Our latest Zimbabwe feature showcases new work from six poets – including a poet introduced into our archive for the first time; a poet who was recently in Rotterdam for 46th Poetry International Festival and a residency at A View with a Room; and a poet who suddenly and shockingly passed away just days after being in the recording studio with our Zimbabwe editor Irene Staunton. Generally, contemporary Zimbabwean poetry has focused on performance as poetry’s medium, but the poets appearing here deftly navigate between performance and print. We were determined to present their new work simultaneously in both forms. We hope that through these texts, each accompanied by new recordings, a new line emerges of what is poetry in Zimbabwe now.
The poems here are the ambivalent, critical, urgent, complex love songs of Zimbabwe's leading poets for their country. And they comprise Irene Staunton's final feature as a Poetry International editor. For twelve years she has tirelessly advocated for and supported the prominent international presence of her country's poets on our pages. Staunton now brings this year's Poetry International Festival poet Togara Muzanenhamo on board as our new Zimbabwe editor.
For this feature, we have added a new poet profile for Barbra Breeze Anderson and updated the existing profiles for Batsirai E. Chigama, Joyce Chigiya, Tsitsi Jaji, Togara Muzanenhamo and Freedom Nyamubaya. Staunton was in the recording studio with Nyamubaya, making the audio of 'In the absence of vision' to be included here, just days before the poet died from a stroke. We decided to publish the poem and recording earlier than this feature, so that we could include it in her obituary.
Barbra Breeze Anderson –
Batsirai E. Chigama –
Joyce Chigiya –
Tsitsi Jaji –
Togara Muzanenhamo –
Freedom Nyamubaya –