Martin Hermann Châtillon Coque was born on 29 January 1938 in Gatooma Zimbabwe. Very little is known about his early childhood, except that he attended Prince Edward School in Harare, where headmaster, Mr DJA Lobb, interestingly described him as having more savoir faire than his contemporaries. He started writing poetry as a teenager but never sought to publish. He worked as a junior reporter and sub-editor of the Pretoria News from 1960 to 1964, where the editor Mr Gill described him as a ‘knowledgeable music critic.’
CLASSICAL PIANIST AND SINGER
His classical musical ability was also recognised. Rhodesian College of Music Director, Ms Elizabeth Reynolds, described him as ‘a young boy, having undoubted musical talent.’ He obtained several diplomas from the Trinity College of Music and importantly in 1984 obtained a teacher’s diploma in speech and drama. From the 1970s onwards he taught classical music and singing.
He had a larger than life personality and used this constructively in his work. In April 2005 Dr Caroline L E Waterford Beresford of BMT Motion Pictures described his dramatic performance of his dissertation ‘Individuation, Symbolisation, Characterisation Preparation Performance’ as exceptional and he received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his two performances.
Having embarked on an in-depth study of the works of Carl Jung, he established a Jungian school in which he dramatised the works of Jung; a highly effective way of teaching the complex works of Jung. The purpose of his teaching was to expose students to the major works and principles of Carl Jung and by so doing, led them on their own journey of self-realisation. He taught hundreds of students, most of whom were adults, and he motivated and inspired many to achieve greatness in their own careers. He lived in an apartment in an art deco building in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, until the 1990s. At the time he kept 13 Abyssinian cats and showed them at various cat shows. The rich tapestry of life in Hillbrow in those years was evident in his teaching and in a few poems, he wrote before his death.
His poetry consists of almost one thousand poems. He intended to author 2 200 poems, but his long illness prevented this. The nine volumes are part of an epic poem that reflects his journey towards self-fulfilment and individuation. The majority of the poems were written between the ages of 17 years to 75 years. They are all linked in a way that forms one epic poem. He was always reluctant to publish his poetry, showing strong reclusive characteristics. But his acknowledged genius is self-evident from his work. Whilst exploring the depths of the human psyche and our environment, his poems are as much a celebration of the quality and beauty of the English language. He wrote under the name Châtillon Coque.
Towards the end of his life, a student, the late Mr Marc Van der Spuy, became his benefactor and took him out of his modest life in Hillbrow and bought a house for him in Upper Houghton Johannesburg. He was a talented plantsman and had a passion and ability to design and cultivate a garden of indigenous plants and trees. He filled the 1100 sq m garden with a network of small indigenous ‘forests’, each one giving prominence to particular species of plant. He also nurtured and cared for about 200 rose bushes. It was in this beautiful garden and classic red bricked home named Little Athanor that he was to end his days in 2015.
Primal Mediation | 9 volumes
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I have seen his first attempts at composition and have been much impressed by his power of Dramatic Delineation, as I am by his poetic writings, which are of the highest order
ROSITA GOOCH, PRETORIA, 1961
His interests lie in imaginative literature and authorship, combined with music... In the writing of poetry and poetic drama he shows a remarkable talent... I believe he will go far as an essentially metaphysical poet, surveying the whole range of human existence, especially on the spiritual plane.