Showing all 11 results

  • Love Pandemic: Poems

    These poems were largely written during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last poem in the collection was written at the start of the second wave in Africa. Most were circulated through What’s App voice notes, an intimate way of keeping distance while reaching out to touch.

    USD $ 15.00
  • Hand On The Sun

    This was Tariq Mehmood’s first novel, published by Penguin Books in 1983, charting the experience of the second generation migrants to the UK. Set in the declining textile industry of the North of England, it is a raw story of pain and anger at the relentlessness of British racism, from the street to the state – a story of an unquenchable desire for justice, and reclaiming human dignity. A dignity that is wrapped around new questions of Identity, a crossroad between religion, language, history and resistance. It is a little big story, that talks to the extremities of social, political and literary issues today? Can stories of a generation be appropriated? How important is religion in identity? If all you have is a story to tell, who should you tell it? Are the issues of today, just the issues of today or can we learn something from the past? In these stories, friendship is not defined by religion or colour, but by humanity. And racism is much more than skin deep.

    An exhilarating read that bears witness to the urgent 80’s battles against state and popular racism. As important now as then.— Peter Kalu, novelist

    The new edition has an introductory essay by Tariq Mehmood.

  • A Mutiny of Morning: Reclaiming the Black Body from Heart of Darkness

    Nikesha Breeze has taken pages from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, taken his words, and forced them to leave his colonized mind. She has made the words her own in poetic form. She illuminates the invisible Black voices inside, a radical, surgical, and unapologetic Black appropriation, at the same time as a careful birthing and spiritual road map. The resulting poems are sizzling purifications, violent restorations of integrity, pain, wound, bewilderment, rage, and, sometimes, luminous generosity.

    The violent, scathing white supremacy of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is traversed page by page and word by word in this brilliant prayer/poem—a work of reclamation, redemption, rescue, and repossession. — Wende Marshall, co-editor Insurrectionary Uprisings: A Reader in Revolutionary Nonviolence and Decolonization

     

    USD $ 30.00
  • The imperative of Utu / Ubuntu in Africana scholarship

     


    Written in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, this publication celebrates the birth of Black studies as a liberated academic zone. Professor  Mũgo reflects upon the significance of Africana studies, specifically within the context of America’s predominantly White universities, revisiting the hers/his/torical context that birthed Black studies as a field of knowledge. She reflects on the ownership of knowledge, its production, dissemination and custodianship while proposing utu/ubuntu as imperatives in defining transformative education. The hypothesis and heart of the argument is that knowledge and scholarship can either be colonizing, alienating and enslaving; or, alternatively, they can be conscientizing, humanizing and liberating, creating new human beings with the agency to transform life and the world, for the better. The latter constitutes what Professor Mũgo calls utu/ubuntu rooted-scholarship which, she argues, should define Africana studies, research and scholarship, all of which needs to have both a mind and heart. This should be the mission and vision that led to the birth of Black Studies as an academic. She dismisses the false myth of dominating, colonizing and imperialist cultures that claim to have a monopoly of knowledge and whose purpose is to justify the dehumanization of the conquered, the attempted erasure of their knowledges, heritages and ultimately, entire cultures.

    The essay urges us to reflect on a number of critical questions: What is the objective of Africana research and general search for knowledge? In whose service are teaching, research work and publications by Africana scholars? Do their conference papers bring any Africana knowledge systems to the round table of ideas? Is the knowledge they produce liberating and humanizing, or for the advancement of careerist ambitions? What does Black scholarship contribute towards what Paulo Freire called the ‘dialogical education for problem solving’?


    It is hard not to be effusive about the author of this pamphlet. Let’s just say it loud: Mῖcere Gῖthae Mũgo is a legend in her own time. And ours. Ours because, as she would say, paraphrasing universal African wisdom: without us, there is no her. From her native Kenya, a source to which she returns continually for yet more ancient wisdom; to Zimbabwe, where she once found refuge on being forced to flee her native land in the face of political persecution; to the United States of America, to which she eventually emigrated; and beyond, way beyond, Professor Comrade Sister Mugo has been a lodestar and wonder—in the academy and in the community, locally and globally. This pamphlet is a discursive offering to Africana studies, a notebook on a field of study born of struggle, student-led struggle. The organizing principle is Utu-Ubuntu, the universal African moral conception centered on the paramountcy of the soul over material accumulation. It is a stinging rebuke to capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism, heterosexism and all the other antihuman isms, Utu-Ubuntu. Here, indeed, is an Africana studies manifesto, one that should be required reading for all students of the field, in and out of the academy. She never ceases to educate, to enlighten, to energize—this soul sister, this scion of Utu-Ubuntu, this magnificent struggler in the cause of African vindication and human liberation, Mῖcere Gῖthae Mũgo. — Michael O. West, Professor of African American Studies; History; African Studies, Penn State University

