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My Immigrant Blood

Gbanabom Hallowell

“Gbanabom Hallowell's poems are evocative incantations at their best, moving with an hypnotic rhythm that, as Robert Hass says, is itself a political act in that all rhythm moves us.  The lines keep shifting, in his characteristic way, between the large and the small, making each define the other.  He explores subjects…that range from overtly political to the personal, oftentimes counterpointing one against another to create an emotionally powerful statement.  A number of the poems deal with his mother, but also mother earth in a mythic way: indeed, Hallowell might well be described as a poet of powerful national myths, often using them to get at political and personal issues.  In brief these are sophisticated poems of considerable accomplishment.  I think he is a poet we will hear a lot from in the future.”
                    ---Richard Jackson
Award winning poet and author of Unauthorized Autobiography: New and Selected Poems

“When he is writing at his best, Gbanabom Hallowell combines the nomenclature of classic surrealism with a vivid and evocative portrait of his native culture; he also writes poignantly about the consequences of political upheaval and exile.”

                    ---David Wojahn
Award winning poet and author of Strange Good Fortune

In memory of
my mother, Musu
upon whose sudden death,

…the volcano
crept into my bed
agony alive
in my flesh, eyes
alkaloid of pain,
the larvae of my heart,
I hurt in exile…

 From the book:


In the end I threw all the shadows
out of my room with their bags full
of their grievances. They had come to me
seeking shelter, telling me they were
man-child of the promised land.  I knew
I didn't trust the philosophy that invented
them, so we negotiated, and they left their
sandals on the doorway.  Who smells of exile
has no ghost, but I was too engulfed in my
own Rwanda to even see the white palm in the black night.


The games are over, and
I return to report the wars; the night

is the excreta of the day, and
I return to report the smell; the man

is the child of the sun, and
I return to report the scorch; the rain

is the water of the seas, and
I return to report the flood; the bridge

is the secret of death, and
I return to reverse the clock; the road

is the hunger of the mind, and
I return to fence the graveyard; the graveyard

is the house of the unborn, and
I return to donate some blood; the second

is the brother of the minute, and
I return to alert the hour; the edge

is the end of the mind, and
I return to caution the philosopher; the philosopher

is the angel of death, and
I return to alert the living; the flower

is the gun of the lover, and
I return to reason with the heart; the truth

is the sword of the lie, and
I return to arm the victim; the lie

is the smile of the truth, and
I return to trap the perpetrator; the victim

is the brother of the perpetrator, and
I return to clean the blood; the wretched

is the child of the affluent, and
I return to the science of humanity; the subject

is the reverse of the object, and
I return to bury my double edged sword; the dead

is the audience of the living, and
I return to act the drama; the living man

is the judge of the dead, and
I return to argue their case; the forest

is the infant of the jungle, and
I return to study the law.

Whenever Sierra Leone restores its urgent sense of literature, Gbanabom Hallowell will be paraded as his nation's quintessential post-war writer.  Author of a collection of poems, Drumbeats of War, a collection of novellas, The Lust of Cain, and a collection of war essays and articles, Tears of the Sweet Peninsula, Hallowell, who holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College, is on the English faculty of the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia, and an adjunct professor of English at Prince George's and Howard Community colleges.  His essay, "The Claustrophobia of Exile: African Poets Writing in the Wasteland," appeared in the December 2005 issue of The Writer's Chronicle, and another essay, "African Verse & the Cultural Forces of World Poetry" will appear in the November 2006 issue of Seabreeze.

an online literary journal to
promote Sierra Leone writing.

E. Gbanabom Hallowell
Editor & Founder

My Immigrant Blood
is an 84 page hand-sewn book with spine - $14.00


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