Poem of the week: Blowing Smoke by Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Written by Carol Rumens for The Guardian on Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Born in the UK, raised in Ghana, working in both countries in an impressive variety of genres and media, Parkes makes the language of his poems shimmeringly reflective and connective. Blowing Smoke is a love poem, but adds so much else that the term becomes reductive, one-dimensional. Love is certainly in the air, but so are many complicating emotional narratives, time-frames, sensations. The confluence of highs and lows, the swirl of the ascent and the various forms of the “curve of dismounts” the epigraph refers to, contain lyric multitudes.