Motswana poet Tjawangwa Dema’s (TJ Dema) new project inspires us to reflect on our human connection to the environment. Dema’s new book, a collection of ecopoetry, is titled an/other pastoral and will be published on Earth Day, April 22nd. The poetry collection will be published by No Bindings, a small, independent, multifaceted press that publishes books, creates podcasts and delivers workshops.
an/other pastoral asks what nature poetry looks like when it reflects the lives of people of color. In this collection that expands into other media and archival projects, Dema is exploring the intersection among race, the future, and the ecological crisis. She combines history and race with the ongoing climate crisis to create riveting and deeply moving poetry that brings an African ecopoetics perspective to our changing world.
The book also contains illustrations by Tebogo Cranwell, a Motswana artist whose work explores “beauty, femininity, sensuality and intimacy,” as well as a foreword by acclaimed Nigerian-American novelist and poet Chris Abani. The anthology has already received wide praise and celebration from a variety of notable authors and critics. Ugandan author Nick Makoha offered sincere applause for the book:
an/other pastoral is a tapestry of heartfelt musings that move across histories and cultures, questioning their impact and purpose. Dema decodes the world around us – here we are, between what the borders mean by country, and what the nightingale and eel mean by wind, by water. This book is full of revelations.
This an exciting collection. It invites us to think deeply about the boundaries and connections we have to natural world around us.
Congrats to Dema on the new book! Pre-Order an/other pastoral: No Bindings