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Kalakuta Republic Paperback – September 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0863563225 ISBN-10: 0863563228

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Saqi Books (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863563228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863563225
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #892,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'A beautiful work of art . . . elevates art and humanity above meanness and inhumanity.' --World Literature Today

'An unheralded chunk of authentic literature . . . Abani has lived to tell his tale, the least we can do, is listen to it.' --New Statesman

'A brave and challenging book . . . I was moved as much by what the poems have achieved as by what they have rescued from that nightmare world. Reading, I found myself in tears.' --Sunday Tribune

'Abani's poems are the most naked, harrowing expression of prison life and political torture imaginable. Reading them is like being singed by a red hot iron.' --Harold Pinter

'Abani's survival instinct and his poems contain moments of grace, humanity and humor.' --Susannah Tarbush, Diwaniya

'Abani's poetry resonates with a devastating beauty which cuts through to the heart of human strength, survival and tyranny.' --Pride

'Chris has emerged with poems that are graceful pieces of art, almost ready to be hung in a gallery for others to come and enter them and rest in them and weep in them and admire them.' --Kwame Dawes, professor of English literature, University of Columbia, South Carolina, USA

Book Description

Named after a prison cell familiar to many of Nigeria's political prisoners and dissidents, Kalakuta Republic is a powerful collection of poems detailing the harrowing experiences endured by Abani and others at the hands of Nigeria's military regime in the late 1980s.

Abani's poems are dedicated to those who shared in but did not live through the suffering, like John James, his cellmate, tortured to death in 1991 at the age of 14, and other 'kindred spirits, dreamers, fools'. In them he describes the characters that peopled his dark world, from the prison inmates to their torturers, the generals. This is Abani's first collection of poems following his release from jail, and while intense episodes are vividly described, it is above all a work greatly tinged with humanity and a durable tribute to the triumph of the human spirit.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Abani's book left me speechless. At the horror. The pain and the inhumanity of other people.
It also left me speechless with regard to myself. It reminded me of what is important in life and how important it is, at whatever level, to do the right thing, no matter how difficult.
The poet's tale of incaceration for his writing in Nigeria's old regimes is a humbling one. It is also an inspiring one. No other book in the last ten years has moved me as much.
The poems are beautifully balanced pieces with a clear narrative. The Language, while simple, achieves a complex poetic form - the rendering of life into words.
This book is a must read!!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Abani's collection is one of the best examples of witness-poetry. In a genre overloaded by self indulgent writing, Abani's work is fresh and new. The voice is raw, the subject mater engaging, powerful and definately distrubing.
The poems themselves are actually quite easy to read - form wise that is! The contents on the other hand are difficult. They narrate the terror of the writer as a prisoner of consceince and where others hold back, Abani lets you have it in the face!
It is not often that a writer can pull off a piece of work this good, but Abani succeeded.
Read it!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
Chris Abani is that rare gift to the world -- someone who was born a writer and who suffered great atrocity. He has combined these two facts to bring back poetry from hell -- poetry that sings! that grieves! that laughs and rocks and wails! He breaks down walls and brings forth unimaginable pain only to lay it before you -- gracefilled and beating like an undeniable human heart. Here it is, he says, here is humanity in all its grand perversion and its unmistakable diginity and hope. I was lucky enough to see Abani read and he is someone who is in this closed off world who is out there sharing, must share, and he makes the world a better place by doing so. Let's only hope the world gives back to him now, finally, the rich fruits of kindness and love and understanding that he deserves! And he plays a mean sax too!!!
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