It has been said before: where does the so-called 'original' act of writing end and where does the translation start? After all, the writer is also translating him- or herself internally to him- or herself, at the same time as translating from private sensation into the world of social language. So the act of translation is there from the very beginning.
It is always a pleasure to receive another Timbila anthology, and this one is no exception. Vonani Bila has kept this portal for established and emerging writers alive for some years now, and, as usual, Timbila 2004 contains both better-known figures (such as Mxolisi Nyezwa, Alan Finlay, Phedi Tlhobolo, Rob Berold, Ike Mboneni Muila, Allan Kolski Horwitz and Bila himself) and those relatively little known.
From these lines, situated more or less at the end of the second chapter one can but conclude (or conclude) that to attempt a beginning-middle-to-end analysis would be unhelpful as the middle may indeed be the beginning and the end-beginning the end. The collection is completely avant-garde and the second chapter may as well be the fifth or last chapter! So, perhaps we ought to take the poetry as it comes ('in more than two-directions') and goes (in more than 'few dimensions')... if we are to avoid literary stereotypes.
Rory Botha's cover illustration for this volume is of two angels taking their dog for a fly. The winged dog is on a lead. It is the latter detail which, I think, is especially fitting. Despite the volume's title, the poems we find in it are not so much airborne, as it were, as they are born from within a web - one might say a safety-net - of human relations.