Cover Image: Old Love Skin: Voices From Contemporary Africa

Old Love Skin: Voices From Contemporary Africa

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Member Reviews

Perfect for fans of anthologies. A stunning offering from various writers and will have something for everyone.
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Poetry anthologies always help me discover new poetic voices that speak to me and this one was no different. With myriad styles and tones, these poems were all impactful and resonant in their own ways, tackling issues of identity, belonging, and expression of self, it is one that I will keep coming back to.
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A beautiful collection that is a must read for all lovers of art. These should be featured in every book list possible. Heartwarming, powerful, raw.
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I really liked this collection of poems by a variety of African poets, none of whom I'd heard of before reading. There were a couple of weak points but overall I found this collection to be raw, heartbreaking and mesmerizing. I don't often read poetry all in one sitting but that is what I ended up doing with this collection as I simply couldn't put it down.
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A spectacular anthology of poems by 52 African poets invites the reader on a journey that will take them through a wealth of emotions and perspectives. In other words, it is important to take your time with each poem to absorb it, savour it, appreciate it, and release it. Not all of them had the same impact on me but as a whole, this is a book I will keep recommending over and over again.
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This was a beautiful poetry collection from writers across Africa. It did not shy away from tough topics, and was beautifully written.
The poems were not always necessarily my style, but I found all interesting to read.
This is worth picking up for fans of intricate poetry, and poetry in general. I would definitely recommend.

3.5 stars personally, rounded up.
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Maybe poetry books just aren't for me. I really wanted to like this. I have liked poetry books before. But somehow this just wasn't working for me at all. It's a compilation, so I was expected to like some poems more than others. Which was true, but the poems I liked were so heavily in the minority I just can't bring myself to keep reading the rest of them. The symbolism wasn't working for me, and the book needed some extra editing.
My favourite was Preacher Man Knows My Name, by Bryan Obinna Joseph Okwesili, and I did like his other poem as well.
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Interesting anthology of heartbreaking and beaitifully written poems by african poets. Got myself shedind tears sometimes and also in love with words in others. Totally recommend for those that aren't avid readers of pems or are fans of the genre.
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Reading this collection is an education. With over 50 poets contributing to the work this is an overreaching exploration into female African voices. An amazing read
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Mixed bag. Some very cool poems; others I thought were very meh, or blah. My favourite poems were the political ones; was also very struck by Justine Nagundi's poem The Sulking Son, each line of which is the title of a famous book.
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This was a great read. All of the voices were inspiring. I highly recommend reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and once I started, I could not put it down.
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This was a phenomenal way to discover poets I'd never heard of! And the net is super wide. Another Dirge to Fill the Space Left Behind is a new forever favorite.
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As it is with all compilations, there are some poets that you like, and some that are just not what you've looked for. That's why I usually hesitate to pick up collections, and not one authors' works. I think that the vast majority of poems in this particular compilation are beautiful, lyrical, poignant and overall well done (in terms of structure, rhythm, usage of stylistic devices and emotiveness). I can pinpoint some outstanding pieces, like:

Rubzi (Ruvimbo Chido Chikanda)/ Poems: Hey Mr. Paradox, Power Lenses, Bipolar Bladder

I think these particular pieces should be studied at universities. There are several beautiful metaphors, alliterations and flowing repetitions, nicely done antitheses, and allusions on contemporary art and culture (f.e.  'our love is a sequel of Bird Box, blind and finding its way down the riverside'). Somehow it's reminded me of the song by Agnes Obel - Riverside (highly recommend to listen to it to get the vibe).

Alvin Kathemb / Poems: 'First and Forever', 'contigencies'

Immaculate. This is the type of poetry that breathes, that when you read it you actually feel those emotions described to you.

Phodiso Mordiwa/ Poem: Another Dirge To Fill The Space Left Behind

Vivid picture of grief, as well as some emotional images, which are depicted through ordinary objects, and suddenly they become extraordinary (tell me how you do that!)

Bryan Obinna Joseph Okwesili/ Poem: My Prayers Don't Promise Me Heaven

Oh, that was heartbreaking. Absolutely and inevitably heartbreaking.

Timothy Fab-Eme / Poems: Ecocide In The Wake Of Discovery And Dreams, We're Sick Now and Earth's Healing Real Fast Spring

Two more pieces that should be studied (imho, of course). The line 'the hope twirls in his hands until it strains like a thunderbolt' - isn't it one of the best examples of simile and metaphor in one sentence? In general, these are the poems that bring up questions in your head and make you think, really like that.

Nebeolisa Okwudili/ Poems: Beggars, A Myth in Two Parts

These pieces might have impressed me the most. Painful, yet meaningful.

Nehemiah Omukhonya/ Poems: Shall We Live!, Shame

I try not to repeat myself, but that was absolutely beautiful! Those apple-tree metaphors that describe relationships are one huge chef's kiss!

Aisha Naise Ahmad/ Poems: You're My Catalyst, Unforgettable Human

One of the best mixes between rhythmic repetitions and alliterations, along with a deep meaning behind it. Reading these was a pure treat.

Jeresi Katusiime/ Poem: For The Child Who Was Never Made

Powerful. Heartbreaking. Thought provoking.

Nnane Ntube/ Poem: Magical Pen

A note of appreciation for an experiment with structure here, that was unusual!

