Read Collected Poems by Chinua Achebe Online


A collection of poetry spanning the full range of the African-born author's acclaimed career has been updated to include seven never-before-published works, as well as much of his early poetry that explores such themes as the African consciousness, the tragedy of Biafra, and the mysteries of human relationships....

Title : Collected Poems
Author :
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ISBN : 9780307517913
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 96 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Collected Poems Reviews

  • Rowena
    2019-04-26 05:13

    I found a copy of Achebe’s collected poems at the library quite by chance. It’s a thin book with less than 90 pages. The book was split into five sections: Prologue, Poems About War, Poems Not About War , Gods, Men and Others, and Epilogue. I enjoyed these simple poems that dealt with various topics, including war,love, African life and mythology.In 1966, Achebe says: “Absentminded our thoughtful days sat at dire controls and played indolently.” The section entitled Poems About War discussed the Biafran War. “Christmas in Biafra” was especially poignant: “This sunken-eyed moment wobbling Down the rocky steepness on broken Bones slowly fearfully to hideous Concourse of gathering sorrows in the valley Will yet become in another year a lost Christmas irretrievable in the heights.” I also liked Pine Tree in Spring, which was dedicated to Leon Damas: “Pine tree flag bearer of green memory across the breach of a desolate hour Loyal tree that stood guard alone in austere emeraldry over Nature’s recumbent standard Pine tree lost now in the shade of traitors decked out flamboyantly marching back unabashed to the colors they betrayed Fine tree erect and trustworthy what school can teach me your silent, stubborn fidelity?”All in all, a nice poetry collection that made me wish Achebe had written more.

  • Matthew
    2019-05-01 09:07

    A man crossing the roadto greet a friendis much too slow.His friend cut in halveshas other worries nowthan a friendly handshakeat noon.- Air Raid (from Poems About War)* * *I will sing only in waitingsilence your power to bearmy dream for me in your quieteyes and wrap the dust of our blisteredfeet in golden anklets readyfor the return someday of ourbanished dance.- Love Song (from Poems Not About War)

  • Mohammed
    2019-05-04 09:12

    The poetry in this collection was divided in four sections. "Prolouge","Poems about War", "Poems not about War",Epilouge.The most powerful and my fav poem in the collection "A Mother In A Refugee Camp," about a mother's love for her child, her hopeless acceptance of that child's imminent death from starvation. Achebe painted a haunting image of the mother in few lines.Other favs are "Mango Seedling","Lazarus","Lament of the Sacred python","Dereliction","Knowing Robs Us. There were many different poems in the collection, there were some humorous,ironic,cheerful ones too. Mostly i enjoyed the ones that was clearly about the myths,legends of his culture,country. The ones about war becomes more powerful with his writing,his intelligence.Only reason i dont rate this collection 5 stars is because the second half of the poems was not as brilliant as the first half.

  • Barbm1020
    2019-04-29 07:56

    I read this very slim book today and found it memorable and touching. Chinua Achebe is from Nigeria and is much-honored there. Especially appropriate for today is the poem "After a war"After a war life catchesdesperately at passing hints of normalcy likevines entwining a hollowtwig; its famished rootsclose on rubble and everypiece of broken glass.Irritations we usedto curse return to joyoustables like prodgals homefrom the city....The meter manserving my maiden bill broughta friendly face to my circleof sullen strangers and mesmiling gratefully to the door.After a warwe clutch at watery scum pulsating on listlesseddies of our spentdeluge....Convalescentdancers rising too soonto rejoin their circle danceour powerless feet intentas before but no longeradept contrive onlyhalf-rememberedeccentric steps.After yearsof pressing deathand dizzy last-hour reprieveswe're glad to dump our fearsand our perilous gains togetherin one shallow grace and fleethe same rueful way we camestraight home to haunted revelry.

  • Melissa
    2019-05-17 09:57

    Essential to understanding the work of Chimamanda Adichie and the crisis of the Nigerian Civil War.

  • Jennifer Jimenez
    2019-05-06 02:50

    Solid book of poems

  • metaphor
    2019-04-26 05:12

    Bear with me my lovein the hour of my silence;the air is crisscrossed byloud omens and songbirdsfearing reprisals of middle dayhave hidden away their noteswrapped up in leaves of cocoyam…. [...]I will sing only in waitingsilence your power to bearmy dream for me in your quieteyes and wrap the dust of our blisteredfeet in golden anklets readyfor the return someday of ourbanished dance.

