At surface level it may seem as if poetry in Zimbabwe is dead, until you get enlightened about the various events that have been created for poetry in the country. Spoken word poetry is gaining more appeal than written form of poetry as spoken word can be in audio and can be performed to a live audience.
Festivals such as Intwasa (Bulawayo), HIFA (Harare), Shoko Festival (Harare) promote have done a lot in promoting the art. They have even provided workshops on writing where renowned poets and writers from across the globe have shared their experiences and ideas with upcoming poets. Akala (UK) was in Zimbabwe during the first Shoko Festival and he shared a lot of insights with us. We had artists from Kenya, USA, South Africa and Botswana too, an amazing experience. The arts trusts within the country have really ensured the life of this art.
Online there are also blogs such as scribbled notes that have managed to network African poets together. The founder of this blog Christopher Chakwana started this blog as a hobby but has been able to attain so many useful contacts for the work he put such that this blog is read across the globe and a certain DJ from Zambia recites a poem from the blog weekly. This is how much poetry is alive in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe in this age celebrates great poets like PSP (Answer), Aura The Poet, Black Phar-I , Pardon Gwara, Philani Nyoni (Winner of NAMA Awards), Vokal The Poet, Madzitatiguru, So Profound and I am flowsick just to name a few. These are some of the people that have applied themselves to the art and have gone places.
For example Madzitatiguru won the 2011 Afro ExpressPoetry slam in Johannesburg, has been on BBC Radio and does over 22 performances a year including HIFA. If you Google the rest of t6he poets in that list you will realize that they have really made great strides and made a mark for Zimbabwe. The only reason people may think poetry is dead is because the mainstream has given it little attention.
Television is a business that runs on advertising revenue they do not like trying new things, they would rather stick to tried and tested formulas. Thanks to blogs, Facebook groups and YouTube channels we can now be our own newspaper, radio and television. Blogger is the press; Soundcloud is an example of radio while Vimeo and YouTube would be television.
I urge all poets to start creating content in all these formats. I myself have written, recorded and videos of animated poetry. Another form of poetry that is becoming popular is picture poetry, whereby someone recites what they see in a picture. Poetry has not undergone death it has evolved into many other art forms including music and particularly hip-hop.