Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Remembering Julius Chingono, 6 years gone

 Tired Feet

A man arrived
in a park,
kicked off shoelace-less shoes
from his fetid feet.
Tired feet stared
at a notice written –
‘stay off the grass’.
Lush grass sneezed,
the smell of dirty feet
choked its shoots.
The legs bent and creaked –
we cannot go further.
The man dropped
to sleep 
on an empty stomach.

and then there was his humour...


In the photograph
I was so drunk
that I would stagger
out of the picture.

(both from Together, Julius Chingono and John Eppel, 2011)

Getting Together, poems and short stories by John Eppel and Julius Chingono ready for publication was a cooperative effort. Getting the work from John went smoothly as John lives in Bulawayo, our base, and is online. Julius lived in Norton, outside Harare, and did not have access to a computer. It was 2010 and time to call in the help of friends. The poet, Togara Muzanenhamo, didn't live far from Julius and offered to get the poems from Julius, type them up and email them to us. This worked well, we made suggested edits, sent them back to Togara, which he then shared with Julius. And so we progressed... The same routine was adopted for the short stories. The writer Tinashe Muchuri came to the rescue. He took on the task of typing Julius' stories from which we selected those which we chose to include in the collection and proceeded to edit them with Tinashe kindly acting as the go-between. In this way the anthology, Together, came into being.

The book now complete, we negotiated co-publishing deals with the the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the University of New Orleans. All was going well and then we received the tragic news that Julius had died on January 2nd, 2011, before we had brought the collection out. So the launch became a tribute to Julius, where we played a video of him reading his work.

We will remember Julius.

No comments:

Post a Comment