Guava Juice is coming to Warsaw and Krakow soon. Watch this space.

Poetry evenings don’t present their audience with life-threatening situations often (enough). Guava Juice is different.Karolina

The words of South African Struggle poets travelled, from pencil-scribbled notebooks in decrepit shacks, through the desperate hands of illegal publishers of the 1970s, over the African continent, to the minds of engaged students and into the hearts of the packed audience that attended the premiére of Guava Juice. But this event presented a lot more than just metaphor and meter. Crossing the line between audience and performer, poetry stepped off the page to present something of the reality lurking behind stanzas like

We bring you the grammar of violence
and the syntax of destruction
from the tradition of our firearms
you will hear the verbs of retribution
(Breyten Breyenbach, Language Struggle)
As is to be expected, the prevalent atmosphere of the works of poets like Keorapetse Kgositsile, Mongane Wally Serote, Mazisi Kunene and Breyten Breytenbach from this period is desperate, angry and verging on reactionary violence. But every so often silver lines shine through clouds of rage and despair to illustrate the power of literature to transcend time and politics. Charles Mungoshi’s If you don’t stay bitter and angry for too long is accompanied by a lingering violin that says more about the experience of exile than any returning politician ever could, while his words remind us that revolution is but a means to an end:
the pained look of your father Guava Juice
a look that took you all these years
and lots of places to understand
the bantering tone you used with your
grandmother and their old laugh
that said nothing matters but death
If you don’t stay bitter
and angry for too long
you might finally salvage
something useful
from the old country.
Standing ovations and wolf whistles and more often the property of rock festivals and football games than poetry evenings. When a young audience reacts to a spoken word programme with shouts of ‘encore’, those who believe in the power and value of language take heart.
This is why we have decided to offer a repeat performance of Guava Juice, on Thursday, the 25th of March (further details below). Entry is free. Guava Juice will be served.
We hope to see you there.

Guava Juice 
Starring: Natalia Durkalec, Wiktoria Ferenc, Marcelina Hertmann, Ania Jasiak, Karolina Drejerska, Irmina Kudrycka, Gosia Lipka, Zuzanna Gulczyńska, Natalia Skrzypczak, Cyryl Kwaśniewski, Kasia Sielicka, Tertius Kapp, Cormac Anderson.

More info and photos:

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