I have listened and read one too many South African poets who burst into the scene in the last decade and failed to single out one poet as the best. But here, I pen an introduction to a book by a poet of the future. I am truly awed by the soul, the emotion, the blinding and deafening truth in Andrew K. Miller’s poetry. This is truly the work of a writer who is beyond his own generation of writers. Miller represents that lacking balance in the current spoken word poetry scene – not too nostalgic, not immature – neither ass-licking nor self-praising. He is the ultimate humble poet with the necessary substance and worth. His words are molded and not just uttered – not just figment of an imagination but often felt and experienced.
Andrew K. Miller is one of the few poets in this country who makes a living from writing. This substantiates his rightful place in the echelons of poetry and literature. You cannot read Miller’s poetry and fail to feel his emotion and experiences in between the pages of Hintsa’s Ghost. In fact, as you read, you realize that Miller is holding up a mirror to your face and reflecting your experiences in and through his. He offers the world a piercing and unmistakable view into his very soul. In half the poems, Miller opens a path to his heart, mind, body and soul. In another half, he holds up a mirror to his society and offers us a view into the rot (and the joys) of our existence without pity or shame.
Through Hintsa’s Ghost, Miller has emphatically established his place in the literary history of this country and its league of writing strong-men. What he has done and continues to do for the smaller “underdog” poets, artists and Halflings of this country, leaves us with a true genuine Miller legacy. This is a must-read for all those searching for the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle of the current and future poetry scene in Mzansi. This book will outlive the fashionability of poetry and spoken word. In Hintsa’s Ghost Miller has managed to write a well-matured (almost instant vintage, yet current) and convincing poetry book that mirrors his world and ours.
Hintsa’s Ghost is a culmination of a five-year period of persistent writing and observing. In it Miller honours the forgotten legacy of King Hintsa. Just the title of the book suggests and show two things: how quick we are in forgetting the most important parts of our bloody history and the author’s fascination with the brevity and importance of the tribal history of this country.
To Miller, no subject is taboo – he comments/writes on/about politics, love, copulating and his own physical challenges and fears. A white male writing in a black dominated market, Miller towers above his peers because of his fresh pair of poetic eyes, clean slate he is writing on and his non-conformist perspective.
Miller writes about street beggars, the bum, the drunk and other social outcasts. He does not pepper over the harsh reality of his own existence and that of fellow human beings. He does not apply flowers to the shit existence that is passed for life. He is the vanguard of the underdog human being – and this does not stop when we closes his book. It continues in his real life where he acts a mentor and multi-faceted assistant to young potential entrepreneurs, poets and artists.
Hintsa’s Ghost is his first book but it will certainly not be the last. In this collection, Miller has become the ultimate story-teller of/for/about himself and others. He captivates the imagination with his graceful words, properly paced writing and effortless yet loose structure of poetry. His lovable and charming yet often fiery wife Robyn Fields compellingly does the photography for this book. The three photos are among some of her most moving and story-telling pictures of the social outcasts we pass by in many street corners of Mzansi.
On behalf of all the Miller-taught/mentored/trained/assisted poets, artists and common men, re rola dikgaebane kgabane!0