cheswayo mphanza

2021 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
2021 Foreword Indies Finalist
Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry


“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!

“Cheswayo Mphanza’s ability to make sense of disparate subjects can only be compared to a musician working through chord changes, and he’s a skilled soloist. Whether guiding us through frames of film, sharpening the focus on paintings framed on display, illuminating the framing of political pain, or framing the beauty of silence, there’s music throughout.”—A. Van Jordan, author of The Cineaste

The Rinehart Frames

“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

“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

Reviews for The Rinehart Frames

“This debut marks the arrival of a brilliant and intrepid voice.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“His poetic meditation and documentation encompasses the experience of Black and Brown bodies and recreates narratives of their identities within their own intellectual and cultural histories.” – Beatrice Szymkowiak, Green Linden Press

“Mphanza’s poetry is for sure African; it is also international, speaking to all continents and peoples. Good poetry transcends geographical borders.”
L. Ali Khan, New York Journal of Books

“The Rinehart Frames is at once literary criticism, cultural commentary, art criticism, [and] a scholarly text.” – Ernest Ogunyemi, Open Country Mag

“No Malarky, I can’t wait to get back into it.” —David Morgan O’Connor, Rhino Poetry

“Mphanza has assembled an archive from a dizzying array of sources, remixing input to create an astute study in intertextuality that is immediately personal and deeply engaged with art and African, American, and world history.”—Diego Báez, Booklist