BA (Hons) Witwatersrand MA London PhD Witwatersrand


Research Interests

South African and postcolonial literature and criticism

African orature

Literary debates in South Africa 1950 – 2000

The literature of Black Consciousness

Contemporary South African poetry

17th Century Poetry (especially Milton)

Modern and postmodern Poetry

‘Epic’ postmodern novels (Pynchon, Gaddis, Franzen, Powers, DeLillo, Vollmann)

Science fiction

Literary and cultural theory



The Blood of Our Silence (Johannesburg, Ravan, 1988)

Projections in the Past Tense (Johannesburg, Ravan, 1992)

Love That is Night  (Durban, Gecko Books, 1998) 

Mirror and Water Gazing  (Pietermaritzburg, Gecko/University of Natal Press, 2001)

Land dreaming: prose poems (Pietermaritzburg, University of Kwazulu-Natal Press, 2006

Absent Tongues (Cape Town, Hands-On Books, 2012)

As Editor

Guest editor of 90-page selection of ‘Contemporary South African Poetry’ in The Common 4, 2012 (Amherst, Amherst College).

Selected Articles in Books and Journals

`Class, Continuity and Change in Black South African Literature, 1948 - 60’  in  B.Bozzoli (ed.) Labour, Townships and Protest: Studies in the Social History of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, Ravan, 1979)  pp. 143 - 182.
`Education and Class Struggle’ (with Linda Chisholm)  Perspectives in Education  (Johannesburg)  Vol. 5. No. 2,  1981  pp. 110 - 117.

`The Study of South African Working-Class Culture’  Perspectives in Education  Vol.7 No. 2, 1983  pp. 63 - 93.

‘Culture, Politics and the Black Writer: A Critical Look at Prevailing Assumptions’English in Africa  (Grahamstown)  Vol. 10 No. 1, 1983  pp. 37 - 84.

`Black Literature and Performance: Some Notes on Class and Populism’  South African Labour Bulletin  (Johannesburg)  Vol. 9 No. 8, 1984  pp. 54 - 76.

`Identities and Priorities in Recent Black Literature and Performance: A Preliminary Investigation’  South African Theatre Journal  (Johannesburg)  Vol. 1 No. 1, 1987 pp. 45 - 113.

‘Oral Performance and Social Struggle in Contemporary Black South African Literature’  TriQuarterly  (Evanston)  No. 69, 1987  pp. 254- 271.

`The Days of Power: Depictions of Politics and Community in Four Recent South African Novels’  Research in African Literatures  (Austin)  Vol. 19 No. 1, 1988 65 - 88.

`Political Tasks of Academic Work: A Response’  Occasional Papers Series No. 3  (Cape Town, Centre for Research on Africa, University of the Western Cape, 1988) 23 - 31.

`The Marabi Dance: A Working Class Novel?’ (with Eddie Koch)  in M.Trump (ed.) Rendering Things Visible: Essays on South African Literary Culture  (Johannesburg, Ravan, 1990)  pp. 205 - 224.

`Authorship, Authenticity and the Black Community: the Novels of Soweto 1976’ in S.Clingman (ed.) Regions and Repertoires: Topics in Politics and Culture
  (Johannesburg, Ravan, 1991)  pp. 178 - 222.

`”This Time Set Again”: the Temporal and Political Conceptions of Serote’s To Every Birth Its Blood’  English in Africa  Vol. 18 No. 1, 1991  pp. 51 - 80.

`Democratising Culture and Literature in a `New South Africa’: Organisation and  Theory’  Current Writing  (Durban)  Vol. 6 No. 2, 1994  pp. 1 - 37.

`Bird Hearts Taking Wing: Trends in Contemporary South African Poetry Written in English’  World Literature Today  (Norman) Vol. 70 No. 1, 1996  pp. 25 - 32.

`South Africa Passes the Posts’  Alternation  (Durban)  Vol. 4, No. 1 1997 pp. 116 - 151.

‘Political Fiction, Representation and the Canon: The Case of Mtutuzeli Matshoba’English in Africa  28, 2 2001  pp. 101 – 122  and  in N Yousaf (ed.) Apartheid
      Narratives (Amsterdam, Rodopi BV, 2001)  pp. 61 - 80.

‘The Witness of Poetry: Economic Calculation, Civil Society and the Limits of the  Everyday in Post-Liberation South Africa’ new formations (Southampton) 45, 2001pp. 24 - 53.
‘”The Deep Thoughts the One in Need Falls Into”: Quotidian Experience and the Perspectives of Poetry in Post-Liberation South Africa’  in A.Loomba/S.Kaul/
      M Bunzl/A Burton/J Esty (eds.) Postcolonial Studies and Beyond (Durham, Duke University Press, 2005) pp. 182-205.

‘”I Have Learned To Hear More Acutely”: Aesthetics, Agency and the Reader in Contemporary South African Poetry’ Cross-Cultural Poetics (Minneapolis)      21/22  2009    pp. 240 – 266.

