In-between spaces in Klara du Plessis’s Ekke: Identity, language and art




transnationalism, transnational identity, transligualism, multilingual poetry, Klara du Plessis, Bloemfontein in literature, ekphrasis


In this review article, we focus on the depiction of the transnational and translingual as a state of being in-between in Klara du Plessis’s debut poetry collection, Ekke (2018). This in-between state has implications for how identity, place and visual art feature in the collection. Ekke contains fragments of German and French, but consists mainly of English interspersed with Afrikaans. The creation of meaning through this linguistic slippage reflects the idea of identity as always in-process that comes to the fore throughout the collection. Ekke also represents an intervention in South African urban literature, as Bloemfontein, a city not much featured in literature, is represented in several poems. In these poems, the poet/speaker struggles to situate Bloemfontein and its surrounding areas’ histories and symbolism in the transnational networks that she is a part of. The conception of identity and language being constantly in-progress is also conveyed in the collection’s poems about visual art. In these poems, meaning is created through the interaction of language with visual art, a process the poet calls ‘intervisuality'.


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Author Biographies

Francine Maessen, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Francine Maessen is a PhD student at the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis of the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Bibi Burger, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Bibi Burger is a lecturer in the Afrikaans Department at the University of Pretoria.

Mathilda Smit, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Mathilda Smit is a lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans, Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State. Bloemfontein, South Africa.


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How to Cite

Maessen, F., Burger, B., & Smit, M. (2022). In-between spaces in Klara du Plessis’s Ekke: Identity, language and art. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 59(1), 7–13.



Review articles