Henk Rossouw is from Cape Town, South Africa. His book-length poem Xamissa, published by Fordham University Press in 2018, won the Poets Out Loud Editor's Prize. An assistant professor, Henk teaches creative writing (poetry) and literature in the English Dept. at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Here is an interview with him as a new faculty member.
The anthology Best American Experimental Writing 2018 (Wesleyan University Press), edited by Myung Mi Kim, features an excerpt. Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani included his chapbook The Water Archives in the boxset New-Generation African Poets: Tano (African Poetry Book Fund/Akashic Books). Further excerpts of Xamissa are available in Tupelo Quarterly, The Common, and in Blackbird. He also has poems in The Paris Review and Boston Review.
Here’s a poetics essay on Xamissa written for rob mclennan’s blog My (Small) Press Writing Day.
Henk is an associate editor for Tupelo Quarterly: Recent editorial work focuses on Emily Hunt and Asiya Wadud. A poetry critic, he wrote for Boston Review the essays "Border Lyrics," on new translations by Erín Moure of Wilson Bueno and Sophie Seita of Uljana Wolf, and "On the Poetry of Institutional Violence" about the BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP's book The Work-Shy. You can read his review in Gulf Coast of Fred Moten's new book, The Service Porch.
He was one of the winners of the 2009 Poetry Society of America / Bright Lights Big Verse contest, which included a reading on Times Square. It's on Youtube.
Older poems are in The Massachusetts Review and Transom. Fiction can be found in Tin House, non-fiction in The Threepenny Review, and an interview with the late Nadine Gordimer in The Virginia Quarterly Review.
Before joining the faculty at ULL, Henk was a visiting assistant professor in The Honors College at the University of Houston, where he won a teaching award for his lecture on Irish poetry. He has an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2017, he earned his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston, where he served as a poetry editor for Gulf Coast literary journal.
Here is Henk's CV.
Email Henk Rossouw: hrossouw at gmail dot com.
Reviews of Xamissa:
“[T]he space between texts and episodes in Xamissa is especially powerful. It is in these bright apertures, the liminal spaces within the text, that the laws of grammar, syntax and narrative no longer hold. In these brief pauses, the rules of the text, and the rules governing its language and narrative, can be entirely reconfigured … Rossouw’s archival poetics reads as both homage and destruction, a lyric appreciation of the work silence can do (and undo).”
— Kristina Marie Darling, Kenyon Review, 7 Nov. 2018.
"To stunning effect, movement between past, present, and future propels the reader through this text. Rossouw encourages us to then create our own mental file cabinets to store away these dichotomies as the text unfolds, as we are reminded of where we have come from, but most importantly, as we are also forced to consider where we will go next." — Keenan Colditz, Poetry International, 8 Dec. 2018.
Blurbs for Xamissa by Roberto Tejada, Gabeba Baderoon, and Rodrigo Toscano can be read here.
Events: Spring 2019
Jan 31, 2019: UT Austin Department of English. With Jennifer Chang.
Apr 27, 2019: McNally Jackson bookstore, Soho. With Julia Bouwsma and Asiya Wadud.
Apr 30, 2019: Voices Up! Collaboration with C4 Collective, New York.
Apr 29, 2019: KGB Reading Series, NYC. With Julia Bouwsma.
Poets House, NYC: Summer Showcase, date TBD.