About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.

John Sibley Williams

Untitled {luster}

Flares only illuminate the ruined part of the road. The rest is a night so perfect constellations disband & the stars, one by one, blow out. Still there is plenty for the dogs pushing into the city to pray to, eyes wild & wide & red as a tangled metal body catching the glow off these burning sticks that circle what’s left of his truck. Blue uniforms comb waist-high weeds for crushed beer cans or splifs or some reason six blocks will go powerless tonight. Snapped tibia. Downed pole. Everything now dead nouns in a world built on verbs. Me & one parent & a paralyzed moon, stuck in our orbits. For all I know this is how our story returns to its beginnings. Calculate the trajectory with string then follow just how far we can fly with some push. & I can-not close my hand around his hand until I’m told it won’t hurt, as if it will ever not hurt. & now the dogs are pawing at something they think holy, & wailing. & a sweet, brief cometlight pauses, passes overhead.

Untitled {spectacle}

Why in their dancing for us circus elephants don’t pull the canvas sky down each night and trample our kids into soft little star-stains in bare earth, I’ll never know. And is there anything so damaged as a broken horse left to ride itself? Feather-plume, velvet saddle, so beautifully lost without a half-naked woman kicking dust and cool autumn dusk from its hide. And clowns all frenzy and laughter, angels until we start demanding demons. And then they stay demons forever. I’m terrified of what makes me cheer, that I’ll end up clapping whether or not this tamer’s head emerges unbitten.

Untitled {seabird}

Someone has misplaced a seabird so far inland this all seems more like fiction than just another Sunday lost in Kansas, circling a parking lot for the third time, avoiding the dark suits and fiery eyes of end-timers I secretly envy a bit in their sureness. To think the rest of the world is fury too. Not just this wild congregation of crows, hungry for scraps, broken by a single gull that has no business being here. Not just our bodies when the world refuses to submit. But the autumn oaks we’ve shamed in their undressing. And the clouds that cymbal and the swelling river and names we give to things that fight so hard to shed them. I think I’d like to believe in signs, that this strange white bird augurs something that only seems grave on the surface or that making a metaphor of man means we can harm with impunity or that hidden behind the visible a whole new world fierce as the world we scorn yet fear losing waits, hard as a father’s open palm, as forgiving as that.

Self-Portrait as a Hard Metal

Iron filings from where a saw wore down something solider than any of us blow about the workshop on little more than an open window’s breath. Tools meant for snapping, searing, and putting back together stretch along the walls, and pin-sized holes punched through the roof give us a perfect view of how the sky must look from the wrong side of an exit wound. More and more these days I hear my grandfather’s voice drill into the brief hush between hammer strikes: what is it you think you’re making of your life? If the true song of a man hums from where his hand reaches blindly into the darkness for another’s, even if they never touch, I sing best when alone, the numbing tremor of hard metals reshaping one another spreading up my arm, my entire body; slivers of what I hope I’ve made solider, useful, dancing weightless in the slim rays of light.

How to Build an American House

What the saw wants once sapwood has sung itself out. A hammer now that all the nails are flush. A boy after having most of his childhood pulled from his mouth like teeth, like song, leaving him a man. In any case, once the job is done the thing persists. The subject fades to object. Its verb loses agency. I am. At least I am. And the sun sinks into grass, staining the surface red. It’s good, for now, forgetting the world keeps going without us, that we are bright flecks of light dancing into a back-drop of more light. The saw hangs static from hooks above its creation. All the boards are in the right place. The child has a child he hopes will have a child someday. What is it he wants now that the house is ready for living?

Sanctum

What they’ve died in made sacred while what killed them is forgotten or forgiven. No wonder history is often pictured as a sky-bearing cross or a sharp cut of moon or an endless sea of candles in a guilt-darkened room. The story as some know it ends with tangled rebar. A shattered school. Empty promises made over a rich and distant earth. I’m more familiar with young men moving stones from caves and waiting for their fathers to call them home. It’s a ramshackle river we pretend to try to cross to see ourselves beautiful on the other shore. We are convinced we cannot be beautiful here. We find the signs we’re looking for, and they mean exactly what we knew they would. I’m looking for the world the world doesn’t like to talk about above a whisper. Some sort of unforbidden city. A beveled hilltop overlooking an impossible meadow made weightless by the dead. The dead here are so heavy. We may never be this beautiful again.

