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T H U R S D A Y
In True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, probably the best-known work by the greatest Afrikaner poet of our time (but which incidentally isn’t poetry), Breyten Breytenbach recounts his time in a South African prison. He relates the fates of fellow inmates both on the inside (one suspected informant has “his stomach cut open with the small blades made from the flattened filter tips of cigarettes, and his intestines taken out while he is still alive—to be laid out in lengths all around the cell”) and the outside (a former railway porter tells “a visually funny but very sad story” of his interruption of a middle-aged woman’s amorous escapade with her lap dog, whereupon “the poor lady got such a fright that she chucked the beast out the open window of the moving train!”). The poet’s latest book, The Memory of Birds in Times of Revolution (also not poetry), collects two confrontational open letters to Nelson Mandela and essays on topics ranging from post-apartheid reform and rebuilding to the global inequities in the distribution of resources. While Breytenbach’s earlier works may provide more to interest the twisted reader, tonight’s reading will examine the challenges facing the new South Africa from the perspective of a bizarre and gifted writer. At 7 p.m. at Chapters, 1512 K St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-5495. (Eric Payne)