SOUL SEEDS Poetry Book Review
by Thabo Katlholo
The Black Apostle
March 11, 2015
I've been a fiction writer since age 15. And terrified of poetry (just kiddin'). Today I decided to review a Poetry Anthology I've read recently written by Onalethuso Buyile Petruss Ntema. I say I've read this, but obviously I haven't read it all. This is an amazing anthology, and it's huge, and I may spend my entire life working through it. The range of poems in it is amazing, and I'm looking forward to studying some of it in more depth so much.
This book is huge. Both in content and knowledge. So I had no intention of reading it cover to cover. I just flipped through, reading a poem here, another one there. The collection strikes a nice balance between traditional, culture-heavy poetry which wouldn't turn any heads and some pretty outlandish and outstanding surreal and vanguardy selections. Thematically, it tends towards the grim, which can't be surprising since Africa has been a wealth of post-colonial fuckups and shenanigans since the 1960s, thus a lot of the poems reflect corruption, pollution, sociology, poverty, roots, beauty, love and so on. Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty that aren't, so, don't be deterred. Excellent editing with some brief motivation at the end of each poem.
Anyway, this book is chock full of poems. It could keep a poetry lover happy for many years. Onalethuso Petrus Ntema is an excellent and perceptive scholar-poet, the versatile dub-Poet and writer "interconnected nature with reasoning through spoken word" in his own words.
Soul Seeds is a rich resource, an absolutely tremendous collection of pan-Africanism poetry. One of the greatest assets of this collection is that it contains several lengthy poems in their entirety, among them Rise to the Occasion (written by Onalethuso Ntema and Charlotte Oageng), The Roots and Journey to The Hills (both of which are among my personal favorites). Although it seems to gloss over a few major topics this collection remains the best single volume of English poetry I've ever seen.
It is one of the most important poetry books be released, in this country. This stirring verses deal with one of the great historical travesties, social injustices and its result, the impoverishment of an entire nation, through a sociologist's eyes.To read this book is to hear an intimate glimpse of a nation and its people, so perfectly embodied in the spiritual aspects of this collection. A hundred years from now, this book will be an essential historical document.
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