FAILING MATHS AND MY OTHER CRIMES
WINNER OF THE 2016 INGRID JONKER PRIZE FOR POETRY
“Gets under your skin.” (City Press)
“Serious, engaged poems by a young poet who has witnessed rather too much.” (Sabotage, U.K.)
“The control with which Jijana interweaves exhortation, doubt, documentary clarity and a deep sense of empathy with his subjects in the structure of these poems suggests an already mature voice that can continue pushing poetic form in many resonant directions in the future.” (Chimurenga Chronic).
Failing Maths and My Other Crimes by Thabo Jijana won the 2016 Ingrid Joker Award for Poetry. In haunting, sparse and beautiful verse, Thabo Jijana’s interrogation of masculinity, blackness and what it means to come of age is already becoming a South African classic. In a whirlwind of local history, contemporary culture, domestic angst, and nostalgia, this stunning debut exhibits an emotional wisdom beyond its writer’s years. Earthen and edgy, musical and minimal, Failing Maths andMy Other Crimes is not solely a meditation on family and mortality, nor just a manifesto on the role of art in a young man’s life: this is a masterclass in South African storytelling-in-verse.
Thabo Jijana was born in 1988 in eNgqushwa. He is the author of two books: the memoir Nobody’s Business, as well as this collection, which garnered him the 2016 Ingrid Jonker prize. He is also the winner of the 2014 Sol Plaatje Poetry award, the 2011 Anthony Sampson Foundation Award, and a 2017 Taco Kuiper grant. Currently, he lives in Johannesburg, where he works as a publisher.
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The first printing of this publication was made possible by a grant from the Arts and Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity.