Papaya: A review of Filigree

Written by Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa for on Monday, May 25th, 2020

Usually when I read an anthology I seek more poems from the poets I am most intrigued by, but I found myself performing some serious finger choreography for the editor, Nii Ayikwei Parkes. His introduction is miraculous; his ability to reprimand negative responses to the collection with such eloquence while humbly presenting the craftsmanship of awe-inspiring imagery, is superhuman. On the aesthetics and rhetoric within the collection he writes, ‘For example, the fact that a stool is beautifully carved doesn’t rob it of the ability to carry the weight of a tired woman…’(p.25) Here, Nii is providing a demonstration on how to observe and critique the work of a Black poet that many have failed to do or even tried. Nii of course makes it seem easy, but our colour continues to be used as an excuse for unfair judgement/ critique. Nonetheless we move upwards and onwards, and by uniting the abundance of nuance and styles so fluently, threaded through a variety of themes, Nii enables readers to appreciate the complexity of a grossly rich conversation between brilliant poets.