Sunday, May 22, 2011

featured Mythium Poet: Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Novelist, poet, and essayist Mukoma Wa Ngugi is the author of Nairobi Heat (Penguin, SA 2009), an anthology of poetry titled Hurling Words at Consciousness (AWP, 2006) and is a political columnist for the BBC's Focus on Africa Magazine.  He was short listed for the Caine Prize for African writing in 2009.  He has also been shortlisted for the 2010 Penguin Prize for African Writing for his novel manuscript, The First and Second Books of Transition. Nairobi Heat is being released in the United States by Melville Publishing House September, 13 2011.
A former co-editor of Pambazuka News, his columns have appeared in the Guardian, International Herald Tribune, Chimurenga, Los Angeles Times, South African Labour Bulletin, and Business Daily Africa, and he has been a guest on Democracy Now, Al Jazeera and the BBC World Service. His essays have appeared in the World Literature Review, the Black Commentator, Progressive Magazine and Radical History Review.  His short stories have been published in Wasafiri, Kenyon Review and St. Petersburg Review and poems in the New York Quarterly, Brick Magazine, Kwani?, Chimurenga and Tin House Magazine amongst other places.
Mukoma was born in 1971 in Evanston, Illinois and grew up in Kenya before returning to the United States for his undergraduate and graduate education. He is currently based in Cleveland, Ohio.  He is the son of World renowned African writer, Ngugi wa Thiong’o.  You can find his blog here.

here's a selection from his poem, Apprentice

            for my father’s 70th

One morning I burst into my father’s study and said
when I grow up, I too want to hunt, I want to hunt
words, and giraffes, pictures, buffalos and books

and he, holding a pen and a cup of tea said, little father,
to hunt words can be dangerous - but it is best to start
early. He waved his black bic-pen.  His office turned 

into Nyandarua forest.  It was morning.  The mist
was rising from the earth as sharp rays from sun fell hard
on the ground like nails.  Little father, do you see

him? No I said.  Look again – the mist is a mirror.
Now do you see him?  I looked again.  A Maasai warrior
tall as the trees spear in hand stood before me.

Shadow him, feign his movements, shadow him until
his movements are your movements.  Running my feet
along the leaves I walked to where he was, and crouched

like him so close to the earth, feet sinking deeper
into the earth as if in mud, slipping between the sun
and the wind into the mist till I became one with the forest.  


to view the rest of this poem in its entirety or to read other selections 
of Mukoma Wa Ngugi's poetry, please obtain a copy of Mythium #3.


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