Gabeba Baderoon


Gabeba Baderoon - credit Victor DlaminiGabeba  Baderoon plays with words and twists phrases that make you believe that she is re-inventing the English language and this makes her imagery both subtle yet striking – and so memorable. A shiver will always be a ‘dance in the body’ from now on.

‘The camera’s finitude is its delirious secret’ – is the last stanza of the poem ‘Camera’ yet it could stand on its own as a poem.

Although Gabeba’s poetry voice is distinctive, she brings surprise to each poem she writes, and so it is easy to keep turning the next page, to discover what other surprises she will spring on her reader. The tease starts with he titles: The Dream in the Next Body and you think, how does this relate to my dream in my body?

And then wonder how other people’s dreams populate their body…




I turn a corner and see your face.

Our lives spool out from that glance.


I give up everything for this.

I remember everything I’ve left behind.


You pack your books on the shelves next to mine.

On an envelope addressed to you I write a list of groceries.


 You speak to me of your former loves.

Before we start the middle of our lives together,


before we contemplate leaving each other,

ceding the subtle map of the bed,


let us linger on a beginning.

(from The Dream in The Next Body)


Gabeba Baderoon is an award winning poet from South Africa. The titles of her collects are, The Dream in The Next Body, The Museum of Ordinary Life and A Hundred Silences. She is the recipient of the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry 2005 and held the Guest Writer Fellowship at the Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden in 2005.  Gabeba Baderoon received a doctorate in English from the University of Cape Town with a thesis on images of Islam in South African media, literature and art. She is the recipient of a 2009 FMS/Mellon Fellowship and teaches
Women’s Studies and African and African American Studies at Penn State U.



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