Poetry by definition is something extraordinary, and this is eminently expressed in Charl-Pierre Naudé’ s poems. Poetry is another way of looking – the metaphor allows you to see something through the lens of something else, and so the world becomes something different, something new, something that has to be discovered afresh.
Charl-Pierre Naudé demonstrates that poetry problematises generally accepted truths, estranging it so that it may be experienced anew. In Naudé’s poetry the strangeness is important. Strange spaces are set foot upon to rediscover the known, by looking in from the outside as it were. In doing so the poet contemplates his place in Africa, the processing of European origins, his position in a small minority language, the practice of writing poetry and the search for insight that strives to go beyond simple dichotomies. This poetic contemplation often leads to a realisation of the value of the transient, the ephemeral, that which cannot be pinned down.
Charl-Pierre Naudé (1958) is one of the most interesting living South African poets. His two books of poetry Die nomadiese oomblik (The Nomadic Moment, 1995) and In die geheim van die dag (Against the Light, 2004) earned him various prizes. Naudé’s debut was hailed in the South African literary world as one of the strongest books of poetry of the 1990s. In reviews Naudé was called a strong, metaphysical poet, a distant relative of John Donne. This was a volume which gave South African poetry hope, because the poet created a fresh world of references, away from the poetry dominated by Apartheid. In 1997 Naudé was awarded the prestigious Ingrid Jonker Prize for Die nomadiese oomblik. His second volume, In die geheim van die dag (translated as Against the Light), won him the M-Netprys for Poetry.