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Stephen Watson
Born 1 January 1955 (1955-01-01) (age 55)
Cape Town, South Africa
Occupation Poet, Academic
Nationality South African

Stephen Watson (1955-) is a South African poet.

Most of his poetry is about the city of Cape Town, where he has lived most of his life. He is currently a professor in English at the University of Cape Town, he is also the current Director of the Writing Centre.

Creatively, he believes that that poetry and literature can stand on their own and need not refer to politics, or the struggle for liberation, in order to be valid.[1] He takes a strong stand on poetic aestheticism, believing it is possible and desirable to differentiate between "good" and "bad" poetry - a stance that has drawn criticism.[2]

As a literary critic, Watson has suggested that "South Africa is held together by a nexus of peoples 'dreaming' each other in terms of the myths that the distance between them creates."[3]

In February 2006, the normally reclusive Watson made the mainstream news when, writing in New Contrast, he launched an attack on Antjie Krog, accusing her of plagiarism. He claimed that she 'lifted the entire conception of her book [the stars say 'tsau' ] from [his] Return of the Moon', and that she also plagiarised from the work of Ted Hughes. Krog strongly denied the claims.[4]



  • Poems 1977-1982. Bateleur Press (1982)
  • In This City. David Phillips Publishers (1986)
  • Cape Town Days. (1989)
  • Return of the moon: Versions from the /Xam. Carrefour (1991)
  • Song of the Broken String: After the /Xam Bushmen: Poems from a Lost Oral. Sheep Meadow Press (1991)
  • Remembering the Night. Turret Bookshop (1992)
  • Presence of the Earth: New Poems. David Phillips Publishers (1995)
  • The Other City: Selected Poems 1977 - 1999. David Phillips Publishers (2000)
  • The Light Echo And Other Poems. Penguin Group (SA) (2007)

Other works

  • Stephen Watson: Selected essays, 1980-1990. Carrefour (1990)
  • Guy Butler: Essays and Lectures 1949-1991. David Phillips Publishers (1994)
  • Critical Perspectives on J. M. Coetzee. (ed) David Phillips Publishers (1995)
  • A City Imagined: Cape Town and the Meanings of a Place. (ed) Penguin Group (SA) (2006)


  1. ^ Charlotte Otter Blog entry 12/11/07
  2. ^ Titlestad: Aesthetes and democrats: reading the critical reception of The heart in exile and Sue Clark's The False Bay cycle
  3. ^ Watson, S. 1980. The liberal ideology and some South African novelists. Cape Town: University of Cape Town.
  4. ^ Antjie Krog denies plagiarism claims
    South African Author Accused of Plagiarism

External links



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