Of Shades Of Black Book Review

Shades of Black is a poetry anthology by Edward Dzonze.

Shades of Black Edward Dzonze

E.D as Edward Dzonze sometimes signs off is known as NRS, Nameless Radio Station in the Spoken Word Circles and founding curator of Mbira-Poetry Night hosted at Action Hub Gazaland in partnership with Edzai Isu Trust.

E.D christened himself the moniker of Nameless Radio Station way back when the prospects of publication seemed bleak. “I thought I would live as an underground poet, broadcasting the gospel around me in the streets from corner bridges where the ghetto youths converge for their daily business of smoke and booze.”

Edward Dzonze

To date E.D has contributed to more than 15 other anthologies and journals across the globe and is currently working on his fifth poetry collection, Here We Stand.

Shades Of Black

Shades of Black is a raw and gritty anthology that captures the many bleak shades of life across the continent of Africa. In the opening foreword, Edward expresses how… the burden of an Artist is to Articulate.. the Black Coffee awaiting the African fella for breakfast tomorrow… That’s Shades Of Black for you.

shades of black back cover edward dzonze

Clocking in 114 pages Shades Of Black has just over a 100 poems with a unifying revolutionary theme any denizen of this continent will find familiar in the life and times in present day Africa. And if you have flipped through the news channel its all various shades of oppression and poverty

…the black coffee depicts the taste of life in the African ghetto

Shades Of Black bristles with barely restrained rage at the system, its tragic legacy and the broken promises in a style that is familiar to the late author Dambudzo Marechera. The anthology is peppered with references to this literary mad genius

I have come to resurrect and revive what the reader miss in Marechera as they do so

My left hand holds what in art is right
My right hand holds what Marechera left behind

A poem called House of Hunger borrows its name from the title of a book by Dambudzo Marechera.

Shades of Black also gives a nod to the legend Oliver Mtukudzi The Man With A talking Guitar in a poem titled Broken Guitar and in Mourning the Fall of The Antidote an ode to Aunt Dot as Jazz Musician Dorothy Masuka was affectionately known as.

We mourn the fall of our giants when death comes to harvest the flowers we cherish.

E.D also recognises and celebrates some Zimbabwean literary voices and their work in a poem titled  This Aint The Non Believer’s Journey At All which is a mosaic of puns made in reference to book titles by authors including the following Batsirai Chigama, Tsitsi Dangarembga Yvonne Vera, Charles Mungoshi, Chenjerai Hove, Shimmer Chinodya

Truth lies between the lines

Shades of Black also contains touching letters to the author’s son and daughter and the mother of the children:  words taught to me by your absence.

Edward writes on the ghetto condition with a highly visual imagery which blends metaphor and literal musings; burning flags, blood on the flags and shadows of home in the African sun.

My beloved Africa suffers from the same ailment as yesterday
No medication, no cure
The doctor here is the witch

Its not an easy book, its not a bite-sized book of poetry that will make you feel good about life, this is protest art, raging at the soundtrack of guns that nobody wants and the judiciary which rolls up and smokes the ballot paper and the tear gas you get for asking questions they don’t have answers to…

Shades Of Black is available on Amazon:

You can contact the author on Facebook Edward Dzonze Email NamelessRadioStation@gmail.com Phone 0776096846


~B

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