Celebrating African Love Through Poetry

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THE CHRONICLES OF BENEVOLENT AFFECTION: A DECLARATION OF LOVE, TRIBULATIONS AND HOPE

Paul BereMost African writers write about war, famine, hunger and politics so it is refreshing to read love poems written by a Zimbabwean male author.

Paul S. Bere was born in the town of Chiredzi in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe. He started writing as early as primary school, creating a number of small plays performed by students to educate themselves and others to avoid malaria and HIV/AIDS. After this introduction to writing for an audience, he chose poetry because it offered him the chance to be autonomous in his creativity.

We recently interviewed Mr. Bere to get a better understanding of his work.

Q. You used to write about malaria and HIV how did you transition to writing about love?

PB: I used to write awareness pieces which reflected the experiences in the Lowveld in Zimbabwe but when I moved overseas I wanted to write about life in general and love. As I spoke to different people I would write poems and post them to my Facebook page. I would see a beautiful girl then write a few lines and then people would comment on the poems and then I knew I was onto something. This led to my book and some of the writings led me to ‘good problems’ which were too good to be true. Some of my friends have asked me to write poems for the ladies in their lives but I do not do well under these circumstances so I let them use some of the poems so they would buy the book and use some of my work so that they sound like lyrical geniuses.

Q. You could spin the poem into another source of income by writing pieces for hire for clients?

PB: It very well could, when I started posting my pieces to Facebook at lot of people would inbox me, thanking me for expressing what they were going through so it encouraged me to continue to write. People were connecting to my work.

Q. Can you describe your Writing style?

PB: It’s unique, I like short pieces which speak to different facets of live, joy healing and love. I want the reader to connect to the poetry and feel the connection with the emotion in the poems. I do not use rhymes, it is as if we are talking just having a basic conversation. As the reader reads the poem it opens up their heart to answer questions. My style has been greatly influenced by Langston Hughes. He wrote short poems which I liked and could relate to.

Q. Which other authors/poets have inspired you?

PB: In America Langston Hughes of course but also from my own culture A.M.Hamutyinei . There is a poem that I read in high school, I cannot remember the author’s name but the title of the poem is “Kana wamutanga musikana” which speaks in detail of all the stages of courtship and another Zimbabwe style who wrote “Zinyoka mugumbeze”.

Q. Love, tribulation and hope are central themes in your book, can you expound on that?

PB: Life is a cycle, sometimes you are happy, other times you are excited, so when I am happy I write about love. There are times when struggle comes and you are going through tribulation and want to find some uplifting motivation even for tomorrow. Hard times do not last forever so then hope comes in and takes over and then you are happy again and then love takes over then the cycle begins again- love, tribulation and hope. So when I first wrote I didn’t have a title and just classified the poetry into those 3 groups. Life is a series of tests but you have to overcome them and gain hope and celebrate life again.

Q. Are your poems a reflection of your experiences?

PB: My personal experiences or other people’s experiences as I see a situation. I write based on my emotions at the point in time.

Q: Amazon describes you as “very compassionate, very in tune to his feelings. He is a man who is searching for true love. He is overwhelmed with his feelings of this lady, and can only express it through his words

PB: These words describe a man who is searching for true love and then he finds what he wants.

Q: Why do you write and what do you want your readers to take away from your poetry?

PB: I want a guy who reads my poetry to know that it is okay to express your feeling to a young lady that you love. If you are going through struggles it is okay to express these emotions. I attended a poetry night onetime and many ladies came up to me and said that they wished that their husbands could communicate to them what the poems were saying and it was refreshing to have a man express how he felt.

Q: What is your favorite poem?

PB: He will wash away my tears. You have to get a copy if you want to read it.

Q: That poem is about hope what about your favorite love poem?

PB: The book of love

Never thought I could speak

Until I said hello to you that cold winter evening

I didn’t know I had a voice

til you said you heard me calling your name

In the middle of the winter silent night

Never thought I could write

until you told me that you loved to read my love letters

Never had anything to write about

But you gave me the words

You inspired my writing

I can sit here and write about all the sunshine you bring into my life

All the gentle breezes in my heart

Because of you I can write,

I can feel love

I can share love

You brought joy into my life

You resurrected lost talents

That were buried deep down

You discovered the best in me

Above all you gave me your heart

Let’s stay and write together

The pages of our book of love

 

PB: Another one is “The surprise of my life” which is on page 35 and you can read it there.

Q: Are your poems about hope a means of finding strength in challenging times?

PB: You could say that, I wanted to draw strength from my inner being because nobody can empathize with the experiences that I am going through. I want my readers to connect with the writing and I can remember my state of mind at the time of writing.

Q: What do you want the audience to take away when they read your poems? What is your goal when you write?

PB: I write about what I see or experiences I have lived or someone else’s experiences. When I was in college I would write a poem for a young lady and sometimes I would not let her know that I had written a poem for her. When I mustered the courage I would ask her to read the poem and let me know what she thinks about it. Other times I would write about my state of mind as I go through one struggle or another.

Q: Has your concept of love evolved since moving to the United States?

PB: In Zimbabwe courtship is about romance and connecting, In America love is very materialistic and about image and people use their material possessions to get women and they do not work at wooing women. Women want that emotional connection and the romance.

Q: Do you have something in the works-what can readers expect from you?

PB: I am currently working on a new book. It will be different, I write a lot about love and struggles. Life is not always smooth, it may appear that way on Instagram but that is not always the case so I write about that. The new book is going to be different, a lot of people will be surprised. I have been getting a lot of requests.

Q: Do you see yourself writing plays or a novel about love? In the African Literature space there aren’t a lot of writers who write about love?

PB: I can never say never, I never planned to write poetry but here we are today so you never know. I’m sorry ladies but I have to say this, I do not like Nigerian movies and their storylines and I think the opening is there to write what I want to see. I do not know where my imagination can take me. Some of my poems are a results of chats that I have.

Mr. Paul Bere is a part of our Nominate an author series. His book is available on Amazon. If you know an aspiring African author who offers a unique perspective on the African experience tweet us @globalblackhist and we would like to share your work with our readers.

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