DYE HARD WITH A VENGENAGE - GREEN DRAGON IS BACK Calls (firstname.lastname@example.org) for fresh poetry to be included in Green Dragon # 5 have been made. Poets who have previously graced the hallowed pages of Gary Cummiskey's Dye Hard Press release are alredy preparing to bless the new child. Green Dragon #5 comes closely on the footsteps of #4, a thicker collection that included naughty, heartwarming, soulful, innocent, touching, piercing and equally guilty works from not less than 20 voices/wordsmiths.
Frankly, nobody can expect an anthology to be wholly serious when it contains mitigating lines from Michelle McGrane (Hybrid). She makes three contributions in The Puzzle, Second Language and another one which will be reveiwed later. Before you jump the gun and say, 'yeah, my second language is Afrikaans', pause right there. McGrane can be dodgy, you're more likely to figure out the meaning of the title when you finally read 'instead'.
Before we put the cherry ontop, another part of the cream that makes #4 worth your read is Kotaz's founder/editor Mxolisi Nyezwa (Song Trials). This Port Elizabeth native has been described by peers as a genius, extremely intelligent and a rumour that he once deliberately burned and inhaled like incense the fumes and later drank the ashes of whole collections of Encyclopaedia Britannica and Americana. That's surely a lie, but he remains trivial. One remembers his statements that it's advisable to be economical with words, so as not to expose yourself too much. Sana (Child) is his sonnet in the anthology. "...far away in Soweto, someone is singing/ a heart is dancing/I sing quietly of the woman I love", he writes. And 'Sana' no longer refers to a child but a woman.
Cummiskey's Fourth baby is plump, rounded and 83 pages long and is not only made up of poetry but nice prose in the form of reviews and a short story. McGrane (again???) reviews anarchist Aryan Kaganof's Uselessly, a novel published by Jacana and containing material many orthodox book readers will relegate to useless. What do you make of a novel that begins with these lines, "Dear God, Sorry I haven't written for so long. It's been a bad time. I've been hurting inside and I just couldn't put pen to paper. I hope you've been okay. I noticed some world wars and stuff. Guess you've been busy enough. Had your own shit to take care of without worrying about me". Yes, you've read similar stuff in Alice Walker's The Color Purple.
Then there's a short story by Cummiskey. Countdown actually is really a short story because it's indeed short. Expect to find poetry from Goodenough Mashego (Journey With Me), Colleen Higgs, Philip Hammial, Alan Kolski Howirtz whose poem Refugees is dedicated to Ghassan Kanafani (please go to Google). Kolski Howirtz is one of the few Jews (like Ronnie Kasrils) who don't think occupying other people is funny business, so expect that in his works. Earlier on I wrote about McGrane's naughtiness. Picture this, "The penises I know/ park next to each other/ they have names like/ Sani, Cherokee, Discovery 3/ They devalue with every passing month/ I wouldn't drive one/ if it was going free". The poem is called....(3)....(2)....(1)....'The Penises I know'. And then while Kaganof's book was getting torn to pieces by McGrane, he (the first man to shoot a feature film on a cellphone) makes a contribution in "Bad Scene blues dub". It's vintage Kaganof, meaning 'mad'. Criticism of Green Dragon has always been that it is too niched and tends to have its usual suspects. The question will be, 'why fix something that's not broken?' or 'why mess with a winning formula'. The issue has been that Green Dragon is like a Protea Squad (cricket) whereby the line-up is known, Kolsi-Howirtz, McGrane, Kobus Moolman (Fidelities), Gus Ferguson, Richard Fox, Kaganof, Alan Finlay, Hammial, Joop Bersee and Arja Salafranca. I've been told it's a circle of buddies but given that my stuff is there in #4 and now eyeing #5 then my question would be, "am I part of this circle now critics?". Or "are you sending stuff people?" Maybe Cumminskey would say, "It's good poetry, I just can't throw it away". Good point broer. Same critics have compared Cummiskey's Dye Hard baby to New Coin, I protest because I've also had stuff published there. When I use New Coin it's because folks swear to god it's a laager or a BEE (30% for darkies). In #4 there are three darkies and 18 whities. It's not a 30% ratio whick makes it below BEE rating. Do the arts need a charter as well? My response, they need darkies so start writing quality material and sending it off to Green Dragon. We can't as darkies sit on allegations that Zola and Rudeboy Paul are talented poets while we still have to hear a single poem from them. Do people become poets simply because they love poetry? Who has ever heard a poem by Zola or Rudeboy Paul? Imagine expecting them to field poetry to Green Dragon and getting nothing from them and then complaining that Green Dragon is too white while the people darkies want to be poets are not even writing or reciting. Where are the darkies who write, not celebrities that journalists want to make poets? Green Dragon #5 is currently soliciting material. And knowing my good friend Gary, your chances are goody darkchild. Green Dragon titles are available from Dye Hard Press, P.O.Box 783211 Sandton 2146 South Africa.