    An insightful essay that insists that Africana research and scholarship has “to have both mind and heart” to be truly emancipatory — for that is the essence of the meaning of Ubuntu and of Utu, the Swahili equivalent. That is the basis for challenging the dominant colonizing cultures that seek to dehumanize our people. The inimitable Micere Mugo forces us to think about the purpose of teaching and research: whose interests do they serve? — Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice & President of Supreme Court, Republic of Kenya, 2011-2016

    An excellent celebration of the contribution of Utu/Ubuntu – African Indigenous Knowledge – to Africana scholarship by Professor Micere Mugo, an icon of Africana Studies. This epistemological imperative for the creation of ‘liberated academic zones’ advances the post-modern and critical theory traditions, while firmly establishing Africa’s unique contributions, not only to Africana Scholarship, but also to the Global Academy and to humanity. — Filomina Chioma Steady, D.Phil. (Oxon.) Professor Emerita and Former Chair, Africana Studies, Wellesley College

  • Struggling to be seen: The travails of Palestinian cinema

    The book explores the challenges Palestinian filmmakers confront to develop a cinema that gives expression to the national narrative. It is based on collaborative research involving Film Lab Palestine, Sheffield Palestine Cultural Exchange and Sheffield Hallam University. We explore the political, economic and cultural contexts that impact on Palestinian film production and some of the barriers encountered in profiling and screening Palestinian films, to shed light on the complex terrain that is traversed to sustain and develop a film industry and film culture in historic Palestine and beyond.

    Table of contents

    Image credits
    Introduction
    The struggle to develop a national cinema
    The experience of Filmlab Palestine
    Visualising the Palestinian past
    Roadblocks, borders and hostile environments
    The screening and reception of Palestinian films
    The Palestinian short film
    Conclusion
    Filmography
    Appendix 1: Cinema of the Palestinian Revolution
    Appendix 2: 70 Years of Nakba: Audience response
    Appendix 3: Love and Desire in Palestine: Audience response
    Appendix 4: Selection of leaflets from film screenings
    About the authors

    Praise for Struggling to be seen

    To so nimbly and elegantly traverse Palestinian time and space is itself a defiance of the occupation’s brutally enforced barriers. The authors’ unstintingly political examination of Palestinian cinema has much to offer both those in the know and readers new to this extraordinary body of work. — Kay Dickinson, Professor, Film Studies, Concordia University

    Working extensively through primary sources, conducting research and interviews across generations of Palestinian filmmakers, the authors offer the reader an ambitious and wide-ranging essay which charts the development of a national Palestinian cinema, from an historical and critical perspective. By exploring the constellation of political, social and aesthetic concerns that shape this cinema, this authors challenge us to rethink the stakes behind the contemporary development of a Palestinian cinema industry, its audience reception, in historic Palestine and beyond.— Samia Labidi, cultural programmer & artistic curator

    Illuminating and compelling, Struggling to be Seen lays bare the historical, enduring but also emerging (colonial and neocolonial) obstacles to the development of a film industry and film culture within the West Bank and Gaza. Though familiarly sobering (in its re-confirmation of the scale of injustice facing Palestinians), the book provides up-to-the-moment and an interdisciplinary account that provides rich, fresh terrain that reveals new and exciting progressions within Palestinian film culture. —Michele Aaron, Reader in Film and Television, University of Warwick, author of Death and the Moving Image: Ideology, Iconography and I (Edinburgh Univer- sity Press, 2014) Director, Screening Rights Film Festival.

