Hilton-based Allen Goddard (pictured) has released a new collection of poetry titled WayPoems, which was launched at the Old Station Coffee Shop at the weekend.
Completed during the first Covid-19 lockdown last year, WayPoems voices the growing need across the world for time, space and apt words, to lament and grieve, and to recover lost delight.
The anthology gathers fragments of his life story, childhood and more recent memories, in everyday encounters with place, including iconic events like Art in the Park and places like the Cumberland Nature Reserve.
Goddard’s poems also draw on different times in his life and on his travels in South Africa, Europe, Palestine and Israel, and the Pacific Northwest.
His love for place, memory and story energises the collection in a celebration of life as a sacred journey.
“If we love, know and treasure the landscapes in which we live, our landscape begins to sculpt and shape our soul-scape,” he said.
Born and raised in a working-class family in suburban Johannesburg, Goddard taught for seven years at Sacred Heart College in Observatory, Johannesburg.
He moved to Pietermaritzburg in 2002 with his wife Joyann and two sons after completing a masters degree in Christian studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Goddard was the founding director of A Rocha South Africa, pioneering its first conservation projects on the Duzi River and at Ferncliffe Nature Reserve.
He said that a decade of work in conservation in the city, alongside Duct and other NGOs, had underlined the clear connection between nature and hope for Pietermaritzburg’s future.
Goddard recently completed a doctoral dissertation on the subject of church history, under Professor Philippe Denis, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and he has now returned to teaching history at Howick High School.
WayPoems is published by the American-based theology publisher WIPF&Stock, and is available online as an e-book or in hard copy from Amazon.
Copies should soon be available at Exclusive Books.