Chaos Theory of the Heart

In the kaleidoscope that is Lionel Abrahams, we find poet and wit, lover and critic, a voice speaking to us – especially to poets – with an inspirational clarity.

"Lionel Abrahams dedicated his life to literature and the refining power of literature over the human spirit." – JM Coetzee

In the kaleidoscope that is Lionel Abrahams, we find poet and wit, lover and critic, a voice speaking to us – especially to poets – with an inspirational clarity. As a challenging writer and editor of literary magazines during South Africa's greatest turmoil, his legacy is immense. His poetry goes beyond the personal and straight to the heart of what it is to be a writer in chaotic times.

Lionel Abrahams passed away in May 2004. Chaos Theory of the Heart  is a last offering from a much-loved poet.

'The extreme moments of history often defeat poetry. But if poetry endures... it has to go where journalism and historiography do not have to... into the core of the individual experience, where the politics, the economics, the conflict and disruption are not just thought but undergone and felt...' –Lionel Abrahams on receiving the Olive Schreiner Prize for Poetry, 1986

About the Author
Lionel Abrahams
, novelist, poet, editor, critic, essayist, publisher and mentor to many, was born in 1928 in Johannesburg where he has lived all his life. He is well known in South Africa as an editor and publisher of literary magazines and books by South African authors. In 1986, the universities of the Witwatersrand and Natal acknowledged his contribution to South African literature by awarding him honorary doctorates of literature. And in 1992, the English Academy of Southern Africa awarded him their gold medal for services to English.

Lionel founded and edited the literary magazines Purple Renoster, Quarry (with Walter Saunders), and Sesame. He was the publisher of Renoster Books (launched in 1971 with Eva and Robert Royston), which brought to the world's attention the writings of Oswald Mtshali and Wally Serote, publishing their first books. With Patrick Cullinan, he ran Bateleur Press, launched in 1974. Lionel was a writing teacher for many years, working with artist Bill Ainslie's studios (later to become the Johannesburg Art Foundation). Lionel has been a tireless mentor to many Johannesburg writers.

Another significant achievement is that in 1956 he began editing the then unpublished work of the short story teller, Herman Charles Bosman, producing six volumes of his work over a period of twenty years. As a young man, Bosman had been Lionel's mentor; the world has Lionel to thank for bringing Bosman's work to prominence.

Lionel's poetry collections include Journal of a New Man (Bateleur Press, 1984), The Writer in Sand (Ad Donker, 1988), Lionel Abrahams: a Reader, ed. Patrick Cullinan (Ad Donker, 1988) and A Dead Tree Full of Live Birds (Snailpress, 1995). He also wrote two novels: The Celibacy of Felix Greenspan (Academy of Chicago Publishers, 1977) and The White Life of Felix Greenspan (Mail & Guardian, 2002).

Parameters of Book: Book
Sub-title: and Other Poems
Author: Lionel Abrahams
ISBN: 9781770090975
Size (mm): 190x135mm
Pages: 120pp
format: Paperback
Colour: Black & White
Rights: World
Language: English
Publication Date: 2005-01-01