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Categories: 21st Century, African, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2006)
The late hour trickles to morning. The cattle low profusely by the anthill where brother and I climb and call Land's End. We are watchmen overlooking a sea of hazel-acacia-green, over torrents of dust whipping about in whirlwinds and dirt tracks that reach us as firths.
from 'Captain of the Lighthouse'
Togara Muzanenhamo's first collection of poems evokes a number of worlds, familiar and unfamiliar. He takes us from his vivid, vanished childhood in Zimbabwe to Europe, where he lived for some years, making as he goes the stories and connections that coax a meaning out of time and change. These are less poems of memory than of creation. There exists a fractured world, partly hidden from the poet, in which dream makes a different kind of order. This unpredictable, parallel world provides an undertone, a treacherous reflection. Spirit Brides combines the real and the surreal, stone and steel on the one hand, and air on the other. The plains of the veldt in Zimbabwe are as tangible as the bookstore in Antwerp or the bottle-shop in Paris. There is a language here that fills some of the troubling silences of our time, that engages death, violence and, most particularly, love.
Table of Contents
Captain of the Lighthouse
The Pale Saint
Six Francs Seventy-five
The Laughing Wood
Views without Buildings
Tea and Sandwiches
The Dawn Chorus
The Boy Who Ate Clouds for Tea
The Small Room
The Shape of a Thousand Things
Late Night and the Road
The Ornithologist's Daughter
The Spirit Brides
Man in the Bowler Hat
The Red Room
The Last Days of Winter
Awards won by Togara Muzanenhamo Winner, 2022 The African Poetry Book Fund's Luschei Prize for African Poetry (Virga) Commended, 2021 Poetry Book Society Autumn Recommendation (Virga) Runner-up, 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry (Gumiguru)
Praise for Togara Muzanenhamo 'Follows various weathers and global histories, speaking through a staggering variety of experiences'
Seán Hewitt, Irish Times Best Books of the Year 2021
'Muzanenhamo wears his erudition and research with ease, finding the cracks of light in historical documents and prising them open... There is an energetic tightness to Muzanenhamo's verse that can be turned to both the disturbing and the musical. He is always conscious of the revelatory capacity of syntactical compactness, creating a poetry that is both rooted in the earth and invested in the possibility of metaphysics.'
Sean Hewitt, The Irish Times
'Togara Muzanenhamo's second collection, named for the hot and dry tenth month of the Shona calendar, is a harsh but heartfelt tribute to the people and landscapes of the author's native Zimbabwe [...] this poet has a rare gift and should be admired for the risks he takes, which have enabled him to write some unusual, moving and yet understated poems about conflict, love and work'
Times Literary Supplement, 16.10.2015.
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