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Sinclair Beiles (1930-2000), one of South Africa’s more unusual and often underrated poets, left his home country in the mid-fifties and after spending time in New Zealand, Spain and Morocco he moved to Paris which at the time was the centre of international bohemia. Beiles worked in Paris as chief editor for publisher Maurice Girodias’ Olympia Press and established links with the American beat generation of writers, particularly Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Gregory Corso and William Burroughs. Together they collaborated on the legendary collection of Dadaist cut-ups, Minutes to Go. When the Paris scene fell apart in the early sixties, he left for Greece. In 1969 Beiles published a volume of poetry Ashes of experience, his first substantial publication.
Beiles returned to South Africa in the seventies and later married fellow poet Marta Proctor. They moved into a house in Yeoville, Johannesburg and soon became part of the Yeoville artistic group in the eighties. He often performed his poetry live, at venues such as the Black Sun. In 1997 Beiles finally received some recognition when the French Cultural Institute and the British Council of Johannesburg organised a Beat Hotel exhibition in Carfax where Beiles read his poems. Beiles had a history of mental instability and his illness made him at times unpredictable and volatile. ‘Chopin in Majorca’ is a one-man play and was recorded in 1989. Cover photo by Gerard Bellaart. Edition of 100 copies.