    Struggling to be Seen is a must read for those who are interested in under- standing the multilayered challenges that face Palestinian cinematography from its production phase to its screening phase. The book is a short read which takes the readers through the different stages which shaped the Palestinian film making enterprise. Struggling to be Seen shows the restrictions that Palestinian filmmakers face from the initial stages to funding and screening. The authors tell a story of a people whose sense of self-reflection is suppressed by the Israeli oppressive machine which con- stantly works at erasing the Palestinian peoplehood, detaching it from its past.— Nahed Habiballah, Assistant Professor and member of the Board of Directors of Policy and Conflict Resolution Studies Center, Arab American University, Ramallah, Palestine

  • Love after Babel and other poems

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Love After Babel wins Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Book Award by the Caribbean Philosophical Association
    Congratulations to Chandramohan S!


    Love after Babel is a collection of poems that deal with themes such as caste, the resistance of Dalit people, Dalit literature, islamophobia and other political themes, with almost one hundred poems divided into three sections (Call Me Ishmail Tonight; Name Me a Word; Love after Babel). The introduction is by Suraj Yengde (award-winning scholar and activist from India, author of the bestseller Caste Matters, inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the Initiative for Institutional Anti-racism and Accountability, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School).

    Chandramohan’s poems are dialogues of the ‘ self’ with the ‘other’. He brings to life a world that subverts myths, literary canons, gender and caste stereotypes by pooling in sparklingly new metaphors with sensitivity and care. He draws his images from contemporary incidents as well as myths and legends of yore, and delves deep into the politicized realm, thus ‘rupturing the hymen of demarcations’ of identity, resistance, repression and love.

    —Babitha Marina Justin, poet, artist and academician

    Chandramohan’s poetry is an extraordinary combination of a strong individual voice, crying out against a deeply felt sense of personal abuse, and a sophisticated understanding of the long history and mythology of such abuse, in India but also in the world at large. Mythological figures like Shambuka and Urmila illluminate, and are illuminated by, modern atrocities.   The poems are by turns shocking, moving, and exhilarating.  —Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty is an American Indologist whose professional career has spanned five decades.

    Chandramohan S has the stark ability as a poet to react to any social happening, and these turn out to be in the most responses to societal happenings, plunged into the dark interiors of human behavior. So these could be related to caste oppression. Economic exploitation, religious polemics etc. But the poetic ability or the agility is always there to handle a situation born out of politico- social situations. There lies his remarkable dexterity as a poet commentator. His lines are direct, and even angry. But that does not matter. This is poetry- at its best.  No wonder then that, his poems have been published world wide. He is perhaps now one of the very few, if not the only Indian poet in English to have taken the burden of social and political repression, as a distinct and livid political idiom. To read his poems is also painful, but the poetry is in the pain!—Ananya S Guha lives in Shillong in North East India. He has been writing and publishing his poetry for the last 33 years.

    Love after Babel selected by as one of Twelve books that form part of the arsenal of Dalit writing by Suraj Yangde.

    surajyengde
    @surajyengde

    Had an honor to introduce this extremely riveting collection of humanity-filled radical lines “Love After Babel” told by the incomparable art form—Dalit Poetry. Chandramohan is confidently flirtatious with his words. by

  • Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi

    Pius Adesanmi died in the doomed Ethiopian Airline flight 302 on March 10, 2019. Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi is an assemblage of 267 original poems written by 127 established and emerging African writers. While some of the poets celebrate Adesanmi, others reflect philosophically on existence, mortality, immortality and/or offer hope for the living. In this memorably textured collection, the poets – some who knew, and some who did not know Adesanmi – exorcise the pains of loss through provocative poems that pour out their beating hearts with passion.

    Chris Dunton, editor of Wasafiri, writes:

    “… Adesanmi’s passing has been commemorated in a superb anthology of commissioned poems, Wreaths for a Wayfarer. This beautifully produced volume contains the work of 126 contributors, mainly from Nigeria, but also from other countries, ranging from Mexico, through the UK, to Sri Lanka; as Odia Ofeimun puts it in his foreword: ‘Pius Adesanmi was ‘my personal person’, as he was to so many people around the globe’ (xxv). It also includes a selection of poems from Adesanmi’s own collection The Wayfarer.

