Jenna Mervis


Country: South Africa


www.designwriting.withtank.com

Biography:

Jenna Mervis is a poet, short story writer, freelance writer and designer. Her work has been published in various anthologies, including New Contrast, English Academy Review, New Coin, Botsotso, Itch online, Carapace, POWA's 2008 anthology and New Writing from Africa 2009. Born and schooled in Durban, Jenna moved to Grahamstown to study Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University (and life at the local watering holes). She then headed to London to test out her newly acquired skills. She polished cutlery at a fancy restaurant, gagged on Guinness in Dublin, fell asleep on a night bus (several times), surfed in Newquay (failed dismally) and worked for the London Science Museum, where she navigated outer space, shrunken heads and ancient mariners to get to her desk each morning. After almost 2 years of travelling, writing and working, Jenna was finally lured back south by a postcard of Camps Bay ñ after all, who can say no to white sand, turquoise water and a fold of fynbos mountains? Back home, Jenna obtained her MA Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. She currently lives and works in Hout Bay with two dogs and one human. She's done with big city life. The mountains help her breathe and think. Her debut collection of poetry, entitled Woman Unfolding, will be on the shelves early next year.

Related Podcasts & Events:

Letter To My Country

I was born
in the caul of your veld,
encased in your accent.
Do you remember me,
my African mother?

I want you to remember me.

I never fought for you.
I was foetal-waiting
as you struggled up ñ
my childhood
your bloody birth
my adolescence
your childhood,
unsteady and milk toothed.
(When you built sandcastles
I kissed and smoked
behind your walls)

I need you to remember me.

I cannot sleep
in this cold country.
I have been gone too long.
Feet leave no prints here.
Where are my soles
impressed in your soil?
Trace them
photograph them
send them to me.

Remember me.

Ma Africa
I hate you
for your infinite embrace
your umbilical pull!
Because of you
I am migratory,
your geography
tattooed to my skin
in sun spots,
these tan lines
washed up on my breasts.
Ma Africa
where are swallows
when they are home?

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