John Sibley Williams is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Disinheritance. An eleven-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review. Publications include: Yale Review, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Midwest Quarterly, Sycamore Review, Massachusetts Review, Columbia, Third Coast, and Poetry Northwest.

AJ Urquidi

convalescent stayover at the flamingo house

/ what recourse you gave was never yours to begin with // desiccate marrow, mauve mallow
cinders to lay on cherubim desks // all year their mother cries, pipewater sputters out of its
element // reset your watch, chime, chime in // watch the zookeeper’s child drain lymph from
rind // honesty fumbles in her bouts of proved worry // because she’s aware, you can’t be vilified
// in decorous time you’ll again displease the syndicate \

/ marabou stork, walk into your cage // the beach bodies winter scars // toss towels on the shower
floor with care // you are not shelter, but you bend in wind // the guest bed unwinds where it
wanders // curve gashes where onyx drags fir // donald ducks inscribe a ceiling like a pox //
whatever you find, love the anxious rest of them \

/ she retches, dangles bracelets // one’s strung limpets // then do not resuscitate, of course // not
long ago, you’d have begged to join this menagerie // tap the windshield, the capybara rolls its
eyes // keep apologizing to posterity // now you plead with the tamers: form your threnodies
hushed // overnight grit files locks, and by sunrise the rarest physician has fled \

To Dissipate the Abscess

i.

A wind with the force of a dentist’s
drill knocks us sidewise
fleeing the firemen. To the left

the dentist reaches deep between his
laces and grabs
an angsty python from the gravel

lot. You can’t just do that sort of
grabbing around here.
Locals frown upon it, generally,

like spleens. Withhold that complaint
since he’s the burg’s
only dentist. Can you stretch

my legs for me (I’m too shy)? Jet
fuel’s made of the cure
for war, but jets hang on to it. Viselike.

ii.

You are so quiet this morning. Are you
still lard-bitter I never
gave a life for you, or even offered?

I can get you something better, perhaps
a periscope. I can sprint
on hot coals with napalm scissors in hand.

Sure, it’s no golden fleece, but my love
is in unspoken demand.
I’m negotiable. I’ve got a jet to catch.

iii.

There will be a bottle of uncapped sermons
surface-shaming you
from your dashboard as you jet across

the lake tonight. Follow abalone wires
to the cloudy back daggers
of the warehouse. Should you see

the crowded horseflies carpet-bombing
the bathtub drain, know I was
false, and am now a gentle absence.

My Apparat Liege, My Quarantine Flag

i. Formalin Years

My country, tis of the eyes skulking
beneath my couch. The horrors

of end-September rain down
from crossbeams. Goon uninvited

to the pantomime. For this was
the second strike, the world now hiding

in a gelatin helmet. One more
waits in the slow-broth. The city

bans diaries, of course, fuels bonfires
of feelings expressed not aloud. I don’t

mind the static crackle of the man
in sleep beside me, aloft on the Blue

Line, rubbing leg-to-leg. But the kids
I know want to swim in toxic waste

for DNA benefits, 21st-century spa.

ii. Malaprop Era

Mark him full of bullets for the cause
of conversation. Study pictured emotion.

It breathes, like cops with excuses. Votes
wrapped in crimped curtains. In place

of apologies, landfills sell plots
to ferment. Until they can afford the real

estate, gravediggers strike. The panting
woman fumbles black symbols. Drool

down the window to warn her. They’re her
jealous shadow, it eats her. Offers thanks.

iii. Glabella Meet

It would take a surrogate’s charm
to convince you: up for grabs is

authority, like a dry viaduct. First
to come, first served and protected.

The barber mock-trims your bald
spot but takes you down for another

appointment. Trapped in the quarry,
choose castle or cave. But once

locked in tunnels with a privateer
you seem panic-serious. In buttons

wrapped. A long dark glass of candid
nocturnals. Like camouflage, the dead

will rise with the vacant unemployed.

iv. Preparedness Kit

The red light stops you, imprisons you
for weeks on false charges. They planted

the evidence, such caustic ideas.
If you break the rules, starve for attention

or save time and die. To kowtow brings
ruddy fortune, so always remember

to offer thanks. This millennium
delivered the rules the last one follows.

v. Yellow Flag

Run parallel to society river
ducking into dumpster alcoves.

