Thirty eight poems from 21 local poets addressing issues surrounding the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic have been compiled in an anthology titled Walking The Battlefield.
The collection depicts reflections from varied angles on how the global pandemic has affected humanity while at the same time trying to instil hope.
The Walking Battlefield is a culmination of poetic efforts from some of the well-known names in the local poetry industry such as William Mpina, who is also one of the lead coordinators of the project, Martin Juwa, Benedicto Wokoomaatani Malunga, Robert Chiwamba and Beaton Galafa.
The 88-page compilation also has Jonas Chisi, Tadala Nkanaunena, Chisomo Majawa and Gift Muyayi as some contributors.
The thoughts on the pandemic are reflected in poems such as Down, But Not Defeated from Mpina, You by Nkanaunena, This King by Chisi, Dying Pulse by Juwa, Simulimba Malume by Emmanuel Mtema, Ndi Nthawi Chabe by Chiwamba, among others.
In an interview, Mpina said the anthology is a reaction from Malawian authors who responded to their calls to submit poems on the Covid-19 theme to give people hope during the pandemic.
He said: “Reading poetry is refreshing just like listening to music. Where there is no hope, a word from a friend can help restore hope. Now, as isolated as we are, a book from different authors in two languages [Chichewa and English] can represent a man talking to you.”
Mpina said they have started with the production of soft copies targeting people who are operating from their homes and can access the book online. However, he said they are appealing for funds to publish hard copies.
Malunga said poets are advocates of responsible citizenship and they have harnessed their individual talents to save the nation from a health crisis.
In a separate interview, one of the editors of the anthology, Galafa said the digital anthology presents the best of both worlds; contribution towards art in Malawi plus passing out important information about the global pandemic.
Poet Mtende Wezi Nthara said the anthology is important because it is promoting both the writing culture in Malawi as well as the poets themselves.
The anthology has been published by a Malawian online publishing company Scribble Publications under JC Creations. Editing was done by Chrispine Juwa, Galafa and Mpina.