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CSM Lukhanyo Publishers

Thirty five poems, by Myesha Jenkins

Thirty five poems, by Myesha Jenkins

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This posthumous collection, Thirty Five Poems, is the third of Jenkins’ books. It was a work-in-progress and, at the time of her death, she had chosen the cover. Re visions, editing and compilation of the manuscript, partially based on two readers’ reviews, were done by the poet Makhosazana Xaba. Of the 35 poems, eight were previously published in Atlanta Review, Botsotso, New Coin, Scrutiny 2 – Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa, Timbila: A Journal of Onion Skin Poetry among others, and, in To Breathe into Another Voice: A South African Anthology of Jazz Poetry, compiled and edited by Jenkins (2017). Main themes in this collection include memories of childhood, observations of the neighbourhood and of course, jazz. Writing on Nelson Mandela’s death in her poem “At sea”, Jenkins ends it thus: Turning the boats around/We start to row. On 05 September 2020, we too, turned around, began to row.


Myesha Jenkins was a poet and spoken word performer known for her feminist outlook and a writing style that is open, descriptive, revealing and sometimes challenging. She has published two poetry collections: Breaking the Surface (Timbila, 2005) and Dreams of Flight (Geko, 2011.) She has also beenanthologisedinWeAre(Penguin,2010)andIsisX(Botsotso,2006). Asa founding member of the Feela Sistah! Spoken Word Collective, Myesha has curated projects and created platforms to highlight the work of black women poets. She co-hosted Jozi House of Poetry, a non-competitive, woman-friendly, monthly poetry session held in various venues across Johannesburg over several years. She also co-hosted the Out There Sessions: Poetry and Jazz in Orbit at the popular jazz venue in Braamfontein, The Orbit. For five years (2011 – 2016) she produced Poetry in the Air on SAfm showcasingpoetsincelebrationofSouthAfricanWomen’sMonth. Myesha has lived and worked in Johannesburg since1993 when she relocated from California. She died on 5th September 2020.

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