The golden rule is to eat the least
runoff. In the civilization game

creamier pieces win by default. It seems
of length but can’t go on forever.

Whatever is the doctor of penalties.
Solo rider on Ferris wheel, all the way

around, sir. This is his life in a rusted
circle. Watch the city shrink, then how

it zooms in to prey.

At times representing Monterey, Los Angeles, and NYC, AJ Urquidi is a heterogeneous poet and editor. His writing has appeared in various journals, including Faultline, Verdad, Chiron Review, RipRap, and DUM DUM Zine. A Gerald Locklin Writing Prize recipient, AJ co-founded online journal indicia and has led workshops at Cal State Long Beach and Beyond Baroque.

Stephanie Strickland

from School

Stephanie Strickland has published 8 books of poetry and 11 digital poems, most recently the Vniverse app for iPad and Hours of the Night, an MP4 PowerPoint poem. Two books are forthcoming in 2019: Ringing the Changes, a code-generated project for print based on the ancient art of bell-ringing, from Counterpath Press, and How the Universe Is Made: Poems New & Selected from Ahsahta Press.

Jessica Lee Richardson

Guillotine, 2017

A corded lift and low born stretch for queens brocaded in resplendent swallow is
decaying. Pink hidden skins pucker their squint. The floor flowers, pinched with
knives of velour. The screws designed to bind the softest thing are made of gold.

You are skeletal in your blossoming. In your bundled white wreck you are cities.

Who chose the thread that shines for such a pastel unbecoming? How to tell
unfurl from furl, was it worth? How pale flaps that velvet.

Outside yellow plastic cones designate, designate. Align crosses red with upright
shame, sure, but surround them with thin exacto slivered arteries at least. Let
them dangle, let them see heights once earmarked for a giantess.

We see the worm eyes in their pockets, the clasp of god they think is on their
cheek. The smallest knot ties the whole sky fitted charade to the beam.

Stuck in fetid air, frothing in cloth I statue a salute to the ground. Like so many.

Bent heads pillow forth with their sincerest apology but the petals still deign
to lick a stenciled foot. The one that kicks us all but some harder. Guns were
pointing from every corner but from my position I got to never notice it.

Those hooded monks are not just bowing. They may not even be monks.

The fox snout the cannon presupposes is dreaming of a hole the shape of an egg
yolk. Its shadow on the wall looks like light a lighter shade of blue than a puppet
print on its way from strung and up. Or when violence shakes like a windsock
revealed for the children’s game it is. No mine. Mine.

Have you heard? The tale of the very last artist? It will never exist.

They lie about like slacks hung like the room, vivid rose, and on the brink, the sun
coppered cuts of their eyes coil up and because they cannot trace the outline they
pencil only this: that thousands of fabric flames were once scissored from felt just
to frame the wonder of falling.

Art Hat

I was fourth and wove for years as fate
the prize returned myself. I spent days
learning (the tango), playing a soft farmer.
I saw half-formed time an absence. Yes,
I knew blisters. Young feet. The ground.
But what? I would ask family, and then
what? New shoes? I spent years
a name. We described. Finally I traveled
riddled roads the average color of navy.
Live and learn. Trust me soon. Dusty
I stuffed the goods we charge. One Saturday,
possessed by brunch, a slew of makers
like madmen knuckled and spread. We
ended up a fact I wasn’t at all certain
rejoined the community. Our arrival
a sketch of a cardboard box. We were
ready to ramp up the air. The quest widened
the terms. We’ve found because we have.

Here’s a story: the dirtiest puzzle made them
wonder whether cleansers were kind. The fat
of a cow softened their collars. Not only that,
parables open doors. A key forges an era
such as the most refreshing soft drink,
a concrete survey unknown to students.
One dollar bill and two letters studded with
rainfall gave a third group a dollar less.
The story matters. This lesson was a product.
I noticed red interns came alive watching
the ticketing and I was embarrassed.
Did the magic do the math? I crisscrossed
the relationship feet first. Taxi cab riders
happened to film a commercial. The consumer
is also a means of making you more attractive.
Here are some tips: there’s a new vodka. Talk
up favorite places, ski lifts, trade shows. Run wild.
Try to scrub clean your presence.

Jessica Lee Richardson’s first book, It Had Been Planned and There Were Guides, won FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Prize and was longlisted for a PEN/Robert W. Bingham award in 2016. Some of this work responds to the artist Liz Miller’s installation “Requisite Beguilement.” More of her stories and poems can be found at jessicaleerichardson.com.

