Tjawangwa Dema

Tjawangwa Dema is a poet, workshop facilitator, occasional editor, voice over artist and arts administrator. She is alumna of Lancaster University’s Crossing Borders program as well as a recipient of Lancaster University’s scholarship for an MA in Creative Writing and was an Honorary Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. She was Botswana’s London 2012 Poetry Parnassus country representative, in 2013 she was named an Arise Magazine African Changemaker and in 2014 she was granted a Danish International Visiting Artist (DIVA) fellowship as well as named a St Louis Top 40 under 40 catalyst. She is founder of Sauti A&PM, an arts administration organization that stages literary activities, has recorded over 40 Batswana poets (on CD, for online distribution as well as for the pan African poetry archive Badilisha Poetry Xchange), as well as facilitated a gift of hundreds of contemporary poetry books and journals by award winning writers to the Gaborone Public library which led to the opening of the country’s first poetry reading room. Her chapbook Mandible (2014) was published by Slapering Hol Press in association with The African Poetry Book Fund, Prairie Schooner and The Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Monroe Institute Poets in the world series.

A Benediction for Climbing Boys

1. Sometimes the chimney was hot or alight. They sent us up anyway, mostly naked. At night we, sleeping black, dreamt of the bakers on Lothbury, of tight flues and endless winding. The first time Jonny went up, there was …

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White Noise

and where is the point at which penance comes knees bent with your name as absolution on its tongue we can only hope for something that knows, perhaps when we do not: the taste of clemency when the sentence is …

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