  • Patti
    2019-05-21 04:02

    I'm not really a poetry reader. My favorites are "A Mother in a Refugee Camp" and "Air Raid." Both very sad, very dark.

  • Ms. D
    2019-05-02 02:52

    Achebe explains in his parable-preface that whenever he tried to get his poetry published, he heard, "We do very well with your novels, you know." Luckily, he eventually changed publishers. Here are a few of his incredible poems:The First Shot That lone rifle-shot anonymousin the dark striding chest-highthrough a nervous suburb at the breakof our season of thunders will yetsteep its flight and lodgemore firmly than the greater noisesahead in the forehead of memory.A Mother in a Refugee CampNo Madonna and Child could touchHer tenderness for a sonShe would soon have to forget....The air was heavy with odors of diarrhea,Of unwashed children with washed-out ribsAnd dried-up bottoms waddling in labored stepsBehind blown-empty bellies. Other mothers thereHad long ceased to care, but not this one:She held a ghost-smile between her teeth,And in her eyes the memoryOf a mother's pride.... She had bathed himAnd rubbed him down with bare palms.She took from their bundle of possessionsA broken comb and combedThe rust-colored hair left on his skullAnd then--humming in her eyes--began carefully to part it.In their former life this was perhapsA little act of no consequenceBefore his breakfast and school; now she did itLike putting flowers on a tiny grave.VulturesIn the greyness and drizzle of one despondent dawn unstirred by harbingers of sunbreak a vulture perching high on broken bones of a dead tree nestled close to his mate his smooth bashed-in head, a pebble on a stem rooted in a dump of gross feathers, inclined affectionately to hers. Yesterday they picked the eyes of a swollen corpse in a water-logged trench and ate the things in its bowel. Full gorged they chose their roost keeping the hollowed remnant in easy range of cold telescopic eyes...Strange indeed how love in other ways so particular will pick a corner in that charnel-house tidy it and coil up there, perhaps even fall asleep - her face turned to the wall! ...Thus the Commandant at Belsen Camp going home for the day with fumes of human roast clinging rebelliously to his hairy nostrils will stop at the wayside sweet-shop and pick up a chocolate for his tender offspring waiting at home for Daddy's return...Praise bounteous providence if you will that grants even an ogre its glow-worm tenderness encapsulated in icy caverns of a cruel heart or else despair for in the very germ of that kindred love is lodged the perpetuity of evil.

  • James
    2019-05-15 07:55

    Within the bright yet unremarkable cover of this small book is the world as seen through the eyes of Mr. Chinua Achebe. The world witnessed by this talented Nigerian-born author and poet contains death, hope, strife, hunger, joy, love, wisdom, and wonder—and Achebe ushers his audience on an emotional journey through them all. As I read Collected Poems, I became more interested in the poet himself and was driven to learn more about the man behind the words. What continues to impress me the most about Achebe is the half-century span of his creative effort and quiet achievement in literature. As I thought more on this, I found that beside his sometimes brutally heart-wrenching imagery, what disturbs me about this man’s literary work is that America is mostly unaware of its existence.As undeniable proof that big things come in small packages, Achebe’s mastery of the English vocabulary shines in this thin but powerful collection of poetry. He begins with a short preface then presents his poetry in five categorized chapters. At the back of the book are a few pages of notes, which I found to be a welcome and indispensable reference.Steeped in the tragedies of a Biafra too soon forgotten, the chapter titled “Poems About War” is perhaps the most compelling. Achebe brings to light aspects of war sometimes overlooked. For example, in “A Mother In A Refugee Camp”, a mother’s love for her child converges with her hopeless acceptance of that child’s imminent death from starvation. Passing on into the chapter of “Poems Not About War,” the reader will discover such gems as “Public Execution In Pictures” and marvel at Achebe’s ability to capture the emotion of such an event. The poem expresses gratitude that children who see atrocities in newspaper photographs have not themselves witnessed them firsthand. At the same time, there is an unspoken regret that they may never fully understand injustice and or human suffering.Much of this book has seen prior publication in 1973’s Christmas in Biafra and Other Poems. For those of us whose memory of the Biafran War has grown dim and for those unfortunate enough not to have read his earlier book, the reintroduction of Achebe’s vision in Collected Poems is nothing short of a gift. So mired are we in our own day-to-day minutia that we rarely notice what has happened or what is happening elsewhere in human terms. Mr. Achebe has, with his elegant words in Collected Poems, given both a reason and a means to see beyond our own doorstep.

