This stunning new collection from Nii Ayikwei Parkes features poems which embrace play, love and the ephemeral such as water bodies, blood/heritage, history and gossip; and a healthy dose of music and popular culture.
Concerned with the phase of life sometimes referred to as the midlife crisis, The Geez navigates the blurred lines between age and youth; the real and the imagined; what is seen and what is – what catches the gaze and what lies beneath. Conceived in four sections, the collection moves from play, to love, to gossip and - finally - to explorations of the intersections of self and contemporary culture, including a segment inspired by blues legends, riffing on the myth of the crossroads, as well as an eleven-part love letter to the African diaspora – specifically African-Americans, whose sacrifices have contributed to the still-suppressed freedoms of Black folk globally. A number of the poems in The Geez are written in a form called the Gimbal, which was developed by Nii – initially to work through his enduring grief at the loss of his father. It evokes the workings of a gyroscope – spinning but stable –a state that echoes the liminality that anchors this collection.
Peepal Tree Press, 2020