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Kingdoms of language

Written by Carol Rumens for The Poetry Review, 107:3, Autumn 2017 on Sunday, October 1, 2017

The London-based Ugandan Nick Makoha writes with a specific aim: to anatomise the tyranny of the Idi Amin dictatorship. As he reveals the horrific local and individual effects of the mass-murderous regime, he transforms the brute weight of propaganda through his linguistic art. Located narrative, rich detail and characterisation (the novelistic arts) combine with the subtly handled devices of oral poetry – repetition, rhyme, refrain, synchronicity. To call the book ‘powerful’ would be to risk the sort of cliché Makoha scrupulously avoids. What matters is the double-thrust of the collection’s power. Neither aesthetics nor ethics are dictatorial: both are guardians of its gravity.

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This is a review of Kingdom of Gravity

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