Adams Puryear

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Artist’s Statement

Adams Puryear explores the Internet’s flow of convoluted information and how tactile materials and different media can represent it. Experimenting with physical translations of the Internet’s anti-filter rabbit hole, Adams continues to return to the materials of ceramic and gypsum to create historically sedimented sculptural elements contrasting present-day electronic displays and dynamic materials. Obsessively grazing over electronic images of history and culture, Adams understands the Internet’s growth and its visualization of time as one slowly unfolding in a nonlinear and ultimately muddled formlessness. In much of his work an amorphous and colored blob, moving in-real-time from a ceramic container, becomes another dichotomy to the push-pull of digital-analogue, historical-new, formal-experiential oppositional elements in the work. Paradoxically it is this oozey blob — a material with a comparatively short lifespan and history that over weeks empties from the sculpture’s body and continues to change until it reaches a solid state — which slows down a viewing and resists a tidy resolution. This is the work’s answer to our culture’s continued acceleration.

Adams Puryear received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in 2004 and an MFA from Indiana University in 2012. His work has recently been featured in exhibitions around New York, the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, and the Museum of Art in the Dominican Republic among others. He is also the founder of FPOAFM Nomadic Studios, a project-driven experimental art/craft collective engaged in functional art discourse.

Jennifer Pilch

Meetinghouse

Of first period rooftops
and first travels since

you learned from angles
natives round what wind

and divide what rain

of snow sliding off

sun-stroked
degradations.

 

 

It captured the eye’s
arrow
meaning heaven
less than ground

meaning parsnip, jonquil, codman claret, emily, picholine, meetinghouse blue
swallowed
the landscape
to threaten

what keeps darkness whole
dictates growing patterns

a reverse burial,
the roof ensures
existence, permanence.

 

 

“There must be eight trees about sixteen inches square”

You were an owl erect on the side of the road

gist for joist, sur pièce

You were glacier sleep in 90 degree weather

loft feather-edged, well drawn

You were a gravestone buried so deep it resembled a baby tooth

end sides for plank frame

All you needed was a square, a saw, a hammer, a
rule.

 

 

When trees are bare (I mean populus, madder, pinus, and hackberry),
you see the roof for the house

you are in a solid climate

when the trees are full, clouds threaten

the ground would be paved.

 

 

Long faces on opposite sides of a curtain

wallpaper peeling like waiting onions

Do not think “love missed you like a city bus”
it will make you sick

You can not think
wrought from avoidance

Stares, —I could not
be fixated
or be plunged into strong
solitude.

 

 

I saw these things and you knew these things

Glass clean between us,
I drank in every possibility

to make it straight, make the arrow strange

So much so the rooftops
begged composure.

 

 

Jennifer Pilch is the author of Deus Ex Machina, winner of Kelsey Street Press’s 2015 FIRSTS! contest judged by Myung Mi Kim, and recent chapbook Sequoia Graffiti (Projective Industries). Her poems have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Berkeley Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, The Elephants, Fence, The Iowa Review, New American Writing, Summer Stock, and Tarpaulin Sky Press, among others. She edits/curates La Vague Journal.

Julie Peppito

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Artist’s Statement

In “Nature, Fashion & War,” I have created large-scale charcoals and tapestries that draw connections between the human desire to want more of everything versus the destructive impact our consumerism has on the environment and the survival of our species. The colorful, multi-layered, fashion-inspired tapestries in “Nature, Fashion & War” contain objects that were on their way to becoming trash. At one time these items were desirable status symbols or served a functional purpose. By smashing, wrapping, and sewing old shoes, clothes, toys, jewelry, cans, and other debris into pliable surfaces, then combining them with carefully painted and drawn images of politicians, nature, people, and monsters, I create topographical narratives that comment on the systems destroying life on earth.

These works are my answer to author Naomi Klein’s assertion that “No Is Not Enough.” This exhibition speaks to the catastrophic effects unregulated industries are having on us, the role human nature plays in that, our coping mechanisms, and strategies towards a healthy inhabitable world. My titles often reference books and articles from notable journalists like Naomi Klein, Jane Mayer, Sharon Lerner, Brene Brown and Arundati Roy. Since the recent re-invention of “fake news,” I have set out to create mammoth illustrations interspersed with giant word balloons inspired by these authors’ well-researched works. These works are intended to illuminate the intricate web of violence, greed, love and beauty that comprise human nature, in order to help tip the future towards our positive instincts and away from those hurling us towards extinction.

