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Guy Rogers Reports on the Launch of Taken Captive by Birds by Marguerite Poland

Taken Captive by BirdsGuy Rogers from The Herald attended the launch of Marguerite Poland’s Taken Captive by Birds at the Ron Belling Gallery in Port Elizabeth. Poland grew up on a smallholding on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth and has written a memoir using birds as “ciphers of rememberance” through which she tells the stories of the place and the people that inhabited it.

Poland spoke about her idyllic childhood at the launch, but commented that it also contained “sombre threads” which she could sense even at a young age.

Acclaimed author Marguerite Poland has written a beautiful book about growing up on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. The author of The Mantis and the Moon, Train to Doringbult, Shades and The Abundent Herds lived on a smallholding in the 50s and 60s in a valley in Lovemore Park which was simply called then by the locals “The Bush”.

Her new book is called Taken Captive by Birds, and birds are a pivotal part of the story. But this is not a typical bird book with scientific names and details of things like nesting habits and distribution. Instead, birds are “ciphers of remembrance” of the people, the events, “the absurdities and tragedies” and the place that shaped the writer as she grew up. Each chapter is titled and is symbolised by one of these birds, with a superb illustration of each by artist Craig Ivor.

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