Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Busy Month for a Zimbabwean Poet

Togara Muzanenhamo is to launch two books of poetry and to complete a reading tour of the United Kingdom. Textures, Togara's collaboration with Bulawayo poet John Eppel, is to be published in Zimbabwe by 'amaBooks Publishers, and Gumiguru is to be published in the United Kingdom by Carcanet Press.
The reading tour started on October 1 at The Barbican Library, London, in celebration of National Poetry Day. Other events involving Togara include readings on 5 October at Ilkley Playhouse, as part of Black History Month; on 7 October at Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham; on 8 November at the Peter Pears Recital Room, Aldeburgh, as part of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival; and on 14 October at Graves Gallery, Sheffield, as part of the Off the Shelf Festival, complementing the National Portrait Gallery's 'Picture the Poet' exhibition.
Togara is no stranger to participating in events in the United Kingdom. He was the Zimbabwe representative at Poetry Parnassus, ‘the biggest gathering of poets in world history’, where he read at the gala event with Seamus Heaney, Bill Manhire, Kay Ryan and Wole Soyinka at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Poetry Parnassus was part of the Cultural Olympiad that preceded the 2012 Olympic Games. He recently participated in the Worlds Literature Festival in Norwich. His first collection of poems, Spirit Brides, was also published by Carcanet Press, in 2006, and was shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. The Times Literary Supplement welcomed the poet as a young writer of solid distinction.  Carcanet published Spirit Brides in the same year as they published Chinua Achebe's Collected Poems; one reviewer, in Stand Magazine, commented that, 'these two poetry collections could almost epitomize the proud past and promising future of African poetry, insofar as the first represents a lifetime's achievement and the second a bright, new beginning.'
As Dr Drew Shaw states in the introduction to Textures, 'John Eppel and Togara Muzanenhamo epitomise the ideal of the poet dedicated to excellence in form as well as content. To read Textures is to see how Eppel and Muzanenhamo are in many ways similar yet also interestingly different. What connects them is meticulous attention to the craft of poetry, particularly to its musical elements. In their arrangement of words and creation of sounds and rhythms, John Eppel and Togara Muzanenhamo promote this classic view of poetry.'

Textures is the second collaboration involving John Eppel published by 'amaBooks, following Together, which included stories and poems by the late Julius Chingono along with those of John Eppel.

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