Julie Peppito was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, then moved to New York City, where she received her BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1992. She received her MFA from Alfred University in 2004, and has shown extensively for the past 25 years. She has received several grants including a New York Foundation of The Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in 2001. She has also created art for several New York playgrounds. In April of 2018 she presented her seventh solo exhibition titled “Nature, Fashion & War” in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has become increasingly involved in creating agitprop for marches and is now focusing on elections. Most recently she has co-curated an exhibit called “In Her Hands” with Orly Cogan (Robert Mann Gallery, New York City, June 14 – August 17, 2018). “In Her Hands” consists of portraits of progressive women candidates running in the 2018 elections, handmade by 15 women artists from across the country. To see more of Julie’s work, visit juliepeppito.com

Kwame Opoku-Duku

politics

bought status in the land
of the incorruptible/ & a
backscratcher with gail

devers’ fingernails/ as you
close your eyes & push the
button/ take off your veil &

get that look up off your face/
be cooler than duke ellington
on a swedish night/ take mdma

& see the prison camps for your-
self/ be cooler than duke ellington
on a swedish night/ satisfy that

man in uniform fantasy/ lest we
forget the names of our most
masculine brothers/ lest we

succumb to the devils in the
dim fluorescence of a parking
garage/ if you want this

work my nigga i’ll give
it to you/ just take off that
veil & get that look up off

your face/ be cooler than duke
ellington on a swedish night/
as close your eyes & push the

button/ i’ll scratch your back
with lee press on nails/ bought
status in the land of authenticity

the old head verses (ecclesiastes) 1 – 20

1 an old head once broke it down to me like this:
2 life ain’t shit
3 wisdom ain’t shit
4 pleasure ain’t shit
5 suffering ain’t shit
6 work ain’t shit
7 money ain’t shit
8 power ain’t shit
9 justice ain’t shit
10 promises ain’t shit
11 your hood ain’t shit
12 your city ain’t shit
13 your country ain’t shit
14 tv ain’t shit
15 the internet ain’t shit
16 music ain’t shit
17 drugs ain’t shit
18 progress ain’t shit
19 no one knows what is coming
20 time & chance happen to us all

Kwame Opoku-Duku’s debut chapbook, The Unbnd Verses, Vol. 1, is forthcoming from Glass Poetry Press, and his poetry, fiction, and interviews are featured or forthcoming in BOMB, Massachusetts Review, Booth, The Adroit Journal, Gigantic Sequins, and elsewhere. Kwame has been nominated for Best New Poets 2018 and The Pushcart Prize. Along with Karisma Price, he is a founding member of the Unbnd Collective. Kwame lives in New York City and serves as a 2018 Adroit Journal Summer Mentor.

Ryan Nowlin

Winter Light

The clouds have their old soft boiled egg look back,
drifting over promiscuous buildings anyone can have
their way with. Grammar, we’ve lost grammar. It fell
away. To reconstitute add water. Or the unspeakable
mystery when our mothers met for the first time the men
who would be their lovers. What failed to be conjured,
reality delivered with a shrug, murmuring bingo. This is how
we are made. I would be caught up in planning a future
but then get excited about something provincial, a new car.
The slow asphyxiation of light in November. I was experimenting
with things. They were fine, though I couldn’t keep track of them.
A tray of books was placed next to me. I read them all
though I owed nothing to the present moment.

Countenance of the Sky

The kids are gone and all their sweets are gone!
Avenue A is O.K. so near to me, quick. Jack Robinson.
My work on keyboard and harmonium.
Sad Eyed Lady.

More urgently, what are you eating? Gilded croissants.
I woke up late. A galaxy of junk, far corner of the room.
Bottles I drank from back then. I lost an old friend.
Here she is again, in the margin of a dream. Sudden newness

of skin, otherwise ordinary blue streaming above, beyond
fiction. The reading eyes cross the black river
where the young congregate among resounding thuds
of balls. The moon adores the courtyard. What a comic

hornet flashing forth at the right moment.
Rapping at the gate goes unnoticed
but the beleaguered vines finally
catch a break.

Crossings

1.

