State of the Nation

Contemporary Zimbabwean Poetry

David Nettleingham & Tinashe Mushakavanhu



State of the Nation glimpses across generations to bring together 30 Zimbabwean poets in the first dedicated anthology for over two decades. In Zimbabwe, the art of conversation had become steadily harder, paralysed by political wrangling. Unasked questions, unstated views, unattainable dreams and unfulfilled promises have all been part of the formulae of a failed government. But through this decline the driving need for self-expression has remained, and found an opening on the page. The poets in this anthology burst out with a certainty and an urgency which scream – it must be told, it must be told!


This is a poetry in transition, formed largely out of opposition to the status quo — whether that be colonialism or the present tyranny — always juggling the needs of the individual with that of the nation. It makes for an edgy, sometimes bleak, sometimes sorrowful and sometimes fiercely funny poetry. – Steven Waling , Horizon Review


Dr David Nettleingham is a lecturer in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent. He was publisher at The Conversation Paperpress.

Tinashe Mushakavanhu is a writer and editor from Zimbabwe. He has degrees from English, Welsh and Zimbabwean universities.