‘Licking the Stage Clean or Pulling Down the Sky?: Roles for Poetry and ‘the Poet’ in Contemporary South Africa’ Mediations (Chicago) 24, 1 2009  pp. 133 - 165.  (

Selected Review Articles and Responses

`Analogy and Aberration: A Critique of Eagleton’s Criticism and Ideology Work in Progress (Johannesburg) No. 4, 1978  pp. 37 - 44.

`Art and Activism in Kenya’  Africa Perspective  (Johannesburg) No. 8, 1978  pp. 26 – 31.

`Real toads in imaginary gardens - a response to David Attwell’  Pretexts  (Cape Town) Vol. 2 No. 1, 1990  pp. 86 - 93.

`Building a National Culture and the Arts’  in P.Henderson (ed.) Community Arts Project Festival: Seminar Papers  (Cape Town, Community Arts Project, 1990) 9 - 13.

‘Reading the Nation’  Southern African Review of Books   (London/Cape Town) Nos. 39 & 40, 1995  pp. 20 - 22.

‘Writing South Africa’ Alternation  5, 1 1998  pp. 256 - 266.

‘Sipho Sepamla’  in P.Scanlon (ed.) Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 225: South African Writers  (Detroit, Bruccoli Clark Layman, 2000)  pp. 408 - 421.

‘Afterword’  in R.Berold (ed.) It All Begins: Poetry from Post-Liberation South Africa (Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 2002)   pp. 225 - 232.

‘Black Consciousness: Southern Africa’ in P. Poddar / D. Johnson (eds.) An Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005) pp. 72 - 76.

‘John Higgins and the Problems of Underdeterminaton’ LitNet (Cape Town)  March 2009 (

‘The Transnational Word: Poetry’s World of Influences’ Contemporary Literature (Madison, USA) pp.  175 - 189 forthcoming

Chapters in books

Sole, K.E. 2005. Black consciousness: Southern Africa. In P. Poddar and D. Johnson (eds), A historical companion to postcolonial literatures in English: 72-76. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Sole, K.E. 2005. The deep thoughts the one in need falls into: Quotidian experience and the perspectives of poetry in postliberation South Africa. In A. Loomba, M. Bunzi, S. Kaul, A. Burton and J. Esty (eds), Postcolonial studies and beyond: 182-205. Durham, SC: Duke University Press.

Creative Writing

Includes poems translated into French,  German, Italian, Spanish and Turkish.

Poems, and groups of poems, have been published on/in the following international magazines, newspapers and journals:

Atlanta Review (Atlanta);

Bacchanales (Rhône-Alpes)

Boston Review (Boston);

Cambridge Conference ofContemporary Poetry  (Cambridge);

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Kitap Eki (Istanbul); Illuminations (Isle of Wight); Illuminations (Charleston);

Illuminations (Dar-es- Salaam);

Kunapipi (Mundelstrap); die horen (Frankfurt);

Litspeak (Dresden);Louis Liard (Bordeaux); Origini (Ravenna);

Poesie (Paris); Rattapallax (New York);

Salzburg Poetry Review (Salzburg); Soho Square(London);

Southern African Review of Books (London/Cape Town);

TriQuarterly (Chicago);

Wasafiri (London)

;Washington Post (Washington);

West Coast Line (Vancouver).

The following South African magazines, newspapers and journals: 

New Coin (Grahamstown);

Timbila (Elim),

Community Gazette (Polokwane);

Akal, Contrast, New Contrast, Imago (all Cape Town); 

Academic Worker (Durban);

Bleksem, Debate, Donga, English Academy Review,

Green Dragon, Quarry, Open School Writing, New Classic, Poetry of the 90s, Sesame, Staffrider, Work in Progress (all Johannesburg).


The following international websites:

Big Bridge; Poefrika; Jack, Kabissa-Fahamu Newsletter, Slope.

Canopic Jar; Centre for African Poetry


The following South African websites:

Donga, Isibongo,LitNet ,Southern Rain; Ygdrasil, incwadi,


The following books / book anthologies and CD-Rom:

The Paperbook of South African English Poetry  ed. M.Chapman (Johannesburg, Ad Donker, 1986);

Ten Years of Staffrider  eds. A.Oliphant/I.Vladislavic (Johannesburg, Ravan, 1988);S.A. in Poetry  eds. J.van Wyk/P.Conradie/N.Constandaras (Pinetown, Owen Burgess, 1988);

Hungry Flames  ed. A. Johnstone (Cape Town, COSAW, 1989); 25/25: Twenty-Five Years of English South African Poetry  ed. D.Bunyan (Grahamstown, Institute for the Study of English in Africa, 1989);

On Shifting Sands: New Art and Literature from South Africa eds. K.H.Petersen/ A.Rutherford (Portsmouth, Heinemann, 1991);Broken Strings: The Politics of Poetry in South Africa  eds. S.Finn/R.Gray (Cape Town, Maskew Miller Longman, 1992); 

