Piano & Poems: Everybody is a Bridge

"I was moved, provoked, inspired and soothed by your collaborative performance. I especially enjoyed how text, music and image blended seamlessly to create a unique aesthetic experience…sublime."

- Prof Sam Naidu



Anton Krueger reads from his new collection of poems Everybody is a Bridge, (Botsotso) in collaboration with improvisations by legendary pianist and composer Paul Hanmer. Hanmer captures the changing moods of Krueger's poems, responding to their energetic exuberance and lyrical spontaneity as they range from the whimsically absurd to melancholic tragedy. A shifting backdrop of Zen ensos illuminates the performance.  


The poems are a reflection of interconnectedness. The same poet who observes that “everybody is a bridge/“ then asks in Zen -fashion, “Is it me, or is it you? / are you reflection or projection / or the light that’s shining through?’’ He can also note in a very down-to-earth way, that “If we hadn’t robbed the car washers of their coin / they might not have turned so mean, you know? / Let them earn a little income, bra / If we’d chiselled our hearts open, tried to see it from the middle / we’d have softened just a little. And so, while keeping the big picture of the difficulties before us unflinchingly, the questions being explored include philosophical and political statements with images of very real people and their struggle for survival. As importantly, through these ‘poems, prose-poems, notes & fragments’, runs a whimsical sense of youth and later years, as numerous relatives and friends make their appearance in the form of anecdotal history turned into poetic narrative.


Piano and Poems premiered in Makhanda in July, 2024 and was also performed at Poetry Africa, Durban in October, 2024.  

Production Credits

Paul Hanmer: Improvised Piano

Anton Krueger: Writer, Reader

Image of Paul Hanmer: Rafs Mayet

Cover Image: Inma Garcia-Carrasco

Everybody is a Bridge by Anton Krueger is published by Botsotso (2023) edited by Allan Kolski Horwitz

About the Artists


Paul Hanmer is a legendary South African composer and pianist who has spent the past 40 years playing piano in several musical genres and writing music for jazz artists, orchestras, chamber groups and solo artists in predominantly jazz and classical styles. He has worked with a wide range of South African music and theatre legends, including Taliep Petersen, Jennifer Ferguson, Barney Simon, Sibongile Khumalo on her first jazz gig, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Jonathan Butler, Pops Mohamed, Ray Phiri and Sipho Gumede. His three-decade musical relationship with McCoy Mrubata is one of the most productive collaborations in SA jazz and his award-winning 1997 recording ‘Trains to Taung’ altered the landscape of South African pianism. Influenced by Keith Jarrett, Hanmer’s music is at times cerebral and minimalist, but always distinctly South African, with strong flavours of the Cape Flats and the Friday afternoon township gumba. He has written extensively for classical performers - in often unusual instrumentation - for performances in South Africa and Europe and has completed his PhD at Rhodes, part of the requirements of which was to write a symphony.




Anton Krueger’s poems have appeared in New Coin, Itch, Aerial, Botsotso, Ons Klyntij, Litnet,  Green Dragon, Big Bridge, African Writing, Incwadi, Alookaway, Laugh it Off, Tyhini, Sweet Magazine, Mahala, Kotaz, Aerodrome, Kagablog, Business Day, The Pretoria News, Sicak Nal (in Turkish); and Consciousness, Literature and the Arts. He was the first English poetry editor for Litnet and from 1997-2001, was part of the "Bekgeveg" team performing monthly at venues all over Pretoria and Johannesburg, as well as at the Klein Karoo Kunstefees and Aardklop. Poems from this era were published in the anthology Six of the Best (1998, Poets Press). He was invited to perform at Poetry Africa in 2008 and his first anthology, Everyday Anomalies appeared in 2011 (Aerial). In the same year, his poem “Nine Notes on Lisbon” was a runner up for the Dalro poetry prize.


In the last few years, Anton has been experimenting with improvised spoken word collaborations with a variety of musicians and DJ's, including Tony Bental, Warrick Sony, Justin Kourie and Francois le Roux (the HA! man).  Anton has also published plays, memoir, short stories, criticism and arts journalism. He lives in Makhanda where he heads up the Department of Literary Studies in English at Rhodes University. Anton considers himself a stalwart  amateurist, inspired by love rather than profit.


To sample his work, visit:  https://amateurist.weebly.com/writings.html.

  • Venue: Beethoven Room
  • Location: Rhodes Music Department
  • Ticket price: ZAR 120.00
  • Programme type: Curated Programme
  • Genre: Music
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Ages: ALL AGES
Beethoven Room
June 26, 2024 12:00 - 13:00
Beethoven Room
June 27, 2024 18:00 - 19:00
Beethoven Room
June 29, 2024 20:00 - 21:00