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Migritude Paperback – November 30, 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Shailja Patel was born and raised in Kenya, has lived in London and San Francisco, and now divides her time between Nairobi and Berkeley. Trained as a political economist, accountant and yoga teacher, she honed her poetic skills in performances that have received standing ovations on three continents. She has been described by the Gulf Times as "the poetic equivalent of Arundhati Roy" and by CNN as "the face of globalization as a people-centered phenomenon of migration and exchange". Patel has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR and Al-Jazeera. Her work has been translated into twelve languages. She is a recipient of a Sundance Theatre Fellowship, an African Guest Writer Fellowship from the Nordic Africa Institute, the Fanny-Ann Eddy Poetry Award from IRN-Africa, the Voices of Our Nations Poetry Award, a Lambda Slam Championship, and the Outwrite Poetry Prize.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Kaya Press (November 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885030053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885030054
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By jandeder on November 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
here's what I felt after my first experience of Migritude:

For Shailja after Migritude

you pack a hefty wallop, Ms Patel,
you and your brew
distilled from bushels of memories
soaked in admonition
injected with judgment
corked carefully away like family treasures
left to ferment subcutaneously
steeped in your bones to marrow of rage

til
when the time is ripe
through every pore every follicle
you secrete the untold stories

two hundred proof, they burn going down
light headed we listen
heavy hearted we hear

we drink deep draught of your migritude
reel but do not fall
we are swamped in Niagara of your migritude
but do not drown
we are burned in Vesuvius of your migritude,
smelted, burned clean.

You, smelter
aglow.

I hope everyone gets to experience this unique and uplifting work.
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Shailja Patel's "Migritude" needles your conscience, demands that your muscles awaken to the riotous dance of social justice, and thrills your literary taste buds with its epic roller coaster through the bitter valleys of imperial violence and the savory peaks of revolutionary triumph. Plus it takes care of all your holiday shopping in one fell swoop -- admittedly, a few of your in-laws may take your gift of "Migritude" as some sort of personal criticism of their unenlightened embrace of capitalism -- but that's just the signal for you to take them to a live performance of "Migritude." The best book I have ever read; the best poetry I have ever experienced.

Paul Dosh
Associate Professor
Macalester College
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Format: Paperback
This is a very intense and engaging book, as well as an education in itself -- in more than just political and cultural senses -- for the reader, especially if they are not familiar with the background Shailja comes from.

The things that stood out for me in this book are many. The menacing refrain of rising inflation in "Shilling Love" bringing home the impact of the manipulation of economies by Empire on people's lives, within and without. Harrowing family tales that double as exposures of crimes committed by Empire. Startingly evocative characterizations of the author's mother and father.

I found the structure of the book to be a challenge at first. A little perseverance will reward the reader, however, as it slowly comes together in the reader's mind as a satisfying whole.

It seems strange at first that the second half of the book is called "Shadow Book," when the effect is more like a sunlight of meanings and revelations (especially for the reader who has not seen the live performance.) But perhaps the shadows refer to the darker realities that are thrown in relief by the very shining of the author's intelligence and courage.

There are books which one may enjoy and then forget. This book you won't forget.
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i liked the part about the fold
and the tenderness with which
the fist smashes the face of denial

i grooved to the synchronicity
of the drone tuned to afrobeat
of now on going wrapped

and the rap
a choreopoem
of endless delight
the wonder of a new story
told well
and good

digging deep
who knows what may rise
to the surface
of our ears

rapidness
not sorry
for the saris

that love was
so sweet

this is an important and wonderful book. ms patel is very expressive and you can feel how this would have worked on stage as a performance. in this case for sure, you can tell a book by its cover!
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Shailja Patel's book is deeply satisfying for hungry readers who crave poetry that feeds the soul and nudges every brain cell awake. Beautiful writing that is extremely personal and yet manages to address the wider political issues of empire, injustice, colonialism and what it means to be an immigrant. This is not writing for the faint of heart - it is strong and rich and powerful; it is disturbing and uncomfortable but funny and tender. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves poetry, anyone who is looking for a good Christmas gift to buy, anyone at all...
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With Migritude, Shailja Patel has taken activist poetry to a whole new level. Her eloquent piece brilliantly exposes Empire and its legacy of colonial atrocities, oppression and domination. Yet, amid all the pain from injustice, admiration is evoked by the defiant voice of the persevering migrant. A voice whose passionate, rage-filled cries for justice pour out onto the pages of Migritude, as she fights to shed her labels of race, ethnicity, nationality and gender. Migritude is seasoned with powerful moments that led my mind wandering, but soon after had me yearning to return and devour what words remain. If you are in the market for some politics, feminism and anti-imperialism, the package doesn't come any better than Migritude.
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The title of this extended poem, “Migritude” combines the experience of migrants with the concept of “negritude” and “attitude”. It was created for performance as a one-woman show and has been performed in Berkeley, California, as well as Nairobi, Kenya, among other locations. It is simply incomparable.

Shailja Patel hooked me the first time I heard her 3 years ago (listening online in Vietnam) in a kpfa interview. She was reading an excerpt,” How Ambi became Paisley”. I sought her out, ‘friended’ her on Facebook and was fortunate to meet her in the flesh last year on the island of Lamu, where we became friends. I recently heard her reading another excerpt, “The Making” in another radio interview. I’d found both poems edifying and deeply moving – but they were but a taster of the power contained in the complete work. I found “Migritude” such compelling reading that I couldn’t stop until I’d finished it in the wee hours of the morning.
As a white person, growing up in racist Britain during the influx of South Asian migrants, I empathized strongly with her rage at her treatment in my country. I knew nothing of our colonialist history in India and Africa (euphemistically referred to as the ‘Commonwealth’) and I doubt that many others did or do. She articulates so eloquently my own fury and grief at the treatment of women at the hands of men, and of empire. The atrocities of the British colonialists I only became aware of in Kenya in the last couple of years – but not from Kenyans – they have also been kept in the dark about it. All that horrendous, hidden history! Shailja not only reveals, but uses the ancient tradition of cursing with her poetry.
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