South African poet and classicist Sihle Ntuli has a new poetry collection coming out, and we are in love with the minimalist cover.

Titled The Nation, the collection will be published by River Glass Books sometime in July. The book features poems that speak to the complexities of the human existence, the ephemeral passage of time, faith, and more.

The cover art, which was co-designed by the author Ntuli and artist Lungile Mbokane, features a black and white, zebra-inspired, with the title and author’s name written in gold letters. Ntuli told us that the design choices were meant to channel aspects of the book:

When I approached Lungile for the cover art for The Nation, my vision was for something that reflected the sentiments of the book. The title poem of the chapbook “The Nation” refers to a rainbow nation of only two colours, this informs the design choice of a predominantly black cover in comparison to the white. I was particularly keen on having the Zebra pattern with the Y shape of the cover being reminiscent of the South African flag. The eye on the back cover was a last-minute edition but one of my favourite aspects of this design. I am extremely grateful to Lungile Mbokane for what he was able to do with my ideas.

In 2020, Ntuli published a chapbook titled Rumblin’, which features a similarly minimalist art-work featuring lines with two alternating colors. He went on to reflect on what draws him to minimalist art as a expression of his poetic vision:

From an artist’s perspective I quite enjoy the link between my chapbook covers. From the feedback I’ve received, many have noted a similarity to the Rumblin’ cover which was intentional. I am someone who enjoys minimalist art as my poetry tends to go in a similar direction. The first impression is something that I look to be in control of, the cover art is one of my great joys during the publication process based on the various visual interpretations that a cover can take.

Congrats to Ntuli on the forthcoming collection. Preorder The Nation here.