Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eve Nyemba's Look Within/Aus voller Seele

Title: Look Within/Aus voller Seele
Author: Eve Nyemba
Publisher : kalliope paperbacks
Date: 2008
Isbn 978-3-9810798-6-9
Orders: www.kalliope-paperbacks.de

These poems in English and German ring with an unmistakable vitality of youth, searing passions and sweet-sad meditations. Of all known women’s poetry of Zimbabwe, Eve Nyemba comes closest to Kristina Rungano especially ‘A Storm Is Brewing’.

These poems are about love; as a woman searches for it or as she gets to know the colour of its brutal insides. These poems are about passionate and difficult men too. These poems are an attempt by the individual to look deeply into herself and take stock of how her mind works or not work. When you are there, you are in Kristina Rungano territory. There is that ability here, to pause and think about the small bricks that make up the huge fabric.

In ‘When Silence speaks’ you find a tattered woman who has had the worst of the ‘man’s world’. Abused, is the word. Deep pain, is her situation. She suffers in silence, and that disturbs. Eve Nyemba uses a dark shade to give the woman a Christ like figure because as she suffers in silence, there are depths in her that the external blows cannot reach. She comes across like many of Yvone Vera’s victim women, especially the sisters in the novel ‘The Stone Virgins’. Their mere presence, in spite of what they have gone through, leaves a discerning reader in awe.

But women need not be victims especially if they learn to ‘look within and find faith’. The poet invites the woman not to go beyond herself ‘out in the pounding rain’ for salvation. But the African woman is beautiful too with her hair ‘the colur of the dusty earth’ and should leave alone the body modifications like plastic surgery from the west.

But Nyemba can snoop well into the world of menfolk and see the other reality of men in the Third world. It is a ‘man’s world’ but how many men own that world? Sometimes, as in ‘Manchild’ men are also victims of various social forces that even they can lose control and cut very lonely, little and saddened images:

His shoulders are hunched
His steps falter
The load on his head
Drains him for reason

This is a man who becomes a father when he does not have the means. He is a castrated fellow, a fatherless father!

Sometimes it is the women who give one another a very raw deal. In ‘You think,’ a woman boasts of how she can take over another woman’s man. In Zimbabwe this husband stealer is known as ‘small house’. So the husband stealer boasts about how the poor man will always run away from the mansion to have a nice time with the small house in the ‘single quarters’.

But if one is looking for the Eve Nyemba philosophy, ‘The secret places’ is the poem:

The secret places of my heart
Exist in the corridors of love.
The secret places of my love
Lives in you.

Indeed, you and me. The secret that the world fails to uncover is Love. Of course, different forms of Love. We need to love and love properly is an idea that runs through these poems. But sometimes in these poems, Love is a tempest, ‘a ravaging vortex of a dust devil’ and when it fails to be consummated as in Consumed, the desire for the other becomes very overwhelming.

This is a collection for those who look for poetry that talks from the soul. Those who look for the secrets that only poets tend to see in every community.
Reviwer: Memory Chirere, University of Zimbabwe, Harare

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