Peter Midgley’s let us not think of them as barbarians is a bold narrative of love, migration, and war hewn from the stones of Namibia. Sensual and intimate, these evocative poems fold into each other to renew and undermine multiple poetic traditions. Gradually, the poems assemble an ombindi—an ancestral cairn—from a history of violent disruption. Underlying the intense language is an exploration of African philosophy and its potential for changing our view of the world. Even as the poems look to the past, they push the reader towards a future that is as relevant to contemporary Canada as it is to the Namibian earth that bled them.
Praise for let us not think of them as barbarians:
“These poems do double work: they challenge what we think we know about the relationship between history and the present and ask us to consider what else would be going on. The poems demand that we reflect on how we come to knowledge, especially that which is not hegemonic but is definitely central to another world.”
~ Juliane Okot Bitek, author of 100 Days
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Read an Excerpt
YOU CANNOT WRITE THESE THINGS DOWN
you cannot write these things down you cannot write them down you cannot write them down says the singer of praises.
the warm draft of summer the burn of stone on bare feet the blood of my rivers--
you cannot write this down you cannot create calligraphies of pain says the singer of sorrows.