In "SLOWLY, AS IF", Karen Press looks clear-eyed at what it means to live in a complex society, a fragile world. She celebrates the connectedness that sustains us - in dance, in love, with the natural world, in cities where 'strangers seem happy / to let you be' - and sees it betrayed by our unreflecting complicity in poverty and violence. The death of a child who 'barely scratched the air of the country' resonates in her tender, devastating account: 'When a child dies, who is responsible[unk]' "SLOWLY, AS IF" asks hard questions with grace and wit, balancing the particular and the universal. 'Being told / you're made of stardust / is not helpful / as you sit holding a parking ticket', but it is, none the less, a truth.
Born in Cape Town, Karen Press has worked as a teacher of mathematics and English, and with a range of independent projects developing models of progressive education. She has published several collections of poetry and has written textbooks and other education materials in the fields of mathematics, science, economics and English, as well as children's stories, a film script and stories for newly literate adults. In 1987 she co-founded the publishing collective Buchu Books. She now works as a freelance editor and writer, and is an associate of the national advice and information support service for South African writers, The Writers' Network, which she helped to establish.
'Photographing the building is forbidden until the war is over' Your Saddam Cyrus Vance sat on my couch The Daisy Cutter A cow and a goose Specialised Skypointing And all the time Monument to the South African Republic (on some photographs by David Goldblatt) Ravenous Eight frescoes from the lost palaces of Zanj the furious women bare themselves the four students run for the border he hides all night while they murder his family they were caught and chained in a van she gave birth while prison guards tortured her and laughed a six-year-old boy is digging a grave for a baby the colours there like paper flowers unfolding in water Local fauna Be bear Non sequitur In the empty station Man series I Six eggs in the fridge Mindfulness Thank you Lee Smolin, thank you Mr Leibniz If you wrote about domestic things Once we did get out of the car Men always have an idea Shine The sad little poems Pasternak's shadow Love songs for Lake Como Val di Bondo Amsterdam night Over there Ten minutes on a Sunday morning in July You never were much good at physics Breakfast Love and stories of love If he'd been called Jesse Letters to Tom Really, there's nothing A man with no power Fast asleep Odd calculus On fire Whipped cream Do you love yourself like this Hotel Rwanda, 1 January 2006 Praise poem: I saw you coming towards me Mnemonics A child can't be born In Cameroon, August 2005 The pool attendant at the First International Inn in Limbe The quality of postcards Elaine's garden Three meditations on immortality Three meditations on Why is there war, Mummy? The last threshold The passivity of the spectator must be countered at all costs This is the bit where you live Literary biography of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Out on the ocean Closer than this - extracts from a source book for urban planners And on the eighth day Connected The things that survive are the things that survive Statistics South Africa says Unplace City streets To love it Typology The urban planner ruminates Uses of useful plants The one who dies Tango for person and city Deer on the freeway Riffs for the caring girl Great and true Phendukani Silwani Poem for which there was no title Folk dancing for beginners He sets the tone So where were you The laws of physics are inviolable Take your places Where to from here? The coastline seems endless It goes like this You are here Balancing Acknowledgements and notes