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Ingrid Andersen PDF Print E-mail

Ingrid Andersen was born in Johannesburg, read for a degree in English literature and film and theatre criticism at Wits and is presently completing her Masters. Her work has been published in poetry journals for 16 years. Excision, her first volume of poetry, was published in 2004 and her second, Piece Work, was published by Modjaji Books in September 2010.

Her influences include the French Romantic poets, Imagism, Ted Hughes and the writings of Basho. She is the founding editor of Incwadi, a South African journal that explores the interaction between poetry and image. An Anglican priest, she works in human rights, healing and reconciliation.

Andersen’s work has been published in local literary journals including ImprintSlugnewsCarapace, Green DragonBotsotsoIncwadi and New Coin, as well as internationally. Her work has been anthologised. She presented her work at WordFest at the National Arts Festival in 2004 and 2005, as well as at the Hilton Arts Festival in 2009. She contributed the libretto for a musical which was produced twice in the early ’90s. Her creative writing workshops focus on allowing creativity to overcome disabling self-critique.

Ingrid Andersen worked as a theatre publicist in the 1980s, the days of political protest theatre, at the Market Theatre and PACT, amongst others, working with some fascinating people.  As South Africa began to rebuild after the first democratic elections, she became active in community activism and development, at The Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters, as CEO of the Rosebank Homeless Association and then as Community Engagement Manager at Rhodes University. She co-ordinated the Pietermaritzburg Anti-Xenophobia Coalition during 2008- 2009.

She works presently at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in human rights, peace building and reconciliation, with a particular focus on the Alternatives to Violence Project. Ingrid was nominated for Rhodes University Amnesty International ‘Woman of the Year’ in 2007 and has been awarded Honorary Membership of the Golden Key Society.

Ingrid has lived most of her life in Johannesburg, worked in Grahamstown for five years and relocated to the KwaZulu–Natal Midlands in 2007. In 2015 she moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to pursue her D.Ed.

The succulent winter melon

The succulent winter melon
lay halved
before us,
seeds brimming its middle.

How do the birds get to the seeds? you asked.
I suppose it must get broken, answered I.

Burning the Fire Break

I’m called from my books,
this peaceful space
away from you.

The wind has whipped
the fire out
of control, it threatens the farmhouse:
all hands are needed.

I stand, armed with beater,
upon the border of veld and garden.
I think of National Geographic,
of fires in Australia, California –
I’ve not done this before.

Smoke burns bitter in my throat.
There. In the haze,
flames at the base
of the khakibos
in the close-grazed stubble
five strides ahead of me.

The wind behind them
suddenly shoves.

The fire flings up,
reaches into
longer grass nearby:
an angry wall that
spits and roars
towards me.

I face the flame,
stand firm.

You shall not pass.