Poetry Love: Kumakanda



By: Kayo Chingonyi

Grade: A

I’ve really been delving into poetry the last little while and Kumakanda is a recent read and a collection that I really loved. Kumakanda is an initiation that a boy must pass through to be considered a man in the Luvale tribe.

Chingonyi’s work is a lot about the way he’s perceived, the loss of his parents, connections to his homeland and to England where he immigrated as a child. What really struck me what pulled me to it was also the music. Not just structure or overt references…

“In time, I could rattle off the Slim Shady LP line for line, though no amount of practice could conjure the pale skin and blue eyes that made Marshall a poet and me just another brother who could rhyme.”

I do wish I had picked up a physical copy of this instead of as an e-book and I will probably fix that in the future. (I like poetry in physical copies actually. You can mark them and have them for further reference far more easily.)

I like to read poems out loud as well (I’ll read parts of books out loud or lines from characters but thats a whole other story) and I could hear the rhythm and the music even in my reading which is not always the case. I also think the themes of the work (as well as the music of it) are very relatable to a poetry newcomer like myself.

This is a great collection overall and I will definitely read more of his work in the future. The work is deep and I also would recommend to anyone whose new to poetry or whose looking for more modern writing.

Recommend: Yes.