Regina Asinde on SHARDS OF BROKENNESS

                                                                    A reader’s review

On the book cover is a dirt brown clay pot with a devastating crack that possibly renders it useless for holding water, but does nothing to take away from its beauty. The inscription on the 2nd page of the book lets us in on Asinde’s interpretation. It’s a play on crack-pot: a foolish or eccentric person. It is a quote from Thomas J. Watson “…. speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crack pot’ than the stigma of conformity.”

Poetry is first and foremost song, and later subject. That’s the subheading of the book. While I read I can’t help but pay attention to that. At times it’s a chant, one woman calling out beckoning that we too, join her presuming, hopeful, but still single “we.” At times it’s a wail, a singular voice sailing to the ends of what is possible and flirting with escapist fantasy like murder in her poem treason. It is fast, it is urgent it is exclaiming ever so often. It is angry as she unapologetically writes “brother, when speaking talk not of the things that shall linger languidly in my heart but of things that rouse my ire”. It is fluid, it is beating, it is loud, to be complemented by percussion instruments.

Her style is simple, her work is naked, with no masks of complicated metaphors nor ashamed vagueness nor elusive mystery. Her work is richest for its courage and truth telling. In Activista she cracks the crucible of her mind and reveals that there is no unnecessary complexity in how she weighs reality, swinging straight from justice to injustice, right to wrong, never stopping for the in between, where the quicksand there stalls action. Regina sees the pen as a weapon to take to the Arena of Politics, her role merely to Watch and Pen.

In Mama and I, Regina reveals why she speaks out. Retelling an incident between her mom and younger self she recalls sitting there in pain and unable to speak out at the fireplace. Comparing that feeling to suffocating. She writes to find people that are just like her, that need to speak lest they will choke on words unsaid.

The book is not just about governance and I must confess I feel her depth more in her exploration of individual emotions. She describes herself as a “woman chasing shadows across desolate rocks”. Admitting to feelings of being unsure, grief as she mourns a lover, marriage, loneliness, guilt, lost dreams and other shards of brokenness.

If you are like me, and look for poets who speak their truth and are trying to connect to people as we are and not who we are supposed to be or who we pretend to be. This book is for you.

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This review was written by a guest blogger who prefers to remain anonymous. “...a 26 year old aspiring writer who is not yet as brave as Regina to share their name.”

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