Our Balm Word of God by Warren Jeremy Rourke

Warren Jeremy Rourke | Sep 16th, 2022 | poetry | No Comments

Poem

We break
the boundary
between life and death
and I accept that we’ve broken life
with our speaking through, dreams.
Fibreoptic cable of our Symposium song.
My tears a melody, and loss, of tone.

Hagiazo, that ancient Hebrew word
we know, so well, you and I
holy, set apart for sacred use
and you a dancer to it all and I
forever painter of your silent poem.
Loss, orphans, and us alone.
I break the structure
of the mathematicians’ universe
and split the atom of longing,
turn the hours and years
into, extracted value.
Your answer:
Why are we alive?
“To learn and to grow.”
Mine:
To create beauty . . .

Poet Bio

Warren Jeremy Rourke is newly appointed editor-in-chief for Botsotso. He is also the rights and permissions manager for the Alan Paton Will Trust, former foreign rights agent for the poetry publisher, Dryad Press, current roving editor for the new arts journal, the *Hotazel Review,* which he co-founded, and literary editor for award-winning African novelists. His poetry has been published in *New Contrast: The South African Literary Journal* and was longlisted for the *Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award and Anthology*; his short fiction has been published with *Botsotso,* his creative non-fiction with *Olongo Africa,* his interview on academic freedom with *Postamble,* and his painting in the first-time full-colour collaborative Nelson Mandela University arts journal, *Sharp!* which he was editor for that year. Rourke is diagnosed bipolar disorder type 1.
MA: Language and Literature (UCT)
Babette Taute Honours Scholarship (NMU)
BA: MCC, Honours (NMU)

Warren attended Potchefstroom Primary; Saxonwold Primary; Meyerton Primary; Sunnyridge Primary; Crystal Park Primary; Brighton Beach Primary; Addington Primary; Wit Deep Primary; and Norwood Primary where he was the school’s Head Boy. He then attended Lawson Brown High; Queen’s College High; and Victoria Park High, at which time, at age fifteen, he decided to drop out of school, at the end of Grade 9, to study art at the Erica School of Art, Russell Road College, completing a NSC in Art and Design, with distinctions. His paintings have been in exhibitions with the Eastern Province Society of Arts and Culture (EPSAC); the Absa L’Atelier art competition (first regional round); and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum.

In order to position himself for access to university, Warren then completed a correspondence (HG) second National Senior Certificate, through Intec College, receiving 6 subject higher grade matric exemption.

Warren was a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) recipient, for ‘a demonstrable life of poverty,’ graduating BA: Media, Communication and Culture, from the Nelson Mandela University (NMU), with majors in English Literature, Contemporary Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and a partial major in Philosophy. He was, in his final year, awarded distinctions for Modernism and Literature; Postmodernism and Literature; Cultural Studies: Contemporary Society; World Literature Today; his Creative Writing Portfolio; and a year-long Media and Communication Project on HIV/AIDS epidemiological discourse, through a Foucauldian lens. He was, in his final year, also the editor of the first-time collaborative and full colour Arts Journal, Sharp!

Warren received the sole-recipient Babette Taute National Honours Scholarship, to continue his studies in English Literature (NMU). He received Honours distinctions in: Theory of Literature; Postmodernism and Textuality; and Contemporary/Comparative Literature.

In 2017, Warren successfully completed his MA: English Language and Literature, from the University of Cape Town (UCT); commencing through the support of a UCT Scholarship and the Twamley Financial Need Bursary, but not being able to graduate due to, “outstanding fees” accrued during the Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall protest movements, as well as being hospitalized for psychiatric care, and completing his MA degree, homeless – he therefore now declines graduation, thank you very much. Warren achieved coursework Masters distinctions for: Deconstruction and Aesthetics; Language, Literature and Modernity II; and a year-long Directive Reading Project on the oeuvre of the Nobel Prize winning author, J.M. Coetzee. Warren tutored first year students and held third year seminars, entitled: ‘Make It New’: Innovation and Tradition in James Joyce’s Ulysses and Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. His minor-dissertation, under the supervision of Arderne Chair in Literature, Prof. John Higgins, was on ‘Authentic Realism,’ entitled: K. Sello Duiker’s Realism: Form, Critique and Floating Kingdoms.

He has been the subeditor of the community newspaper, Iliso Labantu, since 2016, and has at times, also been its cartoonist and editorial writer.

Warren and his life partner, the dancer, Aletta Esbach (who passed over in 2020), through the patronage of ‪Emeritus Professor of Afrikaans & Dutch Literature (NMU), Helize van Vuuren, taught English in the northeast of Thailand for two years. In late 2019, Warren returned to South Africa to commence the start of the World Arts Agency, as its Commissioning Editor and Senior Literary Agent.‬

As a side hustle, Warren is literary editor for award-winning African novelists.

Diagnosed bipolar disorder type 1, and hospitalized five times for psychiatric care, Warren sometimes struggles. And once, for instance, went walking through the Kruger National Park with two angels, looking for the lions.

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