HomeStandard StyleChiwanza an important arrival on Zim poetry

Chiwanza an important arrival on Zim poetry

By Onai Mushava

Tafadzwa Chiwanza’s debut book No Bird Is Singing Now? is an important arrival on Zimbabwe’s poetry scene. Chiwanza picks apart weighty questions without forcing a strong hand.

His enchanting imagery and rapier-like phrases complicate existence into a beautiful absurdity to be wondered at rather than solved.

Chiwanza arrives fully formed, an old soul who has been away, and now revisiting with a third eye the diversions he wearied out in another life.

Standard Style correspondent Onai Mushava (OM) caught up with Chiwanza (TC) who is also an accountant by profession

Below are excerpts from the interview.

OM: What is Tafadzwa Chiwanza about?

TC: Chiwanza is a University of Zimbabwe accounting student, currently with Deloitte. That’s my part-time existence. On full-time, I am a maker of descriptions, a writer whose existence lies between poetry lines. Hailing from Chitungwiza, a ghetto where everything that the eyes can see, is the stuff poetry is made of.

OM: No Bird Is Singing Now? Now that’s quite a title. What happened to the birds?

TC: Most of the poems in the book are philosophical questions concerning matters such as reality, love, truth, the self and how individualism translates into the political. In the process of organising these lines of poetry, I realised that these questions when properly put to a ready mind, would be answers in their own right.

Therefore, the title had to be, in a way, a snippet of what I painted on poetry pages. The anthology took me nearly over a year to write. That’s why you notice that there are multiple voices within the collection, a testament to the transition that I was going through as a writer and perhaps a change in the things that inspire me.

OM: Deep. What inspires you?

TC: Romance with the vicissitudes of life provide the most intimate of inspiration, I must say. Each poem captures a particular experience and incident. Some of the things I went through physically, and others that my mind convinced and my body paid dividend. You see in the writer’s world, the line between real and unreal is a few words long. What I think of is as real as the sand under my feet.

OM: You strike me as a poet who is self-aware about being different.

TC: Art, when it’s unique, is in itself a reward, to the creator. I realised that with each and every poem that I was going to write, I had to get those rewards. So I began striving to branch out of the influences that inspired me to write, the likes of Dambudzo Marechera, Tanaka Chidora, Onai Mushava, Chenjerai Hove etc.

OM: Humbled to be named in that insanely great company, man. So, how do you balance the craft with your nine-to-five?

TC: Work and literature to me are not two different worlds. I understand that there’s no room for poetry when I am auditing, but I also recognise that the poetry is not in the things I do, but rather in me. I am a poem. So there’s no balance to maintain, I am an auditor and a poet at the same time.

OM: Where can people get hold of the book?

TC: Those interested in making a purchase or seeking further details can email me, or call me on 0773104445.

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