The Writer’s Block: A Video Q&A with TJ Dema
TJ Dema is a performance poet, editor, and arts administrator from Botswana. She is a founding member of her country’s spoken word movement and a member of Sonic Slam Chorus. Dema is an honorary fellow at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and a current administrator of a Botswana-based arts organization called Sauti Arts & Performance Management. She has recently published a book of poetry entitled Mandible with the African Poetry Book Fund as part of the Seven New Generation African Poets box set. In 2013 she was named an Arise Magazine African Changemaker. In 2014 she was included in the St. Louis Top 40 Under 40.
Having first come to City of Asylum Pittsburgh in 2012, Dema returned for a second time in September, 2014 to perform at the Jazz Poetry Concert. In this interview, she talks to Sampsonia Way about language fusions; the inherent problems with ascribing themes of death and war to all African writers; and the importance of literary community, conversation, and collaboration.