By Style Reporter
Gourd of Consciousness Poetry is a gathering of emerging and established poets from across the country interfacing through online WhatsApp platforms to discuss many issues around poetry that include philosophical, legal and monetary aspects of poetry.
The literary art initiative launched the Gourd of Consciousness national fortnight poetry competition on February 1. The competition is in its fourth edition.
Coordinated by Khumbulani Bandula Muleya and supported by poet Obey Chiyangwa, the competition recognises outstanding local poets writing in English and is designed to assist poets to jog their creative writing skills and also enhance the appreciation and popularity of books written by local writers.
Participation in the competition is mainly for poets resident in Zimbabwe. Though the first edition was not themed, all the other editions are themed and poets respond to the themes around selected topics.
In a bid to encourage consumption of literature by local writers the four winning poets from each edition are awarded two book prizes written by local writers and also get invited for interviews, performances on Heart and Soul radio and get their poems published as well as access to full Gourd of Consciousness Poetry membership.
The competition organisers have partnered with a number of media platforms, including The Standard where they have created space for the Gourd of Consciousness Poetry.
Participants in the competition are asked to write original poems of a maximum of 45 lines, one English poem per entrant per fortnight and are awarded for being able to use diction, imagery and symbolism to express thoughts, feelings, memories and experiences around a given theme. Though entries must be primarily in English, inclusion of a few non-English words or phrases is permissible.
First edition winners: Rachel Chitondwe from Mutare, Pellargia Majuru from Bindura and Kudakwashe Simbi from Harare.
Second edition winners: (These were writing poetry on Covid-19: Thoughts and life experiences during a pandemic): Octagon from Masvingo, Chenjerai Mhondera from Harare, Tinashe Muchuri from Harare and Patrick Hwande from Gokwe, Nembudziya.
Third edition winners: (These were responding to climate change and hope amidst environmental ruin): Lloyd Machacha from Harare, Farai Mlambo from Chipinge, Godknows Pomerai from Mutare and Andy Kahari from Chegutu.
The theme for the forthcoming edition is Growing up experiences: The loss of innocence and transition into adulthood.
The Gourd of Consciousness National Poetry Competition is adjudicated by renowned poets and poetry lovers, namely Shumi Nhanhanga, Collins Munyanda, Joyce Tsitsi Mutiti, Sebastian Sibanda and Stephen Mupoto.