Documentary Poem for Zimbabwean Poet/Literary Philanthropist Passes Away – Poetry News Roundup April 5th

Today we look at articles on the Zimbabwean poet who has been commissioned to write a poem for a documentary, and the literary philanthropist who has passed away at the age of 103.

Zimbabwean Poet Commissioned for Poetry for National Lottery Funded Documentary

Munnya Usuwana, the UK based spoken word Zimbabwean artist has been commissioned by the National Lottery to write a poem for “Digging Deep” an upcoming documentary about coal miners. The documentary is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), one of the United Kingdom’s biggest lottery funders.

Usuwana’s poem will be used as the score for the documentary, it will navigate and shed light on the plight and journeys of the African-Caribbean miners and the many hardships that they endured during the 1960’s and 1970’s/

This is part of a 2-year project which is scheduled to run until April 2019. The documentary will be produced by Norma Gregory, the celebrated historian and author. The main focus is on the experiences that were shared by those coal miners who were of African-Caribbean heritage. It is being run in collaboration with the National Coal Mining Museum for England (NCMMfE) which is located in Yorkshire, Communities Inc. Nottingham and will be led by volunteers from all over the UK.

Usuwana says that he used the detailed and at times heart-breaking tales of around 40 miners as inspiration for the poem, and that the whole experience was very insightful and completely opened his eyes to what the African

The project received just over ninety thousand pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the production of the documentary.

Usuwana discovered a love for poetry during his early teens, with a number of performances at church conferences and small partied. His debut poem “Andrew” was released as a video in 2014. Since then he has produced a number of singles. He has also been involved with a number of big screen productions and has performed at several events across the UK.

Literature Philanthropist Dies at 103

Drue Heinz, widow of the late Henry John Heinz II, of the H. J Heinz food company, has passed away at the age of 103 at her home in Lasswade Scotland.

Ms Heinz was well known in the literary world where she used her considerable wealth to fund literary prizes and support the Paris Review she also started a publishing house that dealt predominately with poetry.

Ecco Press, which is now an imprint of HarperCollins was founded in the early 1970’s, and in the beginning the mostly dealt with reprinting books that were out of print, it was all that they could afford at the time.

However, this was just the first step that Ms Heinz made into the literary world, she went on to acquire the previous home of William Drummond; Hawthornden. Standing on a promontory which overlooks the River North Esk, she turned Hawthornden into a sanctuary for creative writers.

In 1993, when she was almost 80, she became a publisher at the Paris review taking on a number of tasks, in 1995 she interviewed Ted Hughes for one of the issues.

Drue Heinz is survived by 2 daughters, 5 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and 3 step grand-children.

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