  • Grady McCallie
    2019-05-26 05:57

    Most of these poems did not grab or move me. They are erudite, drawing on tropes from Igbo culture and from European letters. I'm sure I missed a lot of both, but for example caught an echo of W.H. Auden's Musee des Beaux Arts ("About suffering they were never wrong./ The old Masters: how well they understood/ its human position...") in Achebe's poem 'Lazarus' ("..How well they understood, those grim-faced/ villagers wielding their crimson/ weapons once more, how well/ they understood ..."). In this case, the villagers don't understand suffering; they understand justice, and kill the victim of an automobile accident because they have just killed the driver, and fear punishment if the victim unexpectedly survives. It's a kind of counterpoint to Auden's vision - not just that people's lives are parochial and we lack empathy for distant pain, but that we are so perverse as to make a bad situation that much more painful. Another poem I liked a great deal is 'Dereliction':I quit the carved stoolin my father's hut to the swellingchant of saber-tooth termitesraising in the pith of its wooda white-bellied stalagmiteWhere does a runner go whose oily grip drops the baton handed by the faithful onein a hard, merciless race? Orthe priestly elder who bartersfor the curio collector's headof tobacco the holy staffof his people?Let them try the land where the sea retreatsLet them try the landwhere the sea retreatsAn explanatory footnote indicates that the three sections of the poem are meant to be attributed to different narrators: the first, asking the question; the second, a priest, meditating; and the third, the answer of the oracle. What to do if one has failed to carry out one's inherited responsibilities? I take the oracle - to go to the land where the sea has retreated - as a signal that there is no real solution, since the tide will turn and the sea will come back in, drowning that refuge. I wonder what the poem meant to Achebe in the context of his own life - the failed effort to free Biafra (the subject of several other poems), his own eventual permanent relocation to the United States.

  • Kristin
    2019-05-19 04:54

    Select poems from this were a joy to read, but the book as a whole felt a bit uneven. The final piece, "We Laughed At Him" was probably my favorite, though I also loved "Dereliction" and "Those Gods Are Children." For some reason, I was hoping to find more of a music to the poems than was there. Achebe's work has always seemed musical to me, and I felt that this collection was missing somewhat in that. The poems are, however, accessible and short, so I think anyone even vaguely interested should have this out from the library and take a quick look.

  • Laura
    2019-05-19 11:08

    I don't think I like poetry very much.

  • Yuri Bernales
    2019-05-15 08:59

    In this collection Achebe I think is at his best poetizing on war.

  • Vaishnavi
    2019-04-30 07:45

    Too gory for me.

  • Roger
    2019-05-01 06:55

    Most of it is accessible even without knowing much about his culture. I was surprised how often I laughed out loud, although often in shock not humor.

  • Aad
    2019-05-16 06:55

    Tidak terlalu suka dengan puisi-puisi Acehebe di buku ini.

  • Nick Ernst
    2019-04-30 08:02

    Beautiful, angry, and sad.

  • Mitch
    2019-05-14 10:14

    "Their two errands collide"Some very impactful lines in these poems.

  • N R
    2019-05-17 05:48

    Some stand out verse here; difficult themes; brilliant Preface/Parable.

  • Karen
    2019-04-28 05:08

    Chinua Achebe's poems from this collection are rich, evocative and bring to light the complexities and struggles of wartime. Known primarily as a renowned author of novels, he is also an accomplished poet who spreads a message through stark images. The characters of some poems literally jump off the page notably the song for Anna. This is the first collection of Chinua Achebe's I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. Recommended for poetry/history lovers.

  • Rachel Terry
    2019-05-01 06:11

    Achebe's prose seems so poetic to me that I wanted to read some of his poetry. Some of these poems are real gems, like "A Mother in a Refugee Camp" and "After a War." He's a master of poignancy, and he has a real way with words, even in his second language. Many of these poems, though, felt like prose forced into stanzas instead of an idea crystallized in poetry. Still, it's definitely worth the read. Achebe has a depth of soul that is a marvel to peer into.