The news from Zimbabwe is terrifying and rapidly escalating. Two days ago, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off elections. I read this morning that Tsvangirai has now sought refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare and that Britain will lead a campaign to declare that Mugabe is no longer the leader of Zimbabwe. But what else will be done, or not be done, by the rest of the world this time?
I had wanted to write yesterday about how, amidst what is occurring and what we can only hope may and may not yet occur in Zimbabwe, labor groups were still pushing unique cultural aesthetics to address the current situation--how the TUC assembled photos of 2,000 trade unionists (mine, you'll find, as part of one eye) for a massive Chuck Close-esque banner to be used at protests today in London; how, on the way to my poetry workshops at Education MN, I want to inform all teachers about teachers murdered in the days leading up to the Zimbabwe elections; how, here at the Harriet blog, we can maybe listen to at least one poet from Zimbabwe speak, Comrade Fatso's "What's up guys...? (Click on the link in the top left corner to hear him read the poem.)

Originally Published: June 23rd, 2008

Mark Nowak is the author of Revenants (Coffee House Press, 2000), Shut Up Shut Down (Coffee House Press, 2008), and Coal Mountain Elementary (Coffee House Press, 2009). His writings on new labor poetics have recently appeared in The Progressive, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Poets in the 21st Century: The New...

  1. June 23, 2008

    Not to say that this is unworthy of the world's attention – but what the hell does it have to do with poetry?

  2. June 23, 2008

    Uh, Dan, you might want to read all the way to the bottom of the post.....

  3. July 7, 2008

    Hey Dan, it all has to do with poetry, maybe that might pump some sense into comrade Mugabe's head. But the initiative to bring him back to his senses should strongly come from our African leaders... Who said they dont appreciate poetry?

  4. July 7, 2008
     Rita Wong

    thanks for the link to Comrade Fatso's poem and the attention to what's happening in Zimbabwe. international calls for accountability and democratic process continue to matter in the face of all the violence and intimidation that has marked this struggle.