Alternating between the most economical of free verse and the most elastic of prose-poetry, Higgs shows a dazzling facility with both mediums.

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“The poems are cut with a bald, bare-blade honesty, a mind that makes unusual matches. Colleen fits apartheid paranoia with stubborn partying, then sums up an insane epoch in a sentence, ‘One day the pool opened to all.’ This last line of ‘my Yeoville’ is the ending of furtiveness, fear and zealous defiance. … The book is an experience of heat, luminescence, and the wackiness of existence. It is the experience of being mesmerised, in confidence, no drugs involved, watching that lava lamp.”
Tracey Farren

“The poems in Lava Lamp are compelling: at once conversational and uncanny. Colleen Higgs tells the truth but tells it slant, insisting on the singularity of everything that is familiar — domesticity, marriage, motherhood, family. The sequence of poems set in Johannesburg is captivating.” Finuala Dowling, poet and creative writing teacher

Colleen Higgs

Colleen Higgs

As well as being a writer, Colleen Higgs is also a publisher, she started the ground-breaking independent southern African women’s press, Modjaji Books in 2007. She lives in Cape Town with her daughter and a cat. Looking for Trouble is her first collection of short stories. She also has two collections of poetry Lava Lamp Poems (2011) and Halfborn Woman (2004) all published by Hands-On Books.

She was recognised for her work in publishing by the Mail and Guardian, and was featured in their Book of Women 2011 in the Arts & Culture category.

“Lava Lamp Poems is a delight. Higgs uses the language of her world to create images of familiarity, yes, but pairs these with an almost spiritual awareness of the importance of life and its rituals as we live it. Lava Lamp Poems is a rich anthology which brings with it the warmth of thick vegetable soup on a cold day, the clarity of a sea breeze on a humid afternoon, and is as comforting as the outline of Table Mountain after a long overseas visit.

Janet van Eeden, Litnet

“The voice in these poems is rhythmic and mesmerising. Colleen has perfect diction and phrasing: the poems are easy to read not because their subject matter is light or easy, but because Colleen’s style holds the material up with the hidden roof-beams of weight-bearing language. Her voice is honest and wise, but without the staidness that you might dread from honesty wedded to wisdom.”
Finuala Dowling

“Higgs’ strength as a poet clearly lies in her natural ability to carve out of her ordinary world a depth of meaning that touches the heart with all that is familiar.”
Judy Croome

“Higgs’ trademark sudden turns reveal irony with oblique wit and an eye that is always kind. A darkly funny observer who is constant in her assessment of the good old bad old days, Lava Lamp Poems speak to quirky sorrows and bittersweet reminisces. They offer the reader a chance to laugh aloud, to look at the world afresh, and to find oneself momentarily “floating free of all that”.”
Liesl Jacobs

“The poems are cut with a bald, bare-blade honesty, a mind that makes unusual matches. Colleen fits apartheid paranoia with stubborn partying, then sums up an insane epoch in a sentence, ‘One day the pool opened to all.’ This last line of ‘my Yeoville’ is the ending of furtiveness, fear and zealous defiance. … The book is an experience of heat, luminescence, and the wackiness of existence. It is the experience of being mesmerised, in confidence, no drugs involved, watching that lava lamp.”
Tracey Farren

“The poems in Lava Lamp are compelling: at once conversational and uncanny. Colleen Higgs tells the truth but tells it slant, insisting on the singularity of everything that is familiar — domesticity, marriage, motherhood, family. The sequence of poems set in Johannesburg is captivating.”
Finuala Dowling, poet and creative writing teacher

“This is a book in which a woman reader can recognize herself and her experiences… Higgs tells an extraordinarily detailed truth in her poetry even as she examines what is ostensibly most ordinary in South African life.”
Diedre Byrne, Scrutiny 2