If you were having coffee with me I would welcome you to my tangle of words, feel at home, put up your feet why don’t you. I will be over here immersing myself in a poetry book by Samantha Vazhure
I had the honour of attending the book launch for Starfish Blossoms and thus making me the proud owner of a signed copy. Signed copies hit different, they are personalized and also a book launch helps puts a book into perspective when you get behind the scenes details about a body of work directly from the author.
The Book launch for Starfish Blossoms was held at Ela The Garden, a cosy affair with poetry readings accompanied with mbira music played by Nasibo.
Side note, Ela The Garden seems to have become quite the literary spot, I attended a book launch for For Women Trying To Breath And Failing by Batsirai Chigama there and Book Fanatics also hosted their Harare Open Book Festival there as well.
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I wouldn’t consider myself as a well-known person, but in some circles I am pretty recognizable maybe it’s a combination of my distinct beard, locs and I have a long running blog which if you follow enough you could almost predict something I would write about, like attending a book launch or a book review of my latest reads.
As I have aged as a seasoned blogger, I have also noticed that I no longer write in the moment, I let it mellow and then write it subject to the vagaries of time on memories, for example this book launch was almost a fortnight ago and here we are.
Starfish Blossoms is inspired by the Starfish Cacti Flower Stapelia grandiflora. A prickly succulent plant, highly resilient, which blooms into star shaped flowers with a rather stinky smell for attracting flies and insects that pollinate the blooms.
The poems in the book are a journey into the world of African Woman dedicated to women past and women present who have raised her and those she will raise in her journey through life such as Samantha’s maternal and paternal grandmonthers. Samantha wore a gown in traditional Retso cloth… a symbol of the voices of women gone too soon, whose voices speak through her poetry.
The opening act was readings from Joseph Matose’s poetry anthology Grave Park Poesy. Joseph who has finally found his voice and morbidly joked about how when you reach a certain age death becomes less… conclusive… less inevitable. Grave Park Poesy uses death as a metaphor for life but as observed by those who can no longer be a part of it with an over-arching theme on being heard…
Joseph intimated that this collection was only the tip of the iceberg, he has been writing for a long time although never with the intention of being published or taking it any further, until Carnelian Heart Publishing made that dream possible. In a side discussion with Joseph, I also discovered that we have a shared Shangaan lineage, and I look forward to figuring out how we are related, in the meanwhile, we consider each other brothers.
Also shoutout to the host with most Derek Sibanda whom I know via the Harare The Book Club, and Valentine a fellow creative enthusiast whose phone I borrowed to take some of the images which appear on this post.
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I met Pauline Magosvongwe who published a book at 76 again thanks to Carnelian Heart. When we chatted briefly she was exclaiming how people out there are brave to write so beautifully to which I replied but you are part that crowd now, with a memoir The Crocodile River that’s on my to be read list.
My takeaway from the experience was that those stories inside, don’t let them die untold, and also just like the Starfish that blooms with minimum attention, a symbol of resilience. How we still bloom even when it stinks ha!
Speaking of resilience yeah our power situations seems to have taken the theme where the D in December stands for darkness. Now I have to set a dead of night alarm to shave my beard and publish this blog post like some sort of witch, while some bake scones at 3am. We been getting less and less hours of electricity, at this rate we will be in a long distance relationship with electricity, like a lover who is never home but always promising that they soon they will be together.
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the Artemis spaceship is now on its final leg of its space journey and is on its way back after completing its second and final lunar fly with splash down expected on the 11th of December. Still on space, our Zimsat-1 cubesat was successfully deployed, for those interested you can keep track of the various cube satellites using the BirdsNest Android app from Google Play Store.
Whats been happening in your neck of the woods?
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You are so right, we need to raise our voice and tell the stories within or rather we need to put pen to paper and write.
I really tried to understand poetry for decades. Eventually I just gave up. I can’t move beyond a ‘say what you mean’ mentality, which seems to be inimical to enjoying poetry.
And sorry to hear the electricity problem is only getting worse 😦