This powerful collection of poems details the harrowing experiences endured by Abani and other political prisoners at the hands of Nigeria’s military regime in the late 1980s.
Abani vividly describes the characters that peopled this dark world, from prison inmates such as John James, tortured to death at the age of fourteen, to the general overseers. First published after his release from jail in 1991, Kalakuta Republic remains a paean to those who suffered and to the indomitable human spirit.
About the Author
Chris Abani is a Nigerian poet and novelist. Publications include The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Song For Night (Telegram, 2008) and Graceland (FSG/Picador 2005). He is a professor at the University of California and the recipient of many prizes, including the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the PEN Hemingway Prize.
‘Abani’s poetry resonates with a devastating beauty which cuts to the heart of human strength, survival and tyranny.’ Pride Magazine
‘Reading Abani’s poems is like being singed by a red hot iron.’ Harold Pinter
‘Stunning poems … Abani conveys the experience in words shaped into art and made unforgettable by their quietness.’
'A beautiful work of art ... elevates art and humanity above meanness and inhumanity.'
World Literature Today
'A brave and challenging book ... I was moved as much by what the poems have achieved as by what they have rescued from that nightmare world. Reading, I found myself in tears.'