Having this work together in one volume enables us to see the dialogue between a sense of the personal and an engagement with the public and historical, from ‘Daphne’s Lot’ which explores the life of an Englishwoman (his mother) caught up in the madness of the Biafran civil war, or ‘Buffalo Women’, an epistolary sequence of poems between lovers caught up in the American civil war.
The focus of Abani’s poems is frequently on extreme situations where the unspeakable becomes too readily the doable, but where against the odds compassion and love remain and the individual determination to resist public madness. In ‘Sanctificum’ there is a profound meditation on the sacred, whether reached through religious ritual or through art, and the narrow dividing line between the urge to reach for mastery and transcendence and the abuses of power whether personal, contemporary or historical.
"In this eclectic and imaginative poetry book Chris Abani takes us on a time-travelling journey around the world. He explores history, war, myth, religion, relationships and a poet’s personal and philosophical musings. His versatile voice is, variously, audacious, energetic, visual, oblique and always, always, thought-provoking."
Chris Abani is the author of 11 books, the recipient of numerous awards for his writing, and is currently holds the position of Professor at the University of California, Riverside.