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Lecturer publishes first poetry anthology

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Chancellor College (Chanco) Associate Professor Winfred Mkochi has published his first poetry anthology, Another Train Derails.

The book is set for launch at Chanco in Zomba, where the author will recite some of the poems that have made it into the anthology.

“I have been writing short stories and poems, which have been published in newspapers, but I am happy that, now, I have managed to publish a book. This just entails the journey I have walked and I am looking forward to the launch on Friday [tomorrow],” said Mkochi, who is from the Department of African Languages and Linguistics.

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Apart from Mkochi, others that are billed to recite poems are English Department students, who will have to show that they can ably read excerpts from the book Lomathinda.

That is not all. Timwa Lipenga-Garnett’s poems will be on offer, punctuated by recitals from Asante Lucy Mtenje and Benedicto Wokoma-atani Malunga.

Mkochi said Another Train Derails depicts life in the country during the multiparty democracy era – that is, 1993 to the present day.

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“The country has made some strides, in terms of respect for human rights, the rule of law and women empowerment,” he said.

He, however, said things were not always going smoothly, citing ethnic and political divisions.

The poet, who is also Director of Chanco’s Centre for Language Studies, said democracy was on a thorny path.

Mkochi said he believed that the duty of any artist was not merely to create works.

“A poet, for example, translates common knowledge and manipulates words into artistic products. It is up to others to critique a piece of art and find or not find pleasure in it,” he said.

Meanwhile, veteran poet Alfred Msadala has hailed Mkochi for the poetry anthology.

“If poetry is about exploring issues and ideas, then this is it. And if it requires patience, love and respect for the depth to be explored– since poetry is a living word– then this is exactly what Winfred Mkochi has been observing during the journey of writing and compiling this collection,” Msadala says in the book’s foreword.

Some of the poems people will sample in the 83-page book include ‘Dying for Our Land’, ‘National Tragedy’, ‘Dictators’, ‘Stranger’ and ‘The Foolish Tenant’.

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