Poetry to honour Africa’s ancestral women

28 June 2021 - 11:41 By penguin random house sa
'Wild Imperfections' features poems honouring generations of ancestral women.
'Wild Imperfections' features poems honouring generations of ancestral women.
Image: Supplied

Who are the Women of Xolobeni?
Who was Dulcie September?
What are dirty/pretty things?
Or vulva volcanoes?

Whatever its theme, each poem in this collection featuring the work of 40 black women poets from Africa and its diaspora reflects the lives of most, if not all women, womyn and womxn  particularly those born black and poor by design in a post-slavery, post-colonial world.

Wild Imperfections opens with poems honouring different generations of ancestral women, like Sarah Baartman and Rosa Parks,  born at different times yet all of them cultural and political mirrors to black girls and women.

Questioning and disrupting patriarchy, these poems speak about birth and death, fertility and infertility, rape and genital mutilation, war, exile and forced migration, but also revel in joy, desire and the expression of sexuality and the erotic.

But what is a wild imperfection? And can the language of these poets recreate a space for the “wild” and “unruly”, the “loose’ and “dirty”, the “witches” and “bitches” who are perfect in their brokenness and who are no longer seeking permission for their rage, their joy and their healing?

“Puts black women where we know we belong, not at the margins of other people’s art … but at the helm of our own creative practice” Bernardine Evaristo