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Migritude Paperback – November 30, 2010
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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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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
of endless delight
the wonder of a new story
who knows what may rise
to the surface
of our ears
for the saris
that love was
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!
I remember well Kenya's "lost decade" and how it intensified my guilt as a "victim" of fierce "Shilling love" in a country where so many have so little.
I thoroughly enjoyed the vivid, joyful and poetic depiction of London as an international city.
Thank you for telling the story of the rapes of Kenyan women by British soldiers and the Kenyan gulag.
There is no way to explain a poet's voice, except to say there are all the nations,
all the villages, all the people, all the salvations, all the priests, all the protests.
I buy her book at Amazon.com. When it arrives, I tear the package open: Migritude. In its reading, I'm surprised.
Shailja reminds us: it is easier to run from a man in jeans, than in saris.
I was pulled into a different world. It was a different kind of terror: rape: what men sometimes do.
Terror: on 9/11/11, a woman from India was taken off a plane; it made no sense:
she was just sitting in her seat, near two men with turbans; someone said the men went to the bathroom too many times:
they must be terrorists: the authorities took that woman away; held her against her will.
What I learn about Shailja is what speaks of what travels beyond saris.
How many saris her mother wanted her to have; not Shailja's choices: a mother's desire,
not a daughter's: perhaps, a still different kind of terror.
I think of a shop on University Avenue, in Berkeley: I've passed it by so many times before.
There's that blue sari in the window. I remember the mannequin faces.
I think of what nations and parents do.