let us not think of them as barbarians is a bold narrative of love, migration, and war hewn from the stones of Namibia. Sensual and intimate, these evocative poems fold into each other to renew and undermine multiple poetic traditions. Gradually, the poems assemble an ombindi—an ancestral cairn—from a history of violent disruption. Underlying the intense language is an exploration of African philosophy and its potential for changing our view of the world. Even as the poems look to the past, they push the reader towards a future that is as relevant to contemporary Canada as it is to the Namibian earth that bled them.
Unquiet Bones does not shy away from politics, whether documenting efforts to uproot colonialism or the number of murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. In these dramatic and uncompromising poems rove between Canada and Africa, stopping briefly to consider struggles for democracy in places as diverse as Hong Kong and ancient Rome. With lines that look for justice and record our search for human dignity, these poems show us "bodies silent as crocodiles on the kavango" and how "freedom is a lovely word, thin as a thousand paper lights." But still there is time to dream beside a campfire, to caress a beloved or contemplate the "lilied throat of evening."
These are physical poems, poems where you can hear the shells exploding and feel the sea ice closing in on you, poems that linger long in your memory.
In Counting Teeth: A Namibian story, Peter Midgley travels the byways of Namibia, along with his teenaged daughter, Sinead. A long-awaited return to his childhood home, Midgley’s journey weaves history, politics and a stunning landscape together with a storyteller’s flare. Midgley deftly moves between the bitter past of the country, with its long history of war, to its complicated present where fragments of the South African imposed apartheid still catch the author unaware and mix strangely with the lively, forward-looking Namibia that he is travelling through. Counting Teeth brings the country to life for the reader, its towns populated with unforgettable characters and its stories spilled out like the semi-precious stones the author is offered along the way.