    “Nduka Otiono’s Introduction to the anthology is a model of its kind, eloquent, heartfelt and informative, with a great deal of valuable background material in footnotes. An especially pleasing touch, so much in the spirit of Adesanmi the dedicated mentor, is the editors’ decision to take on ‘budding poets . . . [a decision which] necessitated editing and working with such authors to help develop writings that might otherwise have been rejected’ (7). A little later, Nduka comments: ‘we conceptualized an anthology that will be enduring in its thematic range and stylistic variety. And we got one’ (8). …”

    Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements  |Foreword—Odia Ofeimun  | Introduction: Death and an African Digital Towncrier—Nduka Otiono  | Introit: Coffin in the sky—Niyi Osundare

    Part I. WAYFARER

    Scabha or The Sliding Door Operator—Sihle Ntuli  | When an Iroko Falls—Iquo Diana Abasi  | How to Survive War in Nigeria—Iquo Diana Abasi  | I Wet the Earth, I Sing You Wreaths… —Fareed Agyakwah  | Harvest IV—Funmi Aluko  | Wayfarer—Funmi Aluko  | The Wayfarer—Saudat Salawudeen  | End of Forever—Saudat Salawudeen  | Muse of Homecoming—Justus K. S. Makokha  | Encore— Agatha Agema  | Now that I know young birds die in flight—Segun Michael Olabode  | The Water-Pot is Broke—Susan Bukky Badeji  | from absence, memory and farther—Obemata  | Umbilicals—Tijah Bolton-Akpan  | The Pilgrim Unbound—Clara Ijeoma Osuji  | Eclipsed at Noon—Abdulaziz Abdulaziz  | To the Daughters— Abdulaziz Abdulaziz  | The Traveler—Abiodun Bello  | For the Wayfarer—Chifwanti Zulu  | The Acts of Brother—’Bunmi Ogungbe  | Backing His Daughter: For Pius, on Facebook—Jane Bryce  | Avoiding Sunlight—Unoma Azuah  | Akáṣọléri ́ (Mourners) —Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún  | Last Tweets—Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún  | Farewell, Wayfarer—Oyinkansade Fabikun  | Solitaire—Kafilat Oloyede  | How to Keep the Wake for a Shooting Star—Chuma Nwokolo  | Eagle—Uzo Odonwodo  | In Memoriam—Uzo Odonwodo  | Can You Do This Thing?—Sarah Katz-Lavigne  | Lights—John Chizoba Vincent  | The Meteorite—Omowumi Olabode Steven Ekundayo  | Black Box—Ian Keteku  | Paramour of the Pen—Abraham Tor  | Flying Coffin—James Onyebụchi Nnaji  | Looking for the Dead—James Onyebụchi Nnaji  | The Eagle Perched—Moses Ogunleye  | A Pius Flight—Kennedy Emetulu  | Kwanza for Pius—Ifesinachi Nwadike  | Dream-mare—Nidhal Chami  | A Walk in the Graveyard—Chimeziri C. Ogbedeto  | Payo—Biko Agozino  | Iku—Peter Olamakinde Olapegba  | He left—Amatoritsero Ede  | Spousal Loss—Peter Olamakinde Olapegba  | The Face of My Savior is the Ordinary Moment—Gloria Nwizu  | Denouement—Gloria Nwizu  | A Conversation between Two Young Cousins—Ethel Ngozi Okeke  | Sunday Flight—Emman Usman Shehu  | Departure—Ivor Agyeman-Duah  | The Count—Uthpala Dishani Senaratne  | Rude Shock—Olajide Salawu  | Saturday 12:56—Ludwidzi M. K. Mainza  | Daughter—Ludwidzi M. K. Mainza  | Tough Love—Nnorom Azuonye  | In the Midst of it All, I am…—Anushya Ramakrishna  | Haiku – Ai-Ku (Immortality) —Adesanya Adewale Adeshina  | He Rose—Adesanya Adewale Adeshina  | A Singing Bird—Adesanya Adewale Adeshina  | Arrivant—Akua Lezli Hope  | EarthWork Sestina—Akua Lezli Hope  | Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Proboscidea—Akua Lezli Hope  | Poem of Relief: When Your Sadness is Alive—Kennedy Hussein Aliu  | If I Seek—Kennedy Hussein Aliu  | When You Ask me About my Teacher—Kennedy Hussein Aliu and Leyda Jocelyn Estrada
Arellano  | The Eagle is not the Quills and Talons—Olumide Olaniyan  | without a farewell—Nduka Otiono  | After the Funeral—Nduka Otiono  | Fugitives from the Violence of Truth—Efe Paul-Azino  | Just but a Journey—Sam Dennis Otieno

