Christine Coates, a poet and writer from Cape Town, holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. Her poems and stories have been published in various local and international literary journals. Her debut poetry collection Homegrown, published in 2014, by Modjaji Books, received an honourable mention from the Glenna Luschei Prize. Her second collection, Fire Drought Water, was published by Damselfly Press, 2018. A new collection will be published in 2019. Christine’s poems have been selected for the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry anthologies 2011 – 2018, “New” African Poets Anthologies 2015 – 2017, and the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry Review 2002, Africa Focus. Her short stories have been highly commended. Her poem, “City Swim”, and short story, “Carrot Juice for Ma Coates”, are both featured in The Coinage Book Two.
“City Swim” and “Learning to Drive” both explore both loss and grief. The poet uses her imagination and magical thinking to cope with the loss of her father, eventually coming to some sort of acceptance of this loss.
In “Carrot Juice for Ma Coates”, Abbi’s mother becomes sick with cancer, Abbi visits her to support and help look after her. She becomes frustrated when her mother thwarts her attempts to feed her fresh carrot juice and other nutritious foods. Abbi recalls a time when she was a student and how a friend, Lydia, invited her home for the weekend. She remembers the strained relationship Lydia had with her mother and their issues around food and weight. Abbi reflects on how, as teenagers, they both longed for independence, to fly towards freedom. As Abbi begins to accept her mother and allow her to be the way she is, she appreciates the close relationship and support her mother has always given her. Ultimately she is able to let go and allow her mother to fly.