The signature angst of our time was profoundly expressed in the poems submitted for WOMAWORDS Literary Press June 2020 edition, Imaging Life After COVID-19, offering women poets an opportunity to write about their experience of the pandemic and their vision of or for the future. The universal trauma wrought by this virus, invisible and silent and pouncing with madness and mendacity, brings us to a place we’d like to forget but never will. Our world is charged. Our lives are changed. We embrace with yearning the better memories from our past. We are trapped in the present, making the best of it. We find it hard to envision a future undominated by this moment. It was difficult to select just ten poems from among the many submitted. There was not one unworthy poem. I’m honored to read them, to read the bios and get introduced to some fine new-to-me poets (whether or not selected for publication here), and to be chosen by Mbizo Chirasha to edit this edition of his heart-child, WOMAWORDS Literary Press. The edition goes up late. I offer my apologies to poets, to readers, and to Mbizo. The honor of this work came at a complex time for me. I had another zine to publish and also found myself dealing with a hospital stay and debilitating complications from chronic and catastrophic lung-and-heart health issues. Having said that there is nothing like poetry to help us heal the trauma of the catastrophic illnesses we may suffer individually or from the shared trauma of the current pandemic.
CATHERINE MAGODO- MUTUKWA is a prolific and a multi award-winning Zimbabwean voice in the diaspora. Her verses are bold, pregnant with reason and they drip the honey of wise counsel. Her voice is motherly, as she rebukes fellow women to rise, to speak out and to raise the fist of resistance and thrash barbarism. The imagery …
“The WOMAWORDS press June Edition is to be edited by our Poet Laureate and USA Associate to the WOMAWORDS Hall of Fame, Jamie Dedes.“The call is open to women poets from May 20 through June 20.“Ten poems and poets will be selected from the submissions, which should include a short third-person bio of thirty-to-sixty words and your photograph.“Submissions to be forwarded to BOTH Mbizo Chirasha email@example.com and cc’d Jamie Dedes at firstname.lastname@example.org”.G JAMIE DEDES is a Lebanese-American poet and free-lance writer. She is the founder and curator of The Poet by Day, info hub for poets and writers, and the founder of The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine, of which she was the founding editor and currently a co-manager editor with Michael Dickel. Ms. Dedes is the Poet Laureate of WOMAWORDS Press 2020 and U.S associate to that press as well. Her debut collection, “The Damask Garden,” is due out fall 2020 from Blue Dolphin Press.
Besides being a publisher, I am also a poet. Awards include the Ibbetson Lifetime Achievement Award, the Allen Ginsberg Award for Community Service, the 5th and 40th Moon Prize from Writing in a Woman’s Voice, numerous Pushcart Prize nominations, St. Botolph nomination, a Somerville Arts Council fellowship, and being selected as Poet Laureate in Somerville, MA for 2017 and 2018.Some of my other titles include being one of the USA editors for Levure Litteraire (France),editor of the Istanbul Literary Review/ILR (Turkey)from 2007-2011, editor and co-founder of the Boston Literary Review/BLuR from 1984-1994, co-founder of Theatre S. & S. Press, writer of plays, musicals, adaptations, performance art pieces, and being an actress.Author of 5 books of poetry, “ I Wish Francisco Franco Would Love Me” (Nixes Mate Books, Allston, MA), “Whiteness of Bone” (Glass Lyre Press, Glenview, IL), “Nothing Divine Here” (Cetinje, Montenegro), La Portile Raiului (Ars Longa Press, Romania) translated into the Romanian by Flavia Cosma, “Blood Soaked Dresses,” (Ibbetson St. Press, Somerville, MA), and my sixth collection of poetry called “Ash” is forthcoming by Glass Lyre Press. Also the author of three chapbooks that have been published.
It is befitting to name tag NANCY NDEKE as the African Poetic Tigress. The wealth in her poetic narratives and hybrid writing resemble a honeycomb clad with the earthly jacket of pure honey. The mind scorching metaphors are glued together social fabric matters and then stitched with humor concocted political vibe. Ndeke is a princess of rain and the daughter of the road. Her poetic footprints traverse from African foothills, through crevices and caves of great mountains of Kirinyaga into the mist clad mighty Kilimanjaro and the valleys yonder our human rich. The Poetic Tigress in Nancy Ndeke roars with the zeal to see the world dancing in spiritual glory, celebrating abundance and jiving to the gift of the sun and its kindred the moon. Exclusive. The lioness carved into the soul cave of this great literary combatant hunts for her twin sister PEACE in nooks, crevices and thickets of the world. Pen her torch and her poetry is her unfading light. Her literary eyes are oxblood because of the day and night search for her cousin Freedom. Ndeke is a prolific Kenyan Wordsmith, Editor, Literary arts projects consultant and a distinguished writer. She involved in the WOMAWORDS and Brave Voices Poetry JOURNAL as an African Associate and Contributing Editor. WOMAWORDS present to you our beloved readers to the Iconic, prolific and globally decorated Poet, Nancy Ndeke, Aluta Continua- WOMAWORDS eDitor.
