Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Mbizo Chirasa

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

MBIZOBOOK

Mbizo Chirasha

is the Poet in Residence at the Fictional Café (International publishing and literary digital space). 2019 Sotambe Festival Live Literature Hub and Poetry Café Curator. 2019 African Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival( ihraf.org) , Essays Contributor to Monk Art and Soul Magazine in United Kingdom .Arts Features Writer at the International Cultural Weekly .His Profiles , Interview and Poems are featured on poesis.si ,in Slovenia. Founder and Chief Editor of WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS. Founder and Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal. Co-Editor of Street Voices Poetry triluangal collection( English , African Languages and Germany) intiated by Andreas Weiland in Germany. Poetry Contributor to AtunisPoetry.com in Belgium. African Contributor to DemerPress International Poetry Book Series in Netherlands. African Contributor to the World Poetry Almanac Poetry Series in Mongolia. His latest 2019 collection of experimental poetry A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT was released by Mwanaka Media and Publishing and is both in print, on Amazon.com and at is featured at African Books Collective. Mbizo Chirasha is the Originator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Founder and Creative Director of Girl Child Talent Festival and GirlChildCreativity Project. 2003 Young Literary Arts Delegate to the Goteborg International Book Fair Sweden (SIDA AFRICAN PAVILION) .2009 Poet in Residence of the International Conference of African Culture and Development (ICACD) in Ghana. Global Peace Chain Ambassador. 2009 Fellow to the inaugural UNESCO- Africa Photo- Novel Publishers and Writers Training in Tanzania. 2015 Artist in Residence of the Shunguna Mutitima International Film and Arts Festival in Livingstone, Zambia. A globally certified literary arts influencer, Writer in Residence and Recipient of the EU-Horn of Africa Defend Defenders Protection Fund Grant, Recipient of the Pen Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant. He is an Arts for Peace and Human Rights Catalyst, the Literary Arts Projects Curator, Poet, Writer, publicist is published in more 200 spaces in print and online.

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

My life has been accompanied by sound, rhythm and words . The sound of bleating goats, night hooting owls, distant tinkling drums , ancestral praise poetry at traditional ceremonies , church hymns and village songs. I was born between stitches, gun shot claps and howling winter winds during the guerrilla war of liberation in Zimbabwe . My birth was an exclamation mark of a freedom nation in making , my birthcry was   a signal to the birth of country coming out of a bloody epoch , the second chimurenga . Iam a child of war and a grandchild of psalms. I read novels ,prominent ones at 7 African Literature in Karanga , English , European and American Literature . My father was a great storyteller , his father was a healer , his grandfather who is my great great grand father VaRatsauka was a griot and a Chiefs Adviser . Storytelling , Poetry and griotism is my DNA.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

Poetry is my DNA .It is creative spiritual , it evolves around ancestors and their descendants . It is talent and it is God given . Of course I am an ardent reader . I read great African Poets including Soyinka , Marechera , Senghor , Neto , Chipasula and Mpanje . I also read Metaphysical Poets , Renaissance poets , Jacobian , Victorian and more epochical genres . Of course I am a Performer , my country is rich in spoken word, griotism, perfomance and dub poetry . I am in the second generation of Dubpoets in my country   and in Africa and in the global community . We are inspired everyday from birth and it is by our choice to grow and cultivate the gifts God gave us .

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I am aware and we need to compliment the good they do, the road they have travelled and correct the mistakes of the past by walking a straight ,perfect and good road as well as not to sell out the literary revolution to political epochs who scatters or gobbles the artistic consciousness from us , we need to be steadfast , faithful and dedicated to literary revolution duty.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I say to writers and poets , do not idle go your writing studio.  I read anything everyday , I ferment what ever for days . I read 10 novels per every 3 months, I read poetry everyday , assess manuscripts everyday, write something once in one week, short fiction,  poem , an essay or other . I edit and revisit my old works everyday . I do social media influencing of my work and for others . I write a blog article everyday . I read and learn from other writers   big or small .I salute what other writers are doing .

5. What motivates you to write?

Life, people,  nature, politics, societal strive, words,  paradox and contradictions as well as gatherings , sometimes human behaviour gives more flesh to write about . Actually . I am motivated by everyone and almost anything .

6. What is your work ethic?

Avoid frustration and rejection to control your delivery, presentation and writing life, be steadfast, be initiative, be resilient, find your writing style and voice , work hard, do it for no one will do it for you, keep away social partners from the working studio, writing is a full life and full kingdom . Understand global writing trends, global cultural diplomacy and relations. Be above your game, be true, seek wisdom and flexible but careful.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence your work today?

They offered me the combative mind of finding my self, understanding the world view. Acquiring knowledge on cultures ,genres , history and epochs . Yes today I sift in what I read and I cultivate that into a new style that is growing me, my audience and
my thoughts . Its good to read others and to be read .

8. Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Yes I like Chimamanda , Ben Okri , Tsitsi Dangarembwa and many other classics. I can’t forget stories by Chris Abani , Zacks Mda and many other great writers of our time . Zack’s Mda writes societal realities in a very shrewd and unique comical way. His story “Ways of a Dying” is a worthy read. Chimamanda is a highly sort after storyteller, telling the African story with the African character in a diasporian setting, unique. Dangarembwa relays a narrative on the plight of the African women and girls, Nervous Conditions is a classic. Ben Okiri’s Famished Road is a blockbuster and is the African Harry Potter.

