Book: Knots and Nine – Thoughts and Poems
Author: Mark Ayieko Wandera
Reviewer: Vincent de Paul
Mark Ayieko Wandera is a young promising Kenyan poet with a magical way with words. This collection of poems, which he has self-published for reasons I don’t want to speculate, speaks volumes of what he wants to tell the world. Though it sometimes comes off as musings of a heart hurt and broken by love, the writer has addressed quite a number of themes: love, healing, relationships, hope, peace, war, parenthood, and much more.
Mark has broken several poetry rules, but yet which avant-garde poet doesn’t? He has not laboured the reader with intricate traditional styles that follow a specific template. The language is simple and straightforward, the kind of poems you read like lyrics (of your favourite song).
In the poem ‘Love Builds Father’ absentee fatherhood is shown how it affects children, and how couples grow apart and what happens to them is shown in ‘Growing [too] Apart’, something many of us can relate to. I have several favourites there, to select one would be injustice to the others. The good thing is, they are relatable, address issues affecting the society today in a simple yet powerful manner.
Apart from the good of it all, there are weaknesses that the writer should check on: use of sheng. Seriously, that is a total put off, and it is the first poem that greets you – ‘Recovery’. Were it not for giving him the benefit of the doubt I would have stopped right there and trashed the book. Such language is cheap for any poet, avant-garde or not, to be taken seriously by a large audience who find pleasure in literature.
Also, the self-published tag screams right from the first page, interior design, copyrighting, and all. Understandably so, self-publishing is revolutionizing publishing, but when one goes that route risks being vanity writer if they don’t employ professional services or don’t have a professional look in their works.
That said, the book is good, connecting. I would give it three stars.