Afrikaans literature, Breyten Breytenbach, prison poetry, the reader

  • L Smuts
Keywords: Afrikaans poetry, Breyten Breytenbach, decentralisation, the “I” narrator, the reader.


In Breyten Breytenbach’s poetry the “I” is complex. “I” and “you”, the writer and the reader, are not represented with constituted meanings but as signifiers and as part of language production. This article reflects on the development process of the writer as the textual “I”, the “I” narrator in the poetic text – the “I” of language that is not homogeneous or constant. The text is regarded as a pluriform in dialogue (often incomplete) with a variety of texts, the writer and his text, the texts of the reader and the texts of society and history. The author discusses the decentralisation of the subject in Breytenbach’s poetry with respect to his prison collection (‘YK’), and especially the poem “nekra” (a neologism recalling “necro”).


Article is in Afrikaans


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2309-9070
print ISSN: 0041-476X