    Part II. REQUIEMS  

    Elegy for Pius—Helon Habila  | This Exodus Has Birthed a Song—Echezonachukwu Nduka  | where to find you: a requiem—Echezonachukwu Nduka  | Blown—Richard Inya  | words melt in his mouth—Peter Midgley  | Requiem for the Fallen / Mogaka o ole—Lebogang Disele  | To Our Hero: Rest in Peace—Lebogang Disele  | What Shall We Do to Death?—Winlade Israel  | A Star Just Fell—Winlade Israel  | Requiem—Peter Akinlabi  | Requiem for Pius—Rasaq Malik Gbolahan  | Wayfarer—Rasaq Malik Gbolahan  | Twirling the Beads of Grief… —Tade Aina  | Say me Rebellion—Kingsley L. Madueke  | When this Calabash Breaks—Kingsley L. Madueke  | Requiem for the Wayfarer—Adesina Ajala  | Song of Sorrow—Soji Cole  | Planting Season—Anote Ajeluorou  | For Our Departed Bard—Maria Ajima  | Memory of Tear—Joshua Agbo  | Why? —Margaret Wairimu Waweru  | Letter to Dad—Margaret Wairimu Waweru  | Missing Voices—Ugochukwu P. Nwafor  | Tears on Canvas—Wesley Macheso  | Nausea—Wesley Macheso  | This Easter—Wesley Macheso  | When I Am Gone—Maryam Ali Ali  | Nothing Has Changed—Maryam Ali Ali  | Protest—Ejiofor Ugwu  | Our Voice is Gone—Janet James Ibukun  | Agadaga Iroko / Giant Iroko—Sunny Iyke U. Okeigwe  | This Poetry—James Tar Tsaaior  | The Passing of Pius—Uzor Maxim Uzoatu  | Light Dims to Shine Forever—Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo  | You Bled Africa! —Mitterand Okorie  | To the Muse of Isanlu: A Salute—’BioDun J. Ogundayo  | you remain with us—Nkateko Masinga  | A Bit of Narcissism—Okwudili Nebeolisa  | Bereavement—Okwudili Nebeolisa  | Dirge for the Departed—Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa  | If Only—Femi Abidogun  | Falling Birds—Yusuff Abdulbasit  | Immortality—Yusuff Abdulbasit  | Harvest of Deaths—Yemi Atanda  | The Horse and the Tortoise—Yemi Atanda  | The Chorus Is Death—Ubaka Ogbogu  | Breaking Bread—Obiwu  | Still They Hunt for Emmett Till—Obiwu  | on wisdom’s wings—Jumoke Verissimo

    Part III. HOMECOMING

    The Indent (For Pius) —Uche Nduka  | when the sun sets—Adejumo Uthman Ajibola  | Aridunun Akowe—Dahunsi Ayobami  | Pius: Myth, Mystic, Mystery—Tenibegi Karounwi  | Returning the Light as Wreath—Ndubuisi Martins (Aniemeka)  | Naija is a Badly-Behaved Poem—Ndubuisi Martins (Aniemeka)  | Confessions of a Gypsy—Richard Kayode O. James  | When the Pious Die—Uchenna-Franklin Ekweremadu  | Song of the Pilgrim—Obinna Chukwudi Ibezim  | Pius, the Seed—Celina O. Aju-Ameh  | Cloud Coffin—Tola Ijalusi  | Letter to My Father—Ololade Akinlabi Ige  | I Journey Quietly Home—Martin Ijir  | Hopeful People—Ndaba Siban  | Explaining My Depression to You—Yusuf Taslemat Taiwo  | The Broken Quill—Nathanael Tanko Noah  | we do not know how to carry this pain—Edaki Timothy. O  | Stars, Out—S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema  | Converging Skies and Shadows—S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema  | Will You? —Biodun Bamgboye  | Farewell—Maryam Gatawa  | Transit to Kenya—Anthony Enyone Ohiemi  | Abiku Agba—Usman Oladipo Akanbi  | Evening Bird—Bayowa Ayomide Micheal  | Withered Green—Augustine Ogechukwu Nwulia  | Home Call…047—Onuchi Mark Onoruoiza  | Outshining the Stars—Onuchi Mark Onoruoiza  | The Eagle Has Fallen—Manasseh Gowk  | Farewell—Manasseh Gowk  | Death—Khalid Imam  | The Flood—Khalid Imam  | Blue Skies—Yejide Kilanko  | This Very Goodbye—Nseabasi S. J. King  | The Deserted Road or Elegy for Pius Adesanmi—Daniel Olaoluwa Whyte  | What My Father Said on His Death Bed—Gbenga Adesina  | Wayfarer—James Yeku  | One Meets Two—James Yeku  | First Goodbye—D.M. Aderibigbe  | Monster—Afam Akeh  | where you are now—Raphael d’Abdon  | When the Curtains Fall—Uchechukwu Umezurike