The list is long.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

We write to heal , to teach , to learn , we heal scars of nationalism, wounds of our people and troubles of our societies through the metaphors we write , we tell and inform society of good and bad, our writings can bring war or peace but in this matter we write
justice and peace as opposed to political tyranny , bad governance and violence . We write to change the vagaries of the past , to transform the madness of today and bring a sparkling clean future for the young generation .

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Writing to me is a revolution , I was revolutionized consciously to understand my artistic poetry and writing gift .Its a great gift to know your talent but its both a gift and a blessing to know or to be aware of your gift and use it handsomely . We meet trials and tribulations in the journey ,otherwise parents , marital partners ,friends and community do not approve or might want to scatter our dreams and choices but resilience is the key.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

In 2020 I will running four literary arts publishing platforms , two
international writers exchange programs , publishing three poetry
collections by Brave Voices adapted from the miombo publishing and
brave voices poetry journal and of course my own Collection of
another experimental offing . I can’t reveal everything.

INTERNATIONAL AND DIGITAL REFERENCES PROFILE
MBIZO CHIRASHA is (ihraf.org) 2019 International Fellow of the
International Human Rights Arts Festival New York. Author of A Letter
to the President,
http://www.africanbookscollective.com/books/a-letter-to-the-president
( a collection of experimental poetry)in Zimbabwe . Essays contributor
for the MONK art and soul Magazinehttp://monk.gallery/category/essays/
in United Kingdom. Features Writer at Cultural Weekly( an
International online journal ,
https://www.culturalweekly.com/poetivism-new-art-resistance-zimbabwe/.Co-Editor
of the STREET VOICE a German Africa Poetry collection,
http://www.street-voice.de/SV7/SVissue7.html in Germany, Co-Editor of
Silent Voices, https://www.obooko.com/free-poetry-collections/silent-voices-adedoyin
( a tribute to Chinua Achebe) Contributor Atunis Galatika, African
Contributor to Atunis Poetry Anthologies in Belgium published and
edited by Agron Shele
,https://atunispoetry.com/2019/07/28/mbizo-chirasha-zimbabwe-2/.African
Contributor to Demer Press International Poetry Collection Series
(Table of Words , The Bridge , Flowers of the Present and Flowers
from Seven Seas) Edited by Hannie Rouweler Netherlands,
http://www.hannierouweler.eu/category/demer-press/. Author at ACE
WORLD , an online Magazine in Nigeria,
https://www.aceworld.com.ng/2019/08/poetry-two-poems-by-mbizo-chiraza.html
. Chief Editor of WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS,
https://womawordsliterarypress.home.blog/2019/08/07/liberatedpen-liberated-voices-journal/.
Curator of the BRAVE VOICES POETRY
JOURNAL,https://miombopublishing.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/africa-is-a-poetry-republic-brave-voices-poetry-journal-65/
.Contributor to Diogen Plus Magazine in Turkey,
http://diogenplus.weebly.com/mbizo-chirasha.html. Resident Curator of
100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe , 100tpc.org/Zimbabwe and the
Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. Founder of
GirlChildCreativity Project (Amplifying girl child voices through
literary activism). Featured in the POIESISI Slovenia International
literature Press, https://www.poiesis.si/, Slovenia. International
poetry site, Better than Starbucks in Untied States
-https://anthonywatkins.wixsite.com/btsdec2017. The GAPA Blog in
United States, pa.org/2017/11/21/gapa-meets-poem-mbizo-chirasha/.The
Nation Press in Kenya
,https://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/artculture/BY-THE-BOOK-Mbizo-Chirasha-/1954194-4295122-h3nhojz/index.html.
Black StarNews in United States of America ,
http://www.blackstarnews.com/education/education/the-international-human-rights-art-festival-highlights-poet.
The global artist portal ,
http://www.spla.pro/ficha.persona.mbizo-chirasha.34232.html. The
Herald in Zimbabwe,
https://www.herald.co.zw/chirasha-poet-par-excellence/. Badilisha
Poetry exchange , http://badilishapoetry.com/mbizo-chirasha/.
The Standard News Paper in Zimbabwe, \

Folktales inspire my works — Chirasha


. The Zimbabwean Pressin Zimbabwe,
https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2011/04/harares-poet-of-hope/.African
Contributor of the International Gallerie 2019 in India,
https://www.gallerie.net/about-us/., Contributor of the World Poetry
Almanac series,
https://openlibrary.org/authors/OL816823A/WORLD_POETRY_ALMANAC .
2018Recipient of Global Literary Influencer Certificate of Merit by
Directorio Mundial de Escritores through Academia Mundial de
Literatura, Historia, Arte y Cultura
http://directoriomundial.allimo.org/Mbizo-Chirasha/. 2017 Recipient of PEN
Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant.2017 Recipient of the EU-Horn of
Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund.
Social Media Literary Activism Curator-

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