As I've said at the beginning, the worst thing in compilations, is that you might not necessarily like all of the pieces represented in it. I am not a fan of writers heavily describing bodily fluids (urination, defecation, vomit), as well as overly graphical violence, that almost always makes me uncomfortable. Although, I do appreciate authors using those as a mean of providing a visual and punch-y effect, it's just not my something I enjoy reading about.

Overall, this is a very wholesome collection that covers almost everything we know about. It talks about exploration of human relationship and existence, religion, race, sexuality, love, ecology and a bunch of other important topics. It might seem that it's too much, but somehow the book is compiled in such a way that it doesn't feel too much.

I would also like to say thank you to the editor Nyashadzashe Chikumbu, because the amount of work that has been put into this poetry collection is immeasurable.
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This collection of poems by fifty-two African poets from thirty countries offers extremely raw poems that do not flinch from exploring experiences, hopes, and aspirations that are deeply personal yet shared. In this anthology, the poets subvert language, images, and form to allow their stories to come to life. 

Here poets remind us that human emotion(s) can be and are beautiful, the journey of self-discovery is as painful as it is cathartic.

TW: Mentions of Addiction, Alcoholism, Abuse, Body Shaming, Grief, Violence, and war 

This year I have been trying to read more poetry and understand the artform better. I would hear people get so emotional over poems and not understand why they had that reaction. Well, now I do. 

There were poems in here that brought tears to my eyes, ones that broadened my understanding of the human spirit, and ones that I connected with so much that I just had to pause and reflect. This has never been the case with me before with poetry and I loved that it has happened. 

Old Love Skin is a wonderful compilation of poems featuring a diverse representation of voices from all around Africa. There were so many different voices, writing styles and topics each one of the poets chose to write about giving you a wide variety of options to choose from and connect with. With the variety, there were some that I did not love, but enough caused me to have such a reaction that I had to give this anthology 5 stars. 

Final Thoughts: I have found some incredible new poets from this anthology, my favorite was Enough by Tatiana Natalie Kondo (banshee). This was a wonderful collection that I think anyone who is on the fence about poetry would enjoy and find something to connect with. 

Disclaimer: Thank you Netgalley and Mukana Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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First of all, this book needs SERIOUS editing, the ammount of grammatical errors drove me crazy. Secondly, the poems were not this great and most of them were really hard to understand. The concept is really good but it wasn't depicted in a good way. I get why some people would like this but it's just not my cup of tea.
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I had a great time with Old love skin. Written beautifully, with a cohesive line and never being repetitive, i found myself  represented and lost many times between the words of these amazing poets.  

The authors tell us their experience growing up on Africa in the most real way. Giving space in the pages for many issues that people face in their lives. 

Reading it I connected with some poems more than with others, as it happens for me with anthologies. However, I could recognise why the writing was there and for who was it, simply, it was not me. I found my favourite poem of all time in this anthology: Contingencies. Powerfully written and devastating at the same time. 

Thanks NetGalley and Mukana Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed this anthology. It was quite long, but never felt repetitive. As with any anthology, I liked some poems/poets more than others, but that was a matter of personal preference. None of it felt out of place. I think it takes a lot of skill to collect so many voices and have it feel cohesive without growing stale. One change I would make would be putting the poet bios with their poems instead of all together at the end. I would have liked to be able to connect the writing to their work a little easier.
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This book is a collection of poems by several African poets who describe life in Africa and the difficulties faced by women there. When it was necessary to be raw, it was, and when it could have been unpleasant, it was gratifying. 

The lack of subtlety or sugarcoating in this book gave you the idea that it might have been translated in a number of different ways despite the fact that nothing was subtle or sugarcoated. I believe that writing poetry's primary goal is to evoke an emotional response in readers that they may take home or to their hearts in a variety of unique ways. 

These poets carried it out. And I appreciate their openness and enlightening thoughts.
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If I were to describe the feeling when I read this, it would be like drinking a pomegranate wine with the color of crimson, so dark it could easily pass as black. While drinking the wine, I savored the smooth ascent and descent of the roller coaster;y ears were deafened to the harsh slap of the wind against my face.  Above, there revealed a starry night sky freckled with stars, lending their light to the vastness of the universe.

This poetry book would make you question things, realize something, and ruminate on certain things. The voices that were portrayed in this book were amplified to a higher volume it felt like it could break a glass. These voices belonged to the African-American community which was treated as if they were inferior to others. 

An excerpt from the book:

"So I am easy on myself
and gentle, so gentle.
The words I say to me
always have a smile behind them;
a sprinkle of love and a little bit of awe.
I am careful to be gentle, and patient, and always
unfailingly kind
to me -
my precious, my priceless, 
my first and forever love."
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3.75 ⭐️

I haven’t read a Poetry Novel in a long time. And to come across an ARC on NetGalley with a collection such as this I couldn’t resist. It truely was as the description details; deeply personal yet collective.

I’ve since ordered the physical book, to be able to highlight particular poets entries that I found particularly stunning and moving.

The collection of voices, writing styles and topics are extremely wide. As such, and to be expected, I did not love all the entries. And had a very hard getting into the rhythm and flow for the first 30% of this collection. After halfway however, I could not put this down, and ever so subtly started to lean closer towards four stars than three on average.
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