A stunning new collection from Nii Ayikwei Parkes, featuring poems which embrace play, love and the ephemeral such as water bodies, blood/heritage, history and gossip; and a healthy dose of music and popular culture.
Concerned with the phase of life sometimes referred to as the midlife crisis, The Geez navigates the blurred lines between age and youth; the real and the imagined; what is seen and what is -- what catches the gaze and what lies beneath. Conceived in four sections, the collection moves from play, to love, to gossip and - finally - to explorations of the intersections of self and contemporary culture, including a segment inspired by blues legends, riffing on the myth of the crossroads, as well as an eleven-part love letter to the African diaspora -- specifically African-Americans, whose sacrifices have contributed to the still-suppressed freedoms of Black folk globally.
A number of the poems in The Geez are written in a form called the Gimbal, which was developed by Nii -- initially to work through his enduring grief at the loss of his father. It is now a form that has evolved to mine emotion within a guiding format that, for him, evokes the workings of a gyroscope -- spinning but stable -- a state that echoes the liminality that anchors this collection. ""The questing and questioning poems of Nii Ayikwei Parkes
The Geez range across time and continents, synthesising the broad and resistant histories of the global black community, with intimate questions about love, family, parenthood and grief. Formally inventive, the collection sings with its own music and with a consciousness of the transformative power of black music in the diaspora. It is rare to find a book so fiercely political and emotionally intimate.
"A compelling and captivating collection." Hannah Lowe
Published 15/10/2020 in United Kingdom
Paperback | 72 pages