Tanaka Makoni is a singer/songwriter and poet from Zimbabwe, and has recently published her first poetry book entitled Metamorphosis. The artists that Tanaka cites as her inspirations are enough to make anyone want to pick it up: George The Poet, Kate Tempest, Janelle Monáe and Erykah Badu - sounds like a bit of us!
Tanaka's music is a blend of soulful vocals and thought provoking poetry, and extending her lyrical prowess into written word has enabled her to explore different themes. The book comprises of 24 poems; metaphorical observations of human interaction, intimacy and heartbreak. Tanaka draws upon her own life experiences, focussing on the connection human interaction has to nature, and the symbolism behind our every day actions.
"We are insects filled with curiosity
gazing at the giants that protect us lovingly
inhaling their foul breath filled with
Processed coffee and plastic nicotine,
An infestation of insects surrounds the face
clogging our pores, causing an outbreak of rage"
an excerpt from 'Insect'
Poems like 'Bumblebee' are breathtakingly vivid, and take you into a world from an animal's perspective, bringing to light the sometimes disturbing similarities between theirs and ours. Others such as 'Conversion' have deeper layers of metaphor - Tanaka manages to embody the transcendence of emotion and certain physical states in her writing, and does so in a way that engages all the senses.
It is refreshing to read such abstract and elaborate poetry that is also accessible and relatable - Tanaka's mastery in combining natural and human themes shows her undeniable creativity and way with words.
You can purchase Tanaka's book here in paperback and for Kindle. She will also be playing at the Notting Hill Arts Club on the 28th of April.