40pp., paperback, East Molesey & Cape Town, 2018
"How does one write poetry about a lost homeland that was both paradise and prison? Jonty Driver answers that question with 'Before', a haunting, virtuoso sequence which represents a kind of verse 'Bildungsroman' woven of unreliable encounters with a lost self. He creates deep meaning out of an impossibility of return, recognisable to anyone rendered homeless by the turmoil of the twentieth century. His South Africa can equally stand for my Eastern Europe, and so many other troubled parts of the world." Professor Vesna Goldsworthy, Serbian writer and poet
"There is an unusual honesty and courage about these poems. Beginning in memory or dream, or in the strange terrain between the two, they constitute an autobiography of the poet as a child and a young man. But recollection does not secure either the past or the continuity of the self. The voice in these poems is quietly but insistently questioning. And what it questions is not just the meaning of memory and dream, but the limits of experience itself. 'Before' is a work where a measured voice encounters what disturbs measure. These are poems of great emotional range and intelligence." Jon Cook
C.J. (Jonty) Driver was born in Cape Town in 1939. As a student he served as President of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) and spent time in solitary confinement. Forced into exile in 1964 he worked as a teacher and headmaster in England and Hong Kong. Now retired and a full-time writer, he lives in East Sussex. He is the author of five novels, six volumes of poetry and a biography of Patrick Duncan.