Roy Campbell's poetry has won international acclaim. This new Selected
Poems returns to print the range of
his achievement from his long poem The
Flaming Terrapin (1924) to the splendid translations of European poetry in
the years prior to his death in 1957 in a motor-car accident.
Born in Durban in 1901 Campbell made his mark on South African poetry
with lyrics and satires of vividness and
power including ‘To a Pet Cobra', ‘Rounding the Cape', ‘The Zebras' and ‘A
Veldt Eclogue: The Pioneers'. Just as
the sights, sounds and colours of Africa
attracted his talents, so did the world of the Mediterranean where, in Spain and Portugal, he spent the greater part of his adult
life. Paying tribute to Campbell
Lawrence Durrell wrote: ‘A great
huntsman...he booms and roars and surges like the ocean breaking on the empty
beaches of his native Africa'. To
which Campbell's fellow South African contemporary Francis
Carey Slater adds:
Soar again, young eagle, soar again -
Remain a spectacle of beauty and of awe.
As Michael Chapman notes in his Introduction to this edition, however, Campbell's unique strength is to be found in creative
tensions between his romantic imagination and his sense of classical form. Selected
Poems confirms the continuing appeal of arguably the first South African
poet of true stature.
Michael Chapman is professor of English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His
numerous publications include Southern
African Literatures (1996; 2003) and
The New Century of South African Poetry
(2002). He is one of the editors of the
4-volume Roy Campbell: Collected Works.
Ad Donker Publishers (Pty) Ltd
ISBN 0 86852 231 7