Earlier this year, Jonty published a short (15,000 words) memoir called ROBERT BIRLEY, MAINLY IN SOUTH AFRICA (No. 3 in the Booklet Series). Birley was Hedmaster of Charterhouse and, later, Head Master of Eton and, after his retirement, he went to the University of the Witwatersrand as Visiting Professor of Education. He had, between his stints at Charterhouse & Eton, been i/c the de-nazification of education in West Germany; his going to South Africa was intimately bound up in the same motivation. He helped Winnie Mandela and the Mandela daughters; he visited Robert Sobukwe; he met and formed the highest possible opinion of Steve Biko, predicting he would one day be Prime Minister (as he might well have been if he hadn't been murdered) and he helped an enormous number of other anti-apartheid South Africans, often breaking the law to do so. He said his protection was the likely headline in The Times: "Ex-Head Master of Eton arrested in South Africa – for teaching". His wife, Elinor, was equally involved.
Copies of the booklet are available from Jonty (see details below).
STILL FURTHER, New Poems, 2000-2020, was published by the Uhlanga Press in South Africa and the UK in 2021. It is available from bookshops in South Africa, fromthe Africa Books Collective in the UK, or directly from C J Driver (details below).
Five pamphlets, made in co-operation with Artwrite Ltd of Rye, were published in 2019/20: the first is IMAGE & IMAGE, Some Old Photographs & Twelve Unrhymed Sonnets. Six of the photographs with their accompanying poems were published in NEW CONTRAST 172, Volume 43, Number 4, 2016, but this is now the complete sequence. The second is THE JOURNEY BACK, A Travel-Book in Verse, with two illustrations taken from C.J.Driver's own water-colour paintings. This sequence was included in the collection IN THE WATER-MARGINS, 1994, and some of the poems were in SO FAR, Selected Poems, 1960-2004, but this is the first time the sequence has been published independently. The third pamphlet is THE SLAVE-BELL AT DOORNHOEK, a painting & a poem, and the fourth THE CHINESE POEMS, 1979-2020. The cover of this is from a water-colour painting by Jonty and includes one previously unpublished poem. The fifth is A WINTER'S DAY AT WESTONBIRT & OTHER POEMS; all the illustrations are from paintings by Jonty.
Copies of these pamphlets are available from Artwrite of Rye (13a Tower St, TN31 7AT email@example.com) or from Jonty himself. See contact details below.
BEFORE, a sequence of 22 poems, was first published a few years ago in the South African poetry magazine, New Contrast. It is available from Clarke's Bookshop and other booksellers in South Africa; in the U.K., from C.J.Driver at Apple Yard Cottage, Mill Lane, Northiam, Rye, TN31 6JU (send a cheque made out to C.J.Driver for £5 plus £2 for packaging & postage, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and he will send details of online purchase).
In July 2021, Jonty read some of the poems in STILL FURTHER at the Sea Fever Festival in Norfolk.
In July 2019, as part of the JAM (John Armitage Memorial) Festival in the Romney Marshes, and again in July 2022, Jonty read some of the poems to an audience in the church of St Mary the Virgin, in St Mary's in the Marsh. At the first, Helen Thomas (who plays with the London Phil) played excerpts from the Bach Cello Suites Nos I & 2 in between some of the poems. In the second, Lady (Nikki) Douglas, played a variety of tunes on the piano, including some of the music of Dollar Brand.
On Friday 2nd November 2018 (All Souls' Day) Jonty 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 was 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 at St Mary's in the Marsh.
Collections at the end of these recitals have been given to the Hantam Community Education Project in the Karoo. In 2017, Jonty contributed a foreword to the history by Anne Hill of the first 25 years of the HCET.
Other Recent Work
A poem called "The Short History of a War" was published in a recent number of the Oxford Magazine (No 408, Trinity term 2019). There were three poems in the same magazine (in January 2019: "Omdraaivlei", "A Game of Tennis" and "Puppets"), and four poems in No 396 (April 2018): "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.
"For the One Only" was in the Spectator (March 10, 2018) 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".
"Verkeerdekraal" was published in the Yale Rview (November 2017).
A bigger volume, STILL FURTHER, New Poems 2000-2019, is to be published by the Uhlanga Press, probably in 2021.
Jonty & Isobel Dixon, poet & literary agent, did a shared reading at the Mayfield Festival on Thursday 10th May 2018: "Poems of Home & Exile".
Memoir SOME SCHOOLS
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 publishers 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.