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.
The name EKENIA T.CHIFAMBA is a name that somewhat rattles the bone and marrow of unrepentant , evil and dare-daring barbarians perpetuating sexual violence and emotional abuse onto the lives of innocent and vulnerable young women and girls in both rural and urban settings. In realizing the plight of the GIRLCHILD in all sectors of life , political , social , moral and economical. The resilient Ekenia Chifamba established SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA organization .True to it ,the girlchild rights Maestro Chifamba is blessing and heartily friend of the GIRLCHILD in Zimbabwe , Africa and Abroad . For the past tiring six years , she has relentlessly exposed rape cases across the country, weeded out evil off our vulnerable communities .Chifamba embraced vulnerable/abused young girls and rehabilitated their emotions and consciences into lives worth living . A lot of community interventions are being done in Zimbabwes various settings of the country to heal girls from emotional hate and moral decadence perpetuated by crude cruel killers of innocence . Since the resumption of her organization , Chifamba has been received with mixed feelings and contempt by a society use political and pseudo cultural vintage in covering up sin and vile for so many years . That did deter her to stop effecting her CALLING positively in touching the souls of weak and the traumatized . Young women and girls’ deplorable plight was savagely neglected .Ekenia Chifamba became the answer to a lot of unanswered questions and has ridden on the impossible, defying all odds and human obstacles to relieve the girlchild from the bondage of retrogression and unchain them from the yoke of sexual oppression , stigma, discrimination and emotional shattering . SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA promotes dialogue among victims , they promote education on girlchild rights in rural villages and down trodden settings, entrepreurship projects , arts and other sustainable projects. Despite a myriad of negative challenges , SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA has its own great success stories .Currently ,they are constructing a Girl Child Rehabilitation and Empowerment One Stop Centre . Alas ,the negating winds of the virulent , savaging , cantankerous COVID – 19 affected the completion of this great habitat , sooner or later the Centre will be launched. To honor her resilience , the immense contribution to vulnerable girls , victims of abuse and their communities , I have decided to feature the profiles and activities of SHAMWARI YEMWANASIKANA Organization and its Founder /Executive Director Madame Ekenia T.Chifamba. Chifamba is an Award winning girlchild rights activist ,Philanthropist, Outstanding global girlchild Projects leader with a long , practical , active and reputable resume in field of girlchild rights and other areas of human development. This Feature Profile and Interview will be featured in AFRICA WRITERS CARAVAN , WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS , TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC ,WORLDPULSE as a Special Journal .In my closing of this long but deserving blurb, I want to heartily say to Madame Ekenia T.Chifamba thank you profoundly for lighting the lanterns of peace ,for raising the flag of freedom and for speaking on behalf of the VULNERABLE and the VOICELESS-( Blurb by Mbizo CHIRASHA)
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 …
TSITSI TSOPOTSA is a Zimbabwean born storyteller, Poet, Writer, Advocate of the Girl child and a Cultural Arts Activist. She ushers in a rare but captivating poetry writing style. Her new poetry beverage soothes the mind of the reader as it carefully flows with blood and warms the African readers soul. It is soul food to the audience. Tsopotsa poetry speaks belonging, identity and African spirituality. Her new form of poetry is extraordinary in form and content. Reason and rhythm are special ingredients to this rare but sweet poetic refreshment. WOMAWORDS celebrates dexterity, reason and diversity with Poet Tsitsi Tsopotsa. Aluta Continua- WOMAWORDS eDitor.
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.
#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) *