Celestial sympathy through poetry

THE year 2009 was the genesis of poet Sympathy Sibanda–Mazuruse. She published her debut collection of poems titled “Matters of Life” (Veriest Solutions International).  Seven years later, she has published a double anthology of Christian poetry titled “On His Bossom versus Celestial Sympathy” (2016, Balukwe Content).

Her latest offering is a powerful collection encouraging hope for a better tomorrow and inspiring faith in the promise of celestial sympathy made at Calvary through Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.

In all her work, Sibanda —Mazuruse shows why the world is in need of God’s mercy. Poems about hunger, war, HIV and AIDS, death and environmental degradation are found in the anthology but the poet believes this world is transient because in the end, celestial sympathy will reign.

She has a poem condemning the constant destruction of nature in the world that has been “filled with filth and more filth and actions of aggrandisement” by the people.

Our Religion Writer Desire Ncube (DN) recently caught up with Sibanda–Mazuruse (SM) and discussed the poetry collection. Read on:

DN: When did you realise your passion and talent in writing, especially Christian poetry?
SM: Writing is in my blood. I was raised in a Christian home and our form of entertainment was reading. I would look at various authors’ images and say I would be one of them one day.

My father always encouraged us to read and write and this became a habit. l then realised my talent. Writing Christian poetry is so natural to me. When I started writing at an early age, what came to my mind was Christian literature.

DN: What drives you to keep writing?
SM: For me, writing is like breath, a form of catharsis. It’s what I use to express myself. I was a reserved child yet l would write dynamite things that would change situations. I felt relieved after writing hence it became part of me.

DN: How do you balance writing and work?
SM: There is no need for balance. I am a communications personnel and writing is what I do at work most of the time. Inspiration for my poetry comes from everything around me. As soon as a thought strikes, I quickly record myself between 3am and 5am — my hours of inspiration.

DN: Where do you get your inspiration and who is your role model?
SM: Life is my greatest inspiration. Its dynamism and unpredictability makes it more exciting. My greatest role models are my dad, a very calm and collected man who loves God and forgives easily and my husband Takemore Mazuruse who encourages me to take my talent as a business than just any other talent.

DN: How best can you describe a well written poem?
SM: It’s one that evokes emotions from the reader. The reader should be able to put themselves in the situation that is being presented.  Some may even cry or laugh to show their emotions after reading a well-crafted poem.

DN: How much time do you spend when writing a single poem?
SM: This question is like asking how long one spends in labour (laughs)… Each poem is different from the other, sometimes I spend just a minute but with some I can get to a month on one poem, panel beating it to say exactly what I want.

Mind you poems are stubborn, they have a mind of their own. One of my favourite poets says, “Erasing one word from a poem gives it new meaning”.

DN: What do you seek to achieve in your poems?
SM: I seek to propagate peace and hope. My poems point to God as the author of our faith. We may cry about so many sorrows but there is comfort in trusting in God.

DN: How are people responding to your work?
SM: I am glad people are seeing the maturity and efforts I put in my poems. My first publication was in 2009 when I was still a single woman in college.
Experience that comes with marriage, being employed and running a business is all exuded in this two in one publication.

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