Reviews

  • "A brilliant debut – a tender, nostalgic and, at times, darkly hilarious exploration of black boyhood, masculinity and grief. A gorgeous and necessary collection from one of my favourite writers"

    Warsan Shire
  • "A remarkable year for first collections. The best, for this reader, was Kayo Chingonyi’s Kumukanda… Whether recalling his parents’ deaths or celebrating the art of the mixtape, Chingonyi’s poise is astonishing"

    Tristram Fane Saunders, Daily Telegraph
  • "His poems are intelligent and moving and find the perfect balance between intricacy and directness"

    Joe Dunthorne, The Observer
  • "Chingonyi thrillingly integrates…rhythms and rhymes with more conventional poetic metrics…with a rare energy, intelligence and sophistication"

    Nicholas Wroe, Guardian
  • "[A] wonderful debut… A subtle and affecting, lyrical and powerful collection that explores boyhood, rites of passage, the ancient and the modern world"

    Jackie Kay, Observer
  • "The book emerges as being about memory and identity in the best and broadest sense… Chingonyi’s poetic voice and style are both highly entertaining and adaptable mixing form with free verse and jargon with slang… But for all its lyrical elegance and at times mannered diction, this is angry and defiant writing, determined to “master the language”, as “The Cricket Test” has it, of privileged white male canonical literature as if to prove a point… Chingonyi goes one better, using his lyric panache to honour pop references and cultural experiences of personal and communal significance while also turning the tables, casting a wry and intelligent eye on our wider attitudes… These terse, memorable poems are testament to the best of Chingonyi’s gifts. Impassioned, witty, socially and politically engaged…the poems turn irony to impressive effect in dissecting our dubious “post-race moment”… Kumukanda is an authentic and convincing book of poems in its many nuanced portrayals and unflinching reflections; rarely is it content to gloss or deceive… Kumukanda is an intricate and intense collection, heady with feeling but guided by thoughtful reflection"

    Ben Wilkinson, Guardian
  • "Navigating the experience of growing up with music, flair and a jaw-dropping formal range, this collection is a thing of beauty"

    Maria Crawford, Financial Times
  • "Full of nostalgia and gentleness as well as being sharply observant"

    Stylist
  • "Chingonyi’s poems are full of questions that need asking. His gift is for pushing poems further than you expected them to go. [A] striking quest of a debut"

    Poetry Book of the Month, Kate Kellaway, Observer
  • "Powerful… These poems are essential and urgent and shine a light on British culture in an unique and spellbinding way"

    Elle, ‘10 'Woke' Works Of Literature You Need To Add To Your Reading List This Year’