REVIEW.

LOST GIRLS, a poetry chapbook by Akello Charlotte.



I have mixed feelings about written poetry. Barring the ability or inability of the reader knowing how to read poetry, a poorly crafted poem can be nothing more than a drab sputter of words on a page with the poet drowning in overused cliches. However, crafted well, written poetry can transport you and touch those places locked away within your heart of hearts and deepest corners of your mind that you will be looking around you just to make sure nobody can see your nakedness which the poet has laid bare on a page, a stairwell going down into an abyss that just keeps going; exciting and frightening. Charlotte Akello harnesses this skill admirably  in this her very first chapbook, Lost Girls.

Lost Girls is Charlotte exploring topics close to her heart like Family, Home, heritage, war and womanhood, exploring the aspects that define her. The collection is laced with a sombre tone and delivered in such true honesty, akin to works pulled from the writer’s deepest and darkest corners, that it makes me feel guilty for knowing some of her deepest feelings. Picture stumbling upon her personal diary.

She keeps her poems as stripped down as she can allow, reducing the useless chatter. Somewhat similar to the way she strips her soul bare while writing the poems and as she searches for meaning and identity.

In the first poem, “Home – a crevice”, intriguing is her mixture of displeasure and contentment with which she describes home. She shows a need within her to break out and soar but yet, in the third line, shows a contentment of the comfort she feels when home, using words like “warm”.

One of my favorite works in the collection is “Songs” in  which she borrows music as a metaphor to reveal the futility of our aspirations, how we wait for a coming generation that will instead use our gravestones as anchors for their houses. God knows I love metaphors!

Charlotte’s choice of words is also quite enviable. It showed that she put some effort into finding suitable words for a suitable phrase, for a suitable image. I constantly found myself thinking,“I wish I had coined that!”

The collection wasn’t short of humour either. In her piece, “Crossing Ugandan Roads”, she describes the dilema that may beset a pedestrian trying to wade through the raving mad hysterical drivers and riders of Uganda. Though quite lighthearted, the poems point on a serious matter of road user indiscipline. With the context of the chapbook, I might hazard a guess and say this perticular piece reflects the confusion in her mind as she tried to answer the questions of the lost girl within her, coming in contact with indiscipline people in her walk of life and the occasional “angels rare this side”.

All in all, Lost Girls is a beautiful collection of heartfelt honest poems seeking to find meaning and direction. Any lover of poetry must get his/her hands on this chapbook. I will leave you with Charlotte Akello’s opening words in the chapbook:

“I want to tie home around my neck and walk away.”

To get the LOST GIRLS chapbook contact;

Charlotte Akello

Email; charlotteake@gmail.com

Facebook; Charlotte Ake Lottie

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“THE POETRY SESSION IN JINJA THROUGH MY EYES.” BRIAN USHERS.

Here is some critique of our activities this year by one of the audience members at the 2nd poetry session on 31st October, Mr. Brian Ushers Senyonjo. The following excerpt is in his own words.

I candidly arrived earlier than most of the poetry attendees had. I found Mr‬ Jude Thaddeus and Mr. Omara Isaac already steadfast with their organizing task as the head honchos of Uganda Writers’ Foundation. They had by 10:00am put the Fr.Rev.Picavet hall in order, lockers for the audience were already put in order both horizontally and vertically.When i had just arrived i saw ‪‎Thaddeus‬ moving around like beetles on their drudgery work of building themselves a house, Thaddeus was making incessant calls and welcoming all revelers of the mega poetry session. The first high school arrived and even religious clerics had arrived;a moment that made Mr.Thadeus to start off the session as now time was not an ally of the session. The emceeing feat was done by two lads,Thaddeus in tandem with Etute‬The poetry session was kick-started by an opening prayer and just after it, McThaddeus‬ called the first poet to give us the first poetry piece from the poetry clutch that had hailed from Kampala. Katusiime Sandra started by giving us her piece. Being familiar with Sandra before the session, i was so interested in seeing her perform.I had never seen her do her live poetry feats.She was really good. What i noticed about her, was the way she kept changing her speaking tone colloquially, a skill that impressed me and a gesture that her inclination for poetry is undisputed. 

Katusiime Sandra Otumu

Next on stage was poet TheRoyal Akatwijuka Ian‬, as he is popularly known . His poetry had high affinity for African beauty. He was composed, pulling off his poetic words with actions and gestures to bring out a clear picture of his interpretation of African beauty and his great love for it. His lovely diction left the audience swept off to the ground. Akatwijuka,wherever you are, i loved your selection of sweet lovely words to describe African beauty. ‪#‎Kudos‬

The Royal up on stage.

Alex,the poet with an African stature and physiognomy, was African even in appearance.He was clad in an African kitenge(both shirt and trouser)Alex’s great inclination for poetry was evident in his nomenclature introduction on the high-raised podium of the Fr.Picavet Hall of the Mighty Jinja S.S.His piece, “Outlet” turned out conspicuous and an anthem of the session. It was so opposed to the daily life of human life. He was trying to espouse contrasting statements on nature like a line when he said, “Let the fertile pages of a book seduce the castrated pens” Alex with his head-G placed on his head, had to produce the “Outlet” poem on the criterion of following the systematic/chronological order of aligning it on weekly days. He was smart and so philosophical.His poem evoked the MC, Thaddeus to tell poet Alex re-echo it as it was so philosophical.By now poetry had taken the hall by a storm.We later received Jordan‬, a member of the Azania poetry group that had come from Uganda Christian University, Mukono.Jordan-Azania gave us a conspicuous Midas touch of poetry that the previous poets hadn’t pulled off.It was now evident that each poet had a brand to identify him/her by as Jordan’s poetry stunt was so full of Hip hop suave..His poem “I am” was pulled off phonetically as he tried to draw all those finding hurdles in life through receiving scorn and ridicule from people, to seek solace in this particular poem . JazmineAhmed‬ from Azania also solely was invited to stage.She was so brown as her skin complexion connoted. Her poem was about dissing a co-wife whom they were competing with a husband. She was really about throwing tantrums to her love-competitor. then farouq rounded it all up really uniquely. His poem was more about pulling off that preaching methodology of poetry. His accent was akin to that of the current U.S president Barrack Obama.He was having breakages in his poetic lines a thing his fellow poets hadn’t previously done. I loved Farouq for his oratory way of delivering his poetic pieces.#Kudos to Poet Farouq. I loved it that all the poets were captured and so the Ugandans will get their work on video CD.I would like to forward my sincere gratitude to Uganda Writers’ Foundation for the journey it is making all Uganda writers to tread. Happy New Year!