Stephen Symons’ latest collection of poems titled Small Souls was launched on 28 November 2022 at the Gardens Centre in Cape Town, where he was in conversation with Professor Kelwyn Sole (Department of English Literary Studies, UCT). Karina Szczurek (author and founder of Karavan Press) describes the collection as “the greatest of gifts: a balm for (sm)all souls”.
In the titular poem, which won the inaugural Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Competition (2021), Symons talks of wanting “to place the smallest of souls / in glass and mahogany cabinets / in a museum of great sadness”. In ‘From where my children stand’ he talks of building “a cabin of / nostalgia against / the hardening of time”. Although it clearly deals with inevitable loss and sadness (and love), real or perceived, it truly is a balm for the soul – putting into beautifully curated words what so many feel when experiencing and trying to make sense of loss.
Given Symons’ track record, the abovementioned award is surely the first of many accolades to come for his fourth collection. He has also published short fiction and is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies, where he completed his PhD in History.
To read more about Small Souls, click here.
Photo: Karavan Press