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From the award-winning poet and playwright behind Barber Shop Chronicles, The Half-God of Rainfall is an epic story and a lyrical exploration of pride, power and female revenge. There is something about Demi. When this boy is angry, rain clouds gather. When he cries, rivers burst their banks and the first time he takes a shot on a basketball court, the deities of the land take note. His mother, Modupe, looks on with a mixture of pride and worry. From close encounters, she knows Gods often act like men: the same fragile egos, the same unpredictable fury and the same sense of entitlement to the bodies of mortals. She will sacrifice everything to protect her son, but she knows the Gods will one day tire of sports fans, their fickle allegiances and misdirected prayers. When that moment comes, it won’t matter how special he is. Only the women in Demi’s life, the mothers, daughters and Goddesses, will stand between him and a lightning bolt.
The Actual is a symphony of personal and political fury-sometimes probing delicately, sometimes burning with raw energy. In 55 poems that swerve and crackle with a rare music, Inua Ellams unleashes a full-throated assault on empire and its legacies of racism, injustice and toxic masculinity. Written on the author's phone, in transit, between meetings, before falling asleep and just after waking, this is poetry as polemic, as an act of resistance, but also as dream-vision. At its heart, this book confronts the absolutism and 'foolish machismo' of hero culture-from Perseus to Trump, from Batman to Boko Haram. Through the thick gauze of history, these breathtaking poems look the world square in the face and ask, What the actual-? . 'This is what poetry looks like when you have nothing to lose, when you speak from the heart, when you have spent years honing your craft so that you can be free. This is what poetry looks like when you are a word sorcerer, a linguistic swordsman, a metaphor-dazzler, a passionate creator of poetry as fire, as lament, as beauty, as reflection, as argument, as home. I was blown away by this book' - Bernardine Evaristo
From the award-winning poet and playwright behind Barber Shop Chronicles, The Half-God of Rainfall is an epic story and a lyrical exploration of pride, power and female revenge. There is something about Demi. When this boy is angry, rain clouds gather. When he cries, rivers burst their banks and the first time he takes a shot on a basketball court, the deities of the land take note. His mother, Modupe, looks on with a mixture of pride and worry. From close encounters, she knows Gods often act like men: the same fragile egos, the same unpredictable fury and the same sense of entitlement to the bodies of mortals. She will sacrifice everything to protect her son, but she knows the Gods will one day tire of sports fans, their fickle allegiances and misdirected prayers. When that moment comes, it won't matter how special he is. Only the women in Demi's life, the mothers, daughters and Goddesses, will stand between him and a lightning bolt.
'The mouthmark Book of Poetry' is an anthology of the individual-author titles published under the mouthmark poetry pamphlet series, comprising the work of Nick Makoha, Inua Ellams, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Jessica Horn, Truth Thomas, Denise Saul, Malika Booker, Janett Plummer and Warsan Shire. The series was conceived by flipped eye publishing's senior editor, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, as a means to get poets from non-mainstream backgrounds - including performance - into print. It was revolutionary for two reasons; first, it was a pamphlet series developed with a specific aim (later, tall-lighthouse would launch its pilot series, and, much later, Faber would launch its New Poets Initiative); second, it was a finite series - to end after ten pamphlets. After some success with the first two pamphlets in the series, Nick Makoha's 'The Lost Collection of an Invisible Man' (2005) and Inua Ellams' '13 Fairy Negro Tales' (2005), the Arts Council of England provided funding for the next four. It took six years for the series to be completed, but its impact far exceeded expectations. Authors such as Inua Ellams, Jacob Sam-La Rose (later editor of the last pamphlet in the series), Nick Makoha and Warsan Shire, have risen to international prominence; three of the pamphlets were cited by the Poetry Book Society pamphlet selectors for their quality; five of the poets have since been chosen for the ground-breaking national Complete Works development programme for UK poets of minority ethnic backgrounds; and Truth Thomas's from his pamphlet 'Party of Black' (2006) was chosen for Nikki Giovanni's 'The 100 Best African American Poems' (Sourcebooks, 2010). Crucially, the series retailed admirably as well, with over 10,000 copies sold at events - and through conventional retail channels. Now, with the release of 'The mouthmark Book of Poetry', readers can experience all nine individual poets published under the mouthmark poetry pamphlet series in this collectible volume that retains hallmarks of the iconic series, such as the distinctive brown paper-look cover with bold black designs.
Candy-Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars is a document of transformations: the possibilities that walk the fine line between the real and the surreal, the mundane and the extraordinary. Contemporary culture clashes with mythology as Bruce Lee angles for space alongside Prometheus on pages where twin towers burn and yellow hues bleed into London sunsets. Yet is is also a text of conversations: the commerce of possibilities, the transformations that memory can inflict on the present, the clear light that today can cast on yesterdays. And through it all there is music - both references to music and musicians and a music of language that Inua Ellams seems to be exploring, testing, riffing on.
To name something is to call it into life, to determine its future. If we let our children name themselves, will they author their own destinies? Will the nameless ones be free? Untitled is a magical realist story set in Nigeria and England, of identical twin boys separated at infancy. In the quarrel after the marred naming ceremony, the mother grabs the titled child and flees, leaving the unnamed brother to lead an impetuous, chaotic, blasphemous existence until the spirits of the land make their stand.
The second in the ground-breaking mouthmark series, 13 Fairy Negro Tales is a vibrant pamphlet of contemporary poetry. In language scooped directly from a paintbrush, Inua Ellams announced his arrival on the poetry scene, with what has become a runaway bestseller. Written in language that has roots in Keats, hip hop rhymes and Shakespearean narrative, 13 Fairy Negro Tales has sold over 2000 copies since its release.