Poet and performer, Jenni Nixon, lives in Sydney. She is a graduate of the Independent Theatre and worked as an actor for many years, touring with the Queensland Theatre Company. ‘Zimbabwe thunder’ is included in her recent performance poetry chapbook, Agenda (Picaro Press, 2009).
boy billionaires in Zimbabwe
can’t buy an egg
twenty-five billion Zim dollars
won’t buy a newspaper
King Despot is in his counting palace
counting all the bodies
ninety percent unemployment
amnesty to his henchmen
activism in a time of cholera
protest brings arrest
generals give the orders
BOOM BOOM go the guns
unpaid teachers cannot feed
or clothe themselves schools close
distant thunder river undercurrents
flow around rocks over mud flats
locked away in stinking cells
dispossessed in land invasions
white farmers killed by looting
land lies fallow
stagnant sewage and water
smoke rises on burning corpses
enter another medieval age
King Despot Mugabe’s birthday bash luxury
long silent queues register to vote
hope in Zimbabwe
change will come
deafening roar over the Falls
Mosi-oa-Tunya – ‘smoke that thunders’
is the people’s voice
Published in Agenda (Picaro Press, 2009).
Read more about Jenni.
Sadly, I’ve just heard English poet, playwright and children’s writer, Adrian Mitchell, has passed away.
“I want to speak, to sing to total strangers. It’s my way of talking to the world or a small part of it. So I use the language I use to my friends. They wouldn’t believe me if I used some high flown literary language. I want them to believe me.”
– Adrian Mitchell (in an interview with Nick Watson originally published in The Argotist magazine in February 1996.)
News about Adrian Mitchell on Bloodaxe’s website here.
Watch Adrian Mitchell reading “Telephone”, “Especially When It Snows” and “Death is Smaller Than I Thought” here.
Ted Hughes on Adrian Mitchell:
“Adrian Mitchell is no more naive than Stevie Smith, but like her he has the innocence of his own experience … real inner freedom and the courage of his own music. Among all the voices of the Court, a voice as welcome as Lear’s fool … Humour that can stick deep and stay funny.”
John Berger on Adrian Mitchell:
“Nobody else writes like him. And it is becoming more and more evident that his achievement endures … Nobody has ever departed with such language for such a destination … Mitchell is a joker, a lyrics writer, a word-spinner, an epigrammist, a man of passion and imagination … Against the present British state he opposes a kind of revolutionary populism, bawdiness, wit and the tenderness sometimes to be found between animals.”
Angela Carter on Adrian Mitchell:
“Joyous, acrid and demotic tumbling lyricist Pied Piper determinedly singing us away from catastrophe.”
Read more about Adrian Mitchell here.
Listen to Adrian Mitchell’s audio recordings at The Poetry Archive.
An interview with Adrian Mitchell at The Poetry Archive.
Adrian Mitchell reads his famous poem protesting the Vietnam war,”To Whom It May Concern”, here.