You Will Forget


Hove, Chenjerai




Zimbabwean poet, novelist, essayist, and social commentator Chenjerai Hove is known for his stark political criticisms.  As the founder of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association and former president of the Zimbabwe Writers Union, Hove’s criticisms – especially of the Mugabe government – forced him into exile in 2001. The winner of many literary awards, Hove’s works include the novels Bones and Shadows, and the poetry collections The Red Hills of Home and Blind Moon.

“You Will Forget” is a poem that considers the relation between past hardships and a present, comfortable life. What are we required to remember? What makes us forget? How do shared experiences of hardship connect communities or impede their creation?

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Originally published in Hove's 1985 collection, Poems to Live By in Uncertain Times


Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.


Identity and Community

Big Questions

How do we define who we are?


Taking Action

Sample Discussion Questions

  1. Is it necessary to remember your own pain to understand the pain of others?
  2. What is meant by "comfort" in this poem? Is it necessarily a bad thing?
  3. Why does the speaker believe it is important to remember the things described in this poem?
  4. In what ways do shared experiences of hardship connect communities? In what ways do they impede their creation?
  5. What does it mean to be part of a community if we are comfortable while others experience pain or suffer? What can we do? What, if anything, are we obligated to do?
  6. Why is staying in "comfort too long" the greatest obstacle to remembering what the poem describes?
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