    PART IV. A SELECTION FROM PIUS ADESANMI’S THE WAYFARER AND OTHER POEMS

    The Wayfarer—Pius Adesanmi  | Ah, Prometheus! —Pius Adesanmi  | Odia Ofeimun: The Brooms Take Flight—Pius Adesanmi  | To the Unfathomable One—Pius Adesanmi  | Message from Aso Rock to a Poet in Exile—Pius Adesanmi  | Entries—Pius Adesanmi

    Part V. POSTLUDE

    A Prose-Poem, a Tribute, and a Wreath for Pius—Adesanmi Anu’a-Gheyle Solomon Azoh-Mbi | When and If…—Pamela J. Olúbùnmi Smith

    Contributors

    About the editors

    Reviews: Otiono, Umezurike announce release of Wreaths for a Wayfarer

    Soundtrack to a Wayfarer s Transition by Eyitayo Aloh https://doi-org.proxy.library.carleton.ca/10.1080/00083968.2020.1829830

    “Wreaths for a Wayfarer is an eclectic collection of 161 poems by 126 poets and writers, woven like a tapestry of words into a wreath for one of their own. The mix of writers cuts across generations, social strata and stylistic practices of the genre. Rather than being a drawback, this is actually a strength of the anthology, that one man can bring together such an array of writers in one tome. It is an attestation to the influence of Adesanmi, the wayfarer, on his earthly journey – a man who served as a bridge that connected people from different backgrounds and brought them together for a common cause, be that the academic field of African studies and his desire to see it gain greater traction in academia, or global literature at large and his love of deconstructing the western canonisation of literature. Above all these, however, Adesanmi quintessentially remained a human with love for fellow humans. lt is a testament to Adesanmi’s influence and reach across generations that renowned African poets such as Niyi Osundare, Helon Habila, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Maxim Uzor Uzoatu, Emman Usman Shehu, Jumoke Verissimo and Funmi Aluko, all representing various ethnic and generational divides, share the pages of the collection with up and coming poets in a poetic salute to a wayfarer who also happens to belong to their artistic tribe.
    As a collection, Wreath for a Wayfarer fills a gap in the coming to terms with the tragic passage of Pius Adesanmi by his artistic peers. In a culture that has become so material, that the concept of a wreath carries with it the presence of a cadaver and a tomb – neither of which was present at the time Pius died, due to the nature of his death – to have a “wreath” of words helps give Adesanmi’s contemporaries closure and deal with the trauma that accompanied his passing. One of the co-editors, Nduka Otiono, alludes to this in his introduction, pointing out that the poems represent “the collective wreaths laid by a dispersed community of writers unsettled by the untimely loss of Adesanmi.”

  • Poems for the Penniless

    These poems by Issa Shivji, lawyer, activist and Tanzanian public intellectual, were written at different times in different circumstances. They give vent to personal anguish and political anger. Mostly originally written in Kiswahili, here accompanied by English translations, and they are intensely personal and political.

    Poems are clustered under several headings to provide a context. The first combines personal agony at the loss of comrades and friends with poems about love and affection for living ones. The second is about robberies of freedom, resources, and dignity and the loss of justice under neoliberalism. The third section, entitled Hopes and Fears, comprises short poems tweeted over the last five years expressing despair, fear and hope in the human capacity for freedom.

