moth thoughts of simulation\\oscillating love\\rain also fell\felt\\from the skies\\wings unable to hold their source\\kundalini serpent that disentangled your spine\\voice from a radio\\1982\\coup formation\how moth flew\across in the dark\\fingers felt touchy\\pollen on the fingertips\\spectral wind brushing your cheeks to home\\calmness lulled to a rhyme\\he walked home barefoot\\i can’t fly\\he says
Kamwangi Njue: Bra Moth and His Blues
Although this [COVID-19] crisis within a crisis has, perhaps, been a long time coming, its intensity has magnified our vulnerabilities and made hyper-urgent the demands for new ways of being. So, from some corners that we occasionally, sometimes accidentally, frequent, proclamations have been made in the genre of now-more-than-ever—now more than ever, we need this kind of writing, now more than ever, we need that kind of language, now more than ever, we need some kind of words that document, explain, shape and re-imagine the latest terms of our existence, which are at once historical and familiar.
We are in Umoja, we are in Lekki, we are in Somalia, we are in Pangani, we are at Central Police Station. We are in the moment between fellowship and betrayal. There is madness here. Wandering inter-loopers and nautonomats breaching temporal laws. There is old fashioned sedition and that unfinished tryst with theory. That refusal to be unfreedomed. In one of the darkest periods we find ourselves in, these stories, largely non-fiction accounts, remind us we are still here, that ship of fools adrift down the river.
The Perilous Journey To Beyond My Nose is for you.This is your book if the last time you saw a poem was during KCSE; if you are a casual Sunday poet; if you only read newspapers; if you can recite several poems on demand; if you, like Michael Onsando, have have several published books to your name. [This] is Onsando’s first collaboration with fellow poetic thinker and illustrator: Roseline Olang’.
pounded into dead flesh,
synthesized into clarity
And when we remember,
we are transported
to a time
and all that’s left
This Kwani? Issue takes us back to some of those bug-bears of 2013. It looks in detail at some of the Uchaguzi ‘13 campaigns, questions around IDPs, the constitution and asks how all these things might be connected to our political reality in Kenya. Billy Kahora (from the editorial)
While both love and war stand out in this 150-page novel, only love is a result of deliberate actions and a show of passion by the two main characters, Tarnue and Kou. War is an interruption. Out of their control. This book screams one thing: that love can triumph against all odds. That war can indeed interrupt love, but love can triumph. Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire
When Bella, a fashion photographer living in Rome, learns of her beloved half-brother’s murder, she travels to Nairobi to care for her niece and nephew. But when their mother resurfaces, reasserting her maternal rights and bringing with her a gale of chaos and confusion that mirrors the deepening political instability in the region, Bella must decide how far she will go to obey the call of sisterly responsibility.
Nuruddin Farah weaves a provocative, unforgettable tale about family, freedom, and loyalty. A departure in theme and setting, Hiding in Plain Sight is a profound exploration of the tensions between liberty and obligation, the ways in which gender and sexual orientation define us, and the unintended consequences of the secrets we keep.
Taty is a troubled adolescent living with her equally troubled mother in the suburbs of the Lowlands. In a moment of uncontrolled anger she finds her life changed forever and, hiding a terrible secret, she becomes a runaway, heading West into the Outzone. When she is captured by a malicious imp, befriended by an evangelising robotic nun and wooed by a transgender hoodlum, it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary adventure story. With moustachioed wrestlers, marauding Buddhist Punks, a feline voodoo surgeon and the enigmatic presence of the disfigured Dr Dali, Nikhil Singh has created a unique universe and a heroine whose petulant nonchalance hides a mighty spirit. As Taty navigates the collapse of an already chaotic society, struggling against present danger while confronting the demons of her own past, her story is narrated in prose that soars with elegance and swagger in equal measure. Taty Went West is an introduction to an electrifying new talent—an imagination unfettered by any known convention.
” …I do not want
to be crippled
before I can walk,
to be shoved
in the face of machismo
to take it up
in the name of being a man…”
Ndanu Mungala (Breaking through)
“…Now she falls,
And now she bleeds.
The camera takes it all in.
It is seven o’clock,
The way of the cross on your screen…”
Poesiapoa Njeri (Facing Jeevanjee Gardens)
“At the heart of this collection is this engagement with the traditional and the contemporary (what one could fairly call the concerns of African modernity)—a commitment to the retrieval of traditional things in the face of present realities. Often the phrase this is how it went recurs—suggesting narrative, but also suggesting a genuine exploration of the nature and value of memory, both for its unreliability and for its necessity. In this sentence, Teyie locates herself in a liminal space that is enviable in poets from Africa—the capacity to navigate not just the vexing politics of language, but the rich rewards of modernity rooted in a sense of the past.” Kwame Dawes (from the preface)
“Michelle K. Angwenyi’s Gray Latitudes is a body of poems that stretches language to its limits, the subtlety of which surprises the ready as ifshe wants you to depend on the weight of a word alone. Hers is a rare gift that reminds readers of the early Modernist women’s attempt to recreate language in ways never done before.” Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (from the preface)
Abdi wants to create a new tune and galvanise his dying band, find his father and, reunite with his lover. When his love is tested, Abdi follows the winds north from Kilwa to Mombasa, carrying his hopes and dreams along. He must survive heartbreak and escape a near death experience to overcome the folly of youth.
Back from London with a heavy baggage, Mumtaz must deal with the reality that hers is a small town. Can she withstand the guilt and gossip?
KasKazi is a travelling fiction book, written by over 15 writers from the Swahili Coast. It is the first of it’s kind book that I have ever read and I was intrigued by the idea when I first heard about the project. My dumb self assumed it was going to be different stories told by different people… It is not.
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