Zim poetry off to the moon

Internationally acclaimed poet Ndaba Sibanda

A historic global three-book series collection titled The Polaris Trilogy: Poems for the Moon will be launched in a time capsule aboard a SpaceX rocket due to travel to the moon in November 2024. The anthology includes poems from all seven continents, including Antarctica.

The space launch is made possible by NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, which will transport research instruments to the Moon between 2023 and 2026. It will also feature over 6 700 items, including cultural artifacts from over 30 000 creatives from 157 countries.

Calls for submissions were issued in 2021 and poets were asked to submit unpublished work. One of the contributors is Ndaba Sibanda, an internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean poet.

Sibanda's water-themed poem was selected for inclusion in the anthology published by Brick Street Poetry in their earthly edition. The lunar version of the book will be despatched to the Moon when the NASA flight is eventually launched.

Sibanda writes gracefully across a wide range of topics, tackling vital global challenges such as climate change, conservation, culture, corruption, technology and innovation, food security, and justice, among other connected and pertinent themes.

“I am beyond glad and grateful to be amongst various talented and accomplished artists and contributors from across the globe. I count and consider it as a huge privilege to have been able to submit my work for consideration, and a rare bonus for that submission to have been included in this historic adventure, “Sibanda told IndependentXtra.

Sibanda, a member of the Gourd of Consciousness Poetry movement, has been nominated for several awards, including the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA), the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize, the Best of the Net Prose, and the Pushcart Prize. His book “Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things: Confronting Controversies, Contradictions And Indoctrinations” was considered for the Restless Book Prize for New Immigrant Writing in Nonfiction (2019).

The Polaris collection includes the works of over a hundred authors from throughout the world, written in English and other languages. South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Zimbabwe are the only African countries represented.

The project, curated by Philippine-Canadian physicist and bestselling author Samuel Peralta, is divided into three pieces. The poems in each part are inspired by a collection of three phrases that depict the Earth's history and habitats.

Dr Joe Heithaus edited the first of three Polaris Anthologies, which focuses on work from Africa and Europe with earthly themes of Rock, Air, and Water. The second anthology, edited by Joyce Brinkman, Indiana's inaugural Poet Laureate and the book's lead editor, features material from Asia, North and Central America on the theme of Stars, Sun, and Moon. Jessica Reed, a poet and science writer, edited the third anthology, which focuses on poetry from South America, Australia, and Antarctica with the themes of Ice, Wind, and Fire.

According to the website lunarcodex.com, the Lunar Codex is made up of four-time capsules, notably the Orion Collection, which was launched on board the Orion spacecraft during the NASA Artemis 1 mission in November last year and returned to Earth in December of the same year.

The second is the Nova Collection, which will be launched by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket between October and November 2023. It will be delivered to Malapert A which is a lunar crater located near the moon's southern limb.

The Pegrine Collection is scheduled to launch this year between November and December aboard the United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle.

Finally, The Polaris Collection is set to depart with the SpaceX Falcon Heavy space rocket destined for the Nobile crater near the Moon's southern pole.

The artworks will be transported in association with an Astrobotic Griffin and NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission.

The Lunar Codex comprises artists, musicians, filmmakers, and other creatives. The artworks have each been digitized on memory cards that have a technology that can preserve large amounts of analog information in microscopic size. It contains digital exhibitions, films, novels, magazines, albums, videos, podcasts, and poems.The collection is the first substantial placement of contemporary art on the Moon in over fifty years. It will be permanently kept and archived, and visitors to the Moon will have access to it for millions of years.

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