    The last section are poems, concerned with Shivji’s period in South Africa in 2018, reflect on the emergence of neo-apartheid with its wanton and shameless exploitation of the majority.

    Wonderfully translated by Ida Hadjivayanis.

     

  • You’re Not Here

     


    One brother goes missing in action in Afghanistan, the other falls in love with an Afghan girl in England.

    Bitter divisions engulf an English town where young Muslims oppose the British army’s presence in Afghanistan, whilst white youth condemn the Muslims as traitors.

    To the disgust of his white friends, 17-year-old Jake Marlesden, whose brother is missing in action in Afghanistan, is in love with Leila Khan, an Afghan. When Jake tries to find out what happened to his brother, neighbour turns against neighbour and lover against lover.

    Leila joins young Muslims protesting against the returning bodies of dead British soldiers, and Jake stands with the families of the soldiers. The lovers fall apart.

    But far off events, and sinister forces at home, bring the lovers together again in a journey in which they will not only discover themselves, but also heal the wounds of their families and friends.

    This is the sequel to You’re Not Proper.

    Set in and around Manchester, You’re Not Here is informed by Mehmood’s experience of growing up a working class Pakistani in northern England, combatting racism on the streets and being arrested. The novel explores the British Asian experience in the context of the “war on terror” and Islamophobia. “I have lived and fought against various waves of racism in Britain, but the current Islamophobic one, the new racism, is far more insidious and divisive than those which preceded it,” says Mehmood in his blog.

    This novel is a sequel to You’re Not Proper, which explored, in the author’s words, “what it is to be a Muslim teenager in the west today”. While it featured two teenage women’s search for identity and belonging — one with a Pakistani father and white Christian mother, the other her Hijab-wearing school friend — Mehmood’s sequel is, interestingly, told from the point of view of a white working class British youth.

    Jake’s father was in the army. His elder brother is missing in action in Afghanistan. Jake is in love with a Muslim girl. We are introduced to diverse Asian characters and to white racist friends of his brother, and to the tensions both within and between the two communities, through Jake’s eyes.

    While the novel reads like a pacey thriller, the teenage love story is treated with convincing tenderness. And there is sympathy for British soldiers. One scene features physically and mentally scarred ex-soldiers discarded by the state, and Military Friends and Families Against War make an appearance. 

    http://socialistreview.org.uk/438/youre-not-here

     

    The narrative is packed with authentic voices, often humorous observations and insights, The novel reads like a thriller. It reaches an action-packed and moving climax, but, unlike a thriller, we are left uneasy about what may happen next.
    Helen Goodway, Red Pepper, Summer 2019

  • Cradles

    Valiani has written a beautiful and insightful book of poetry about the birthplace of humanity; ‘the cradle of civilization’, Africa. The poems are gathered into four sections: “Womb”; “Land(s)”; “Tides”; “Wind”. Each section is prefaced by philosophy, findings and artifacts of “Maropeng” which becomes both subject and predicate for this soothing poetry: a lullaby for the soul’s remembering. Candice James Poet Laureate Emerita of New Westminster

    Cradles is a collection poems on the nature(s) and nurturing that cradle us. They are divided into four parts: Womb is the first cradle, both ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, under-acknowledged and often unmentioned. Beyond the physical womb of individuals, there are collective wombs that incubate on yet grander and greater scales. Land(s) are the cradles we typically identify as our ‘origins’, but as the Cradle of Humankind teaches, the many lands of today are interlaced in many concealed ways and originated in a single, little understood place. Tides are the many migrations and cycles of time that shape us. They can shift, upset and remake the nurturing of cradles; but also cradle us in cycles of wreckage. Wind sets us free of places and times of origin. This detachment can bring freedom, a sense of loss/lostness, and the many things in between. The freedom/loss/lostness spiral whirls with the wind and transforms. In surrendering to it we can alter its pace to our needs and desires.

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  • Song of Gulzarina: Special offer USdefeatAfghan

    A suicide bombing is being planned in a residential street in Manchester. Behind it lie Saleem Khan’s vivid memories – some full of regret and yearning, others humorous and yet others overshadowed by the surreal brutality of the war in Afghanistan.