All posts by Richard Oduor Oduku

Eating the Rich: A Review of Nkosinathi Sithole’s Hunger Eats a Man

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: Hunger Eats a Man
  • Author: Nkosinathi Sithole
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (South Africa)
  • Number of pages: 166
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Hunger Eats a Man is a story of the grim, riotous cycle of poverty and hopelessness, violence and oppression, lying gods and ancestors, and the necessity of political revolutions. The novel is set in Ndlalidlindoda – a sprawling geography of destitution in Gxumani near Drakensberg mountains. More…

A Poet That More People Should Know: A Review of A Book of Rooms by Kobus Moolman

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: A Book of Rooms
  • Author: Kobus Moolman
  • Publisher: Deep South
  • Number of pages: 98
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Poetry

To get a glimpse of the innermost spaces of A Book of Rooms, one must be cognisant of how creative works come into being. There are works that spring wholly from the poet’s intention to produce a specific result. To achieve this, the poet treats the material, adding to it, subtracting from it, emphasising an effect here, toning an effect there, keenly juggling the laws of form and style, all the while working towards the intended, ultimate end. This is a scenario where the poet is aware and is in control of the creative process. More…

How to Enjoy Poetry without Understanding It: A Review of The Hate Artist by Niran Okewole

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: The Hate Artist
  • Author: Niran Okewole
  • Publisher: Khalam Editions
  • Number of pages: 67
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

Reading Charles Bernstein’s essay on ‘The Difficult Poem’ is instructive before one begins interacting with The Hate Artist by Niran Okewole. ‘All of us from time to time encounter a difficult poem’. It may be from a friend, a family member, and sometimes it is a poem we have written ourselves’. As the author and frequent reader of difficult poems, Bernstein explores ways of making the reader’s experience with the difficult poem more rewarding and recommends strategies for coping with such poems. More…

The Bottom of Another Tale: A Review

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: The Bottom of Another Tale
  • Author: Su’eddie Vershima Agema
  • Publisher: Sevhage Publishers
  • Number of pages: 146
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

The Bottom of Another Tale is a veritable collection of twenty-six stories. Most are confident and moving, with unique and original characters, and a balance of character and plot. Most are intense and zesty, neatly wrought servings with different textures and flavours. It is a carefully considered collection. More…

I Am Not Ashamed of Tears

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: Let’s rain
  • Author: Fatiha Morchid
  • Publisher: Marsam
  • Number of pages: 86
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Poetry

Fatiha Morchid’s Let’s rain is a volume of meditative and aphoristic poems about ecstasy, longing, love and pain. Morchid is a poet, writer, and a paediatrician. She is the winner of the 2010 Moroccan Poetry Prize. The poems in Let’s rain were originally written in Arabic and have been translated into English by Norddine Zouitni. From the first poem, ‘Let’s rain’, to the last poem, ‘Things of essence’, the feeling is one of free-flow. With simplicity and directness, the poet ensures that the actuality of poetry is not lost in a mass of intellectual abstractions. The poems speak to the reader in a voice that is soft, elastic, and rubbery – an intoxication one struggles to break away from.

More…

In Praise of Death: An Existentialist Reading of Smithereens of Death

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: Smithereens of Death
  • Author: Olubunmi Familoni
  • Publisher: WriteHouse Collective, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Number of pages: 124
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

‘Life is about death; tiny pieces of dying… but when the last piece has been peeled away, the grief that remains is an open sore on the hearts of those left behind – you cannot cover it with anything, with living … It will not heal tomorrow, or the day after …’ (‘A Rain of Many Things’, p 88)

 Life is inherently devoid of meaning. Like Jean-Paul Sartre would say, it is up to man to find meaning for himself. The inherent meaninglessness does not equal doom and depression. Rather, it opens up doors of possibilities and feeds the idea that we earn our freedom by finding ourselves and creating our own meanings. Existentialism lies at the heart of Smithereens of Death. In this collection of short stories, the characters create their own sense of purpose because of the failure of externalities – God and society – to provide one. More…

Christine Coates’ Homegrown is an Alcove of Memory and History: A Review

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: Homegrown
  • Author: Christine Coates
  • Publisher: Modjaji Books
  • Pages: 69
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Poetry

Homegrown is a delicate intertwining of personal memory and national history. Memory has always been regarded a high art, even a sacred one, closely akin to the arts of divination and inspiration. In Homegrown, the emotions of daily life litter the pages with acute specificity. Coates uses narrative and everyday conversational language to weave personal experiences and memory as a way of investigating universal themes. The straightforward verse style and colloquial tone and simplicity radiates nostalgia so pervasive, yet so entrancing, in its effort to hold your hand and walk you through all the spaces the poet has passed through. Indeed, the poet sings, ‘I love to go a-wandering – in the dusty town of Africa’. More…