Thursday, November 22, 2007

Asphalt Effect By Kangsen Wakai

Cameroon’s troubled history has provided Feka Wakai with the content of several of the poems in this first, outstanding collection. These poems couched in the authentic rhetoric of social and political protest, hymn the desperate orchestrations of the poet of exile with sardonic impassivity. The poems are highly assertive, combative and partisan - Bate Besong

Great poets make great reading. Kangsen Feka Wakai's collection of poems ASPHALT EFFECT is exhilirating, prying, hopeful, contestatory and ironic. An illustrious son of Africa once said that "the world is like a dancing mask, if you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place."(Achebe).
Like the Igbo masquerade, Kangsen has darted around the horizon and focused his prying gaze on climes beyond his cradle;taking issue with the festering wounds of Africa and the world at large: "A procession of bleeding women with gashes and wounds heads my way/ Blood from their foreheads splashes on the floor."(37)

A reading of this anthology leaves one with a feeling of hoping against hope: " Maybe I would look forward to dawn /If I didn't dread facing an angst ridden face/Wringled by allegorical essays of revolt." (15) Like Shakepeare's Caliban, the poet unleashes a linguistic warfare against cultural assimilation: "Hence I have chosen to use the curse of this language [English] to transform tragedies into blessings." (11) This then is a piece of writing that does more than just entertain. It takes us to task.

Peter Vakunta - University of Wisconsin-Madison

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