It was a Merlot and Amy Winehouse kind of evening when I decided it was time to dive into some poetry reading. There’s something very old school cool about reading from an actual hardcopy as opposed to reading from a Kindle, phone or computer. The whole experience feels so retro-rich and as if you’re connecting with the author on a more intimate level. I had been putting off reading Collective Amnesia by Kokela Putuma for a while now — the SA Book Fair 2017 was a while ago. But it was for good reason, Putuma is not the type of poet you read to escape, you read to confront, ever so eloquently.
I never thought much of the title before I started reading the book. Not in a bad way, it just didn’t resonate with anything in me at the first few glances. The image on the book had some reminisce of film noir for me, but even then, neither the title or the image of the book could’ve adequately prepared me for the content and context of the book. I was moved in places I didn’t even know existed in of me. Each piece holds some profound truth to such an intense magnitude and suddenly, the title of the book makes all the sense in the world. “Collective Amnesia” — it’s as if we all simultaneously forgot, yet the residuals and aftermath is all right in front of us, right under our noses.
Some pieces were difficult to read, my blood would rush right up to my tear ducts threatening to erupt. Other pieces felt like home — like that aunt that comes to visit every blue moon and understands everything you are feeling with little to no explanation. Then there are a couple that made me fall in love with love again, and the liberation that comes with it all.
Everyone deserves a copy of this remarkable book in their office, study, library, and/or home. It’s easily one of the best poetry books I have bought and read, in my entire life! Want a copy? Get yours from Exclusive Books or Amazon. Happy reading!