Laura would often say
“LOL my apartment
is an enlightenment club”

Heat filled the foyer
and the toaster
shot bread at the ceiling

But those happiness drops
were not
had never been—
ours to sample

Complicated strata of meanings
were compiled, from plastic tooth mug
to sudden breath of clouds

The stillness between trees
hoping to find a minute
to think

2.

Certain sorceries
to be disposed of
summarily

The earth was unmoved
the sky continued
do not repent

No revival of intimacy
since we were never
together

3.

The merry-go-round
with Rhinemaidens
was angry

A dream of being and becoming—
the unity of the two—
the dialectic

4.

Dichondra surrenders
to rain. Spectacle of tower
indicative of a show

Suddenly I’m exhausted
listening for somewhere
to go

Hang a left, sidewalk ends
a voice said stop — evidence
of an axis of X-es

5.

Years later you blinked
a single blink — Laura
her fishlike iridescence

A past visitation
the flies have nibbled
and moved on

6.

Tomorrow on the planet Amor
the sun slunk back
in its socket

Book within reach but six words
are too many. A noted precipice fell
away. I wasn’t sorry.

7.

Silhouettes speckled with growths
of calcite or cave popcorn
teardrops attenuated

This palimpsest of emptiness
troubling your theory
of flowering

Did you mean once
as in upon a time
or one time only?

My too short sabbatical
was made even less remarkable
by glimpses of obscure forms

8.

Yellowing paper on my desk
two aloe plants, head
of an evening moth

When did the cul-de-sac
become something to cross
at night along with other

streets? The week
should have a buffer day
for an unbalanced tea

9.

Improbable face of
a moving point then
mid-day stillness

I wonder why my eyes
have opened
in this particular place

I wait for developments
whether to count my blessings
or heap up batteries

10.

Should the love object
be as patient
as sand?

She kept you up all night
with the false rebuff
of her painted frown

11.

I can’t give you the exact address
of my building but it’s under a dome
enclosing the entire state

Not funny. Transients broadcast
endless apologies for life. A bug
walked across a wrinkled magazine

Ryan Nowlin received his MA in creative writing from Temple University in 2004 and his MLIS from Rutgers in 2011. His concentration was in post-modern American poetry and 20th century Modernisms. For the past few years he has been an active participant in the Poetry Project at St. Marks in the Bowery. He currently lives in NJ and teaches as an English Adjunct at Hudson County Community College in JC. Recently poems of his have appeared in Sal Mimeo, The Delineator, Periodic Postcard and the online publications, Boog City and Across the Margins as well as the anthology/photography book, Like Musical Instruments: 83 Contemporary American Poets (Ed. Larry Fagin & John Sarsgard). He has published two chapbooks, entitled Banquet Settings and Not Far From Here. Kugel is his first full length collection of poetry.

Sam Nhlengethwa

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Sam Nhlengethwa has worked on a number of prints of goats, these are the second series of goat images that he has done at The Artists’ Press. The goats are drawn so as to reduce them to almost abstract forms. Goats provide metaphors for a number of human traits and Nhlengethwa plays with these in the titles that he has chosen and in the different ways in which he depicts the goats. In South Africa, goats are culturally and economically significant. Goats are a hardy and adaptable stock animals, surviving in both rural and urban areas. They provide nutrition as well as being used in a number of traditional ceremonies from welcoming a bride to communicating with one’s ancestors.

Sam Nhlengethwa is one of South Africa’s foremost artists. Born in 1955, he studied at Rorke’s Drift and the Johannesburg Art Foundation. He was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year award in 1994, the year South Africa held its first democratic elections and freedom was won for all its people. He has successfully exhibited all over the world from Senegal to New York and Cologne. His work is largely figurative and he explores themes that are close to his heart such as the plight of mineworkers, jazz and the physical space of contemporary Africa. In his prints and paintings, Sam Nhlengethwa uses overlays of techniques such as collage painting, drawing and photography. His fine sense of colour and form lend an abstract quality to his work. His work has been included in many contemporary South African art publications and can be found in leading South African and international collections.

Nhlengethwa has worked with The Artists Press since its inception in 1991. Mark Attwood and Sam Nhlengethwa were two of the initial group to establish the Bag Factory, also known as The Fordsburg Artists Studios, which is where they started to collaborate together on prints. Over the years The Artists’ Press has published 161 editions by Nhlengethwa, 65 of which are sold out.