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Togara Muzanenhamo Receives PBS Recommendation

Monday, 14 Jun 2021

PBS Selections graphic We're thrilled to share the news that Virga, the forthcoming collection from Togara Muzanenhamo, has been announced as a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2021! Many thanks to the PBS Book Selectors Andrew McMillan, Sarah Howe, Anthony Anaxagorou and Loretta Collins Klobah for choosing this title.

Togara Muzanenhamo is one of Zimbabwe’s leading contemporary poets. Virga (August 2021) is his third collection, a book of poems set amid twentieth century historical events, which are woven together through the weather and memories of wind. From strange white clouds decimating whole villages in northern Cameroon in 1986, to the spiritual silence of a sundog on the edge of an ice-field during the 1911 Japanese Antarctic Expedition, the 1921 World Championship chess matches in the Cuban heat, or the final hours of a young Bavarian mountaineer suspended beneath a rock ledge in the Bernese Alps – the poems capture stories told through a fast evolving century encased beneath an ancient, fragile sky. Watch Togara talking about and reading from the new collection here.

Reviewing his previous publications, Times Literary Supplement wrote: ‘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’.
Cover image of Virga by Togara Muzanenhamo Born in Zambia and brought up in Zimbabwe, Muzanenhamo has written about Africa, especially Zimbabwe’s geography, colonial and post-colonial history, culture (music, dance, visual arts), sport, and its pastoral and farming life. Like Gumiguru (2014), which has so much to do with weather, Virga continues with it, its impact on daily lives. But his geography has broadened out to include wider worlds and different histories. The title relates to the meteorological phenomenon in which a column, shaft or band of rain or snow is seen falling out of a cloud but never reaching earth – evaporating, seeming to vanish before touch-down, causing serious disruption to the weather with sometimes fatal consequences.

The poet describes his new book as ‘a collection of poems set in the twentieth century featuring historical events woven together by the weather and the memory of the wind… The poems capture stories told through a fast evolving century encased beneath an ancient, fragile sky.’

Muzanenhamo's first collection of poetry, Spirit Brides, was published in 2006. He has been shortlisted for the Jerwood Alderburgh First Collection Prize and the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. Afterstudying in The Hague and Paris, he became a journalist in Harare and worked for a film script production company. His work has appeared in magazines in Europe, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and was included in Carcanet's anthology New Poetries in 2002.

Read the full Poetry Book Society Autumn 2021 Selections at their website here.






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