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The Rinehart Frames

Cheswayo Mphanza

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 03/2021
Pages: 138
Subject: Poetry
eBook ISBN: 9781496225818


The poems in The Rinehart Frames seek to exhaust the labyrinths of ekphrasis. By juxtaposing the character of Rinehart from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man with the film 24 Frames by Abbas Kiarostami, the poems leap into secondary histories, spaces, and languages that encompass a collective yet varied consciousness of being. Cheswayo Mphanza's collection questions the boundaries of diaspora and narrative through a tethering of voices and forms that infringe on monolithic categorizations of Blackness and what can be intersected with it. The poems continue the conversations of the infinite possibilities of the imagination to dabble in, with, and out of history.  


Cheswayo Mphanza was born in Lusaka, Zambia, and raised in Chicago, Illinois. His work has been featured in the New England Review, the Paris Review, Lolwe, Hampden-Sydney Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Birdfeast, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Hurston/Wright Foundation, Callaloo, Cave Canem, and Columbia University.


"The Rinehart Frames is a brilliant and formally accomplished reworking of the cento in a collection that conjures the elegance of geometric theorems, while simultaneously revealing a capacious knowledge of, and deep engagement with, art, politics, Afrosporic issues, and the difficult condition of being human. A shamanistic archaeologist of the soul and its workings, Mphanza reassembles his collected fragments to offer us insights into our collective wisdoms, eschewing much that separates us. More than ever now, we need work such as this and, with 'a craft wielded and willed,' Mphanza is more than up to this difficult task."—M. NourbeSe Philip, author of Zong!

"The inventiveness and elegance with which The Rinehart Frames weaves the imaginations of visual art, film, and literature in order to observe and absorb the experience of Blackness in the troubled past and unsettling present is nothing short of extraordinary. Cheswayo Mphanza has shaped a language attuned to race, violence, and the artist's relentless search among the ruins for wisdom, truth, and beauty."—Rigoberto González, author of Unpeopled Eden

"The Rinehart Frames is one of the finest poetry debuts to appear in years. Virtuosic in voices and allusions; profound in its exploration of past and contemporary Black experience; expansive, from Zambia to the United States to those invisible spaces below and behind the world's surfaces, in its range and concerns, The Rinehart Frames gathers poetry we badly need now, and will return to, as a touchstone, in the future."—John Keene, author of Counternarratives