Sometimes, I ponder why Africa remain chained by shackles of poverty, clobbered by disease and ravaged by war. I then shed a hot scalding tear from within the inner caves of my heart. Africa my motherland your name is IRONY and your birth mark is paradox. Sure, Africa my land is blessed with natural beautification. Where at every dawn, we dance to the festival of natural beat, Father baboons on baritone, Mother monkeys on sweet tenor, sister doves on soprano and on the trumpet is the great elephant. Africa, My Africa. Today, the wind was calm and the earth danced to the beat of little glory. COVID 19 is still digging its feet deep unto the gates of our beloved countries. I didn’t stop, I trudged along into the digital thickets of Africa, I met a poetic damsel scribbling poetry graffiti on Facebook wall draping’s and inserting her husky poetic voice on the googles internet walls. The voice in Alari Alare Celine is the soft beat of drizzle wetting the smile creased foreheads of hills, the rhythm is the gush rush of a waterfall and depth is the cackling of wild hens bathing in silver colored ravine of Zame. Mesmerizing. The poet in Alari sings to Africa and yearns for the return of virgin Africa, the original Africa. The poet sings to her belonging and her identity . WOMAWORDS Profiles blog present Poet Writer Alari Alare Celine , a Kenyan born writer and is involved with Nairobi Literary Café Aluta Continua- WOMAWORDS eDitor.
#AWADIFO OLGA KILI is our #WOMAWORDS representative for young women and girls and she is part of our #WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS Hall of Fame. A Youthful Literary,genius.A dedicated and widely published writer poet attending her Law studies at a University in Uganda, African land of great political history, cultural anthropology and a haven of literary arts doyens. This installment features Poet #Awadifo Olga Kilis Profile and her unique set of poems touching on the hot bun subject matter, MENSTRUATION. While this set of candid and bold verses require brave readership, Kili celebrates womanhood and uses her sharpened weapon, her pen to smash stigma and discrimination against menstruating women. She then spiritedly flexes her poetic muscle and dare every Goliath set to discriminate menstruating girls and women. Her poetry is candid and her verses are thought provoking, she pushes her spear yonder by saying that menstruation is purity and it is a blessing from Almighty God our Lord. Mind boggling poesy. Awadifo Kilis poems are trendsetting and are clearing our path towards the # DaughtersoftheEarthProject themed #Menstrual Health and Equity. Her set of poems including these titles, HELLO PERIODS*, FEMININE STORY* and *DAUGHTERS OF EVE. #WOMAWORDS is greatly excited to see heads rolling on this our digital thicket. Yes , we yearn to promote dialogue , exchange of ideas , scholarship , freedom of expression and peace. Aluta Continua, #WOMAWORDS eDitor-Mbizo CHIRASHA.
#CHRISPAH MUNYORO# is one of Zimbabwe’s refined wordsmith. Her pen is brave and and the bold pen spit verses that reflect her mastery of poesy. A literary mason wielding a multi-pronged chisel to carve together beautiful language, reason and meaning to bring forth a poetic wonder. Mesmerizing. We are reminded through Munyoro’s poetic dexterity that every poet is artist. A word weaver and verse-carver. A poet is a gifted word sculptor shaping our lives into generational stories. Over and above edutaining , Munyoro carries doses of resistance, rebelliousness and protest in her DNA. She speaks resistance to rot and corrupt to the core dictatorial powers home and abroad . The imagery abound is depiction of sorry tales and naked truth that usually go untold. CHRISPAH MUNYORO# is the Second Prize Winner of the inaugural #Freedom Poetry Prize curated by the #Brave Voices Press. # Finals were excellently adjudicated by one Poetry Chef / Freedom Voices Poetry Prize Head Judge, #Dr. Michael Dickel from Jerusalem, Israel. #MUNYORO is a regular of the #Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign Projects. Aluta Continua -#WOMAWORDS eDitor.
#WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS is a digital cultural arts space for creative resilience and artistic excellence. It is a platform to exhibit the women of literary arts prowess and revolutionary sister comrades, they defied ugly odds of barbarism, chauvinism and savagery to positively change their communities, right the wrong perceptions and carry the torchlight to stardom. Today in the #WOMAWORDS CANDID Talk Studio, we host a very important human being, An acclaimed Educationist. A global development strategist. A leader par excellence. An Accomplished of Author of almost all literary, study and educational genres. A Publisher at Large. Thank you, Embu County Minister of Youth and Cultural Affairs #Dr. JOAN MWENDE KIEMA NGUNZI. We are overjoyed to profile dexterity and greatly excited to converse with excellence. Aluta Continua ( Blurb by WOMAWORDS EDitor).
MELISSA BEGLEY# brews yet another hair-harrowing and nerve shredding poetically packaged hybrid memoirs. The rhythm abound is astounding and head busting. Her verbal bravado is mesmerizing. And this heart- scalding memoir is classic as the paradox and humor become preservatives to enrich this literary brew. Storyteller par excellence. Begley’s memoirs carry harsh realities and shattering experiences from her tender years into her tussling. The heart stabbing sexual abuse to her soft -innocent plum in her tender life by a ravenous and uncouthed biological brother evokes salty tears in the eyes of the reader. Harsh realities. And the writers voice is pregnant with boldness and bravery that defines the iron lioness within her spirit as it carries scars of her tumultuous life ordeal. We have a myriad of torrid, untold stories hidden in the heart caves of many, vulnerable in from dust villages of Nyamapanda to the heart of favelas in South Americas and streets of Chicago. The writer poet chronicler in Melissa Begley traverses with us without much farce. We gasp and choke as we tread along the twists and turns of her mind boggling and traumatic live trends. Melissa Begley is a trailblazing film story. She is her story. Her story unravels the realities and complexities of the ordeals of young girls and women as they groan under the yoke of chauvinism and sexual barbarism. WOMAWORDS is overjoyed to feature such boldness, bravery, wit and dexterity. MELISSA BEGLEYS Writings compliments her role as our #DAUGHTERSOFTHEEARTHPROJECT Fundraising Coordinator. The Project was delayed by the menacing COVID 19 lock downs. We are resuming the # Daughters of the Earth Project in the next two weeks. ALUTA CONTINUA (WOMAWORDS EDITOR-Mbizo Chirasha) *