Monday, November 26, 2007

Fragmented Melodies by Kangsen Wakai

Kangsen Feka Wakai. Fragmented Melodies. Bamenda, Langaa Publishers, 2007

"Fragmented Melodies is a seminal, introspective work of exceptional freshness and contemplative diction transmitted in an enriched style that immediately grasps the reader's attention. Between Part I (Medusa's Spell) and Part IV (Homebound) the reader is instantly immersed into a multifaceted poetic universe that is both enigmatic and mystifying, reminiscent of Jared Angira's Silent Voices. Wakai's personae are inimitable and diverse, oftentimes imbued with passionate sensuality, despondent lives, and brutal nostalgia-the nostalgia of prison walls, defeated idealism, and incarcerated voices yearning for release behind blood-smeared prison walls.

From Ethiopia to Brazil, Kigali to Bamenda, from the smoked-stained vocal cords in Soweto to the clanging steel doors of the Kondengui maximum security prison in Yaoundé, Wakai's poetic voices resonate the sound of traditional drums, the cacophony of jazz, the isolated acoustic notes of guitar strings, and the suffocating stench of the dictator's funeral pyre. The diverse voices in the poems are unified into a single poetic journey of desolation, hope, idealism, lamentation, exile, and freedom."
Babila Mutia, Professor of Literature, ENS, University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon

"Kangsen Wakai's poetic landscape in Fragmented Melodies encompasses all that is human as well as all that defies humanity. The poems cascade from the passionate songs of his heart, through defiant rhythms of resistance to songs in distant lands 'beyond our desecrated shores' but in the end Wakai's poetic compass is homebound to... amongst common places and common people who affirm the human zeal for music of truth and peace. Yet, it is Wakai's imagistic canvass which confirms the birth of a compelling poetic voice in this season of waiting."
Joyce Ashuntantang, Department of English, University of Connecticut, USA

"With poems like these that are crafted to sound like music to the ears, no reader can afford to leave the dance floor. This is indeed the trademark of a new writing that has come to stay." Mwalimu George Ngwane, writer and Chairman of National Book Development Council, Cameroon

"...a leading voice in the ongoing renaissance of Anglophone Cameroon literature in the Diaspora." Dibussi Tande, USA based Journalist and Poet

"Kangsen Feka Wakai subscribes to Salman Rusdie’s pronouncement that “a poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.” In his collection of poems “Fragmented Melodies”, music becomes a quest for the authentic self; love serves as opium imbued with the power to transform weakness into strength, despair into hope. A bittersweet potion, these poems echo the defiant voice of a son-of-the-soil at odds with a world gone topsy-turvy" - Peter W. Vakunta— University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A

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