An Introduction to Henk Rossouw by Kristina Marie Darling

Henk Rossouw’s Xamissa is unlike any other literary work I’ve encountered before. Moving gracefully between prose poems, lyric fragments, typography, and gorgeously rendered handwritten passages, Rossouw offers a text that is gratifying in its rich textures, its intricate layering, and its vibrant soundscapes.

Beautifully fractured and purposefully elusive, we are offered a narrative that is also an invitation, its luminous apertures beckoning to the reader. There is something undoubtedly generous about being trusted with the work building this imaginative topography, a landscape that is filled with “fire,” “light,” and music. Rossouw asks, “if my paper vigil outside the Lodge, in the late summer /wind, were to beckon U to the air slit on the stairwell / U would signal to me...with an ashen finger / to yr lips?” Here we are entrusted with secrets – “transcripts,” found language, footnotes and fragments. The reader quickly becomes confidante, collaborator, co-conspirator.

What’s more, we are reminded that it the space between things – whether it’s shifts in form, register, or voice – that makes room for the other. Here, it is the moment of rupture that lets the light through.

Read Henk Rossouw’s Xamissa >>