Outridings: Revised Edition  ed. R.Malan (Cape Town, Oxford University Press,1994);

Graham’s Town is Not Worth Describing  eds. P.Midgley/A.Haycock (Grahamstown, National English Literary Museum, 1994);

Anthologie de la Poèsie Africaine Subsaharienne  (Paris, U.N.E.S.C.O., 1994);

Poetry Works  ed. R.Malan (Cape Town, David Philip, 1995); A Year in Verse  eds. T.Foster/E.Guthrie (New York, Crown, 1995);

The Heart in Exile: South African Poetry in English, 1990 - 1995  eds. Kock/ I.Tromp  (Johannesburg, Penguin, 1996) Worldscapes  ed. R Malan (Cape Town, Oxford University Press, 1997) The Lava of This Land  ed. D.Hirson (Chicago, Northwestern University Press, 1997).

A Poetry Companion ed. R.Malan (Cape Town, Oxford University Press, 1998)

Middle School Poetry ed. J. Barnett (Brisbane, Macmillan Education, 1998)

One Bounce (Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman, 1998).

New Outridings ed. R.Malan (Cape Town, Oxford University Press, ????forthcoming)

Woman in Poetry: Poems for the 2000 English Olympiad  eds. B.Hoole, A.Marshall, M.Venter (Institute for the Study of English in Africa, Grahamstown,      1999)

Save the Swallows: Poetry for Secondary Schools (World Wildlife Fund CD-Rom, London, 2000).

An Introduction to the Humanities  (Milton Keynes, The Open University, 1999).

Kultur / Sprache / Macht: Festschrift for Peter Horn eds. J.Noyes, G.Pakendorf, W.Pasche (Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 1999).

Poesie d’Afrique au Sud du Sahara 1945 - 1995  ed. Bernard Magnier (Paris: Actes Sud / Editions UNESCO, 2000).

Poèmes d’Afrique du Sud ed. Denis Hirson (Paris, Actes Sud / éditions UNESCO, 2001).

Delivery “Faultlines”: Report on challenges facing Gear, RDP and budget priorities at Local Government level in the Northern Province 1994 - 2000 ed. V. wa ka Bila (Pietersburg, Northern Province N.G.O. Coalition / NONGOCO, 2001).

City in Words  eds. G. Ferguson / I. de Kok  (Cape Town, David Philip, 2001).

The New Century of South African Verse ed.Michael Chapman(Johannesburg, Jonathan Ball/Ad Donker, 2002).

Birds in Words ed. G. Ferguson (Cape Town, Iziko, 2002).

It All Begins: Poems from Post-Liberation South Africa ed. R. Berold  (Pietermaritzburg, University of Natal Press, 2002)

English in Africa special edition - festschrift for Tim Couzens eds. I. Hofmeyr / C Woeber   English in Africa 30, 2 2003.

Post-Colonial Literatures in English: Readings & Interpretations: Study Guide (Milton Keynes: Open University Faculty of Arts, 2003).

In the Country of the Heart ed. P.Anderson (Johannesburg: Jacana, 2004).

Leaves to a Tree ed. R.Malan (Cape Town: David Philip/New Africa Books, 2005).

Poetry Spectrum II eds. H.Houghton-Hawksley / A.Eaton (Cape Town: Juta, 2006).

Halala Madiba: Nelson Mandela in Poetry ed. R Bartlett (London: Aflame Books, 2006)

Lovely Beyond Any Singing ed. H.Moffett (Cape Town: Double Storey, 2006)

Birds in Words: The Twitchers’ Guide to South African Poetry (Cape Town: Umuzi, 2006).

Oxford Successful English Grade 12 eds Kendal/Matthews/Paizee et al (Cape Town, Oxford University Press, 2013)

Africa Ablaze – Poems and Prose of War and Civil Conflict  ed. P Schonstein (Cape Town, African Sun Press, 2013)

Poetry 99: Twenty South African Poets in Performance ed. Robert Berold (Grahamstown, Deep South/Timbila, 2013) (includes dvd)

Another English: Anglophone Poems from Around the World  eds. Catherine Barnett et al (Chicago, Tupelo Press/Poetry Foundation, 2014)


Broadcasts/Televised Poems

South African Broadcasting Corporation (‘The Poet Speaks’) 1992; Y fm Fine Music Radio (Cape Town) 1996; Community Radio (Cape Town) 2000; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 2002; Deutschlandradio Berlin 2004.

‘Woman-womb-world: a celebration of the feminine’  SATV2  18 May 2007 (together with Uhuru Mahlodi, Mandisa Phandliwe, Antjie Krog and Cebisile Hlambo).

‘Kelwyn Sole’ (Cambridge, UK)


Cassette tapes & CD’s

‘New Coin Live: eleven Southern African poets reading their own work’, Grahamstown Festival July 1995   (Grahamstown, Institute for the Study of English       iin Africa, 1996)

‘Poetry Africa 2000: International Poetry Festival’ (CD, Centre for Creative Arts University of Natal 3eD CCA 001).