On Wednesday 28 November at 6-00 p.m., in the Wes End Gallery in Smarden, Kent, there will be a re-launch of C.J.Driver's most recent book of poems, a sequence of 22 poems entitled BEFORE, published by Crane River in association with the Africa Sun Press. Jonty will read some of the poems, and there will be drinks and "small eats". All are welcome.


BEFORE was first published three years ago in the South African poetry magazine, New Contrast. Now published as a separate book in August 2018, BEFORE was launched in Cape Town at Clarke's Bookshop in Long Street, at a regular poetry reading Off the Wall in Observatory, and at the 2018 Poetry in McGregor festival. In South Africa, it is available from Clarke's Bookshop and other booksellers; in the U.K., from C.J.Driver at Apple Yard Cottage, Mill Lane, Northiam, Ryte, TN31 6JU (send a cheque made out to C.J.Driver for £5 plus £2 for packaging & postage, or email jontydriver@hotmail.com and he will send details of online purchase).


On Friday 2nd November (All Souls' Day) at 6-15 p.m., C.J.Driver read his sequence of poems, REQUIEM, in the parish church of Ewhurst Green.  Martin Bradshaw, cellist, played excerpts from Bach's Cello Suite No 1 in between some of the poems.  This recital is part of the local commemoratioin of the centenary of the end of WW1.  REQUIEM was the order of service in Evensong at Westminster Abbey in 2014, read by the Revd Christopher Chivers, and has been similarly used in the John Keble church in North London and St Mary's in the Marsh.


A collectioin at the end of this recital on 2nd November has been shared between the chcurch and the Hantam Community Education Projerct in the Karoo.


Other Recent Work


There were four poems by C.J.Driver in a recent Oxford Magazine (No 396): "Last Lesson of a Wintry Afternoon: a Kaddich for Joanna, Lady Seldon", "Extract from a Diary", "Diary Entry" (Hospital poem) and "On Shadows". A letter to the Oxford Magazine, No 397, explained that "On Shadows" was dedicated to Ken Gross and Liza Lorwin; Ken recently edited a new edition of John Hollander's ON THE SUBSTANCE OF SHADOW.


There was a poem by C.J.Driver in the Spectator (March 10, 2018) entitled "For the One Only" and another, "An Old Man & His Wife", in the Spectator (November 2, 2018). "Manifesto" – a defence of the iambic pentameter - appeared in STANZAS, No 11. Two poems appeared in the magazine Theology, May 2018, No 121 No 3: "In a French Garden" and "The hymn of the Christian atheist". Other poems have been variously accepted, and will be announced when they have actually appeared.


A bigger volume, STILL FARTHER, New Poems 2000-2016, is with a publisher at the moment, waiting for a decision.


Jonty & Isobel Dixon, poet & literary agent, did a shared reading at the Mayfield Festival on Thursday 10th May: "Poems of Home & Exile". 


On 11th July, as part of the JAM (John Armitage Memorial) Festival, Jonty read some recently published poems to an enthusiastic audience in St Michael's Church, Hythe.  Peter Fields, violinist, provided some tunes in between the poems. At the end of the reading, there was a collection for the Hantam Community Education Trust in the Karoo, South Africa. Last year, Jonty contributed a foreword to the history by Anne Hill of the first 25 years of the HCET.


SOME SCHOOLS, described as a "professional memoir", was published by John Catt Educational Ltd in September 2016. It is an 80,000 word account of the various schools Jonty Driver worked in after his arrival in the U.K. in 1964, immediately after his release from detention in solitary confinement by the South African security police as a consequence of the two years he spent as President of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS).


The schools are:  Sevenoaks (1964-5, 1967-73), Matthew Humberstone Comprehensive School (1973-8), Island School, Hong Kong (1978-83), Berkhamsted School (1983-9), and Wellington College (1989-2000).  The positions he held in those schools were: English teacher, then Housemaster of the International Sixth Form Centre; Director of Sixth Form Studies; Principal; Headmaster; and Master (a Chinese friend, a stranger to English terminology, once murmured, "Downhill all the way").


SOME SCHOOLS has a generous foreword by Sir Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington 2006-2015. The book is available from the publisher, from local bookshops or from Amazon.

Other Recent Publication


In September 2015, a short biography, THE MAN WITH THE SUITCASE, The Life, Execution and Rehabilitation of John Harris, Liberal Terrorist, was published by the Crane River pubklishers in Cape Town.  Fifty years ago, John Harris was hanged for having placed a bomb in the concourse of Johannesburg station, which caused the death of a bystander and injured horribly others nearby.  Although Harris had warned the police and the press about the bomb, no effort to clear the concourse was made.  Driver has come up with new evidence that the decision not to clear the concourse after the warnig may have been made as deliberate policy.


C.J.Driver is one of the patrons of the literary magazine, STANZAS, first published in September 2015, and edited by Doug Skinner and Patricia Schonstein - see www.stanzas.co.za for details. A number of poems by Jonty have first appeared in that magazine.