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The Actual

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Penned in the Margins

Publisher notes

The Actual is a symphony of personal and political fury - sometimes probing delicately, sometimes burning with raw energy. In 55 poems that swerve and crackle with a rare music, Inua Ellams unleashes a full-throated assault on empire and its legacies of racism, injustice and toxic masculinity.
Written on the author's phone, in transit, between meetings, before falling asleep and just after waking, this is poetry as polemic, as an act of resistance, but also as dream-vision. At its heart, this book confronts the absolutism and 'foolish machismo' of hero culture-from Perseus to Trump, from Batman to Boko Haram. Through the thick gauze of history, these breathtaking poems look the world square in the face and ask, "What the actual - ?".
*'This is what poetry looks like when you have nothing to lose, when you speak from the heart, when you have spent years honing your craft so that you can be free. This is what poetry looks like when you are a word sorcerer, a linguistic swordsman, a metaphor-dazzler, a passionate creator of poetry as fire, as lament, as beauty, as reflection, as argument, as home. I was blown away by this book'* **Bernadine Evaristo**
*'This first collections is a masterclass in subtlety: poems that manage to be tender, angry, vulnerable, sad, funny, yearning and interrogating of history, both recent and long ago, all at once. It's a phenomenal piece of work about what it is to exist in this time, and his dissection of pop culture, colonialism, social interactions and the cruelty of the world, of men, of systems will be read and studied for years.'* *Nikesh Shukla* **




Penned in the Margins



Paperback / softback





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