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The Road to Kenema and Other Poems
  • Samuel Hinton, Eastern Kentucky University
In The Road To Kenema Samuel Hinton presents a poignant, sometimes searing portrait of a man who stands with one foot planted firmly in the ageless soil of Africa, the other on the promise-filled shores of America. Balancing memories of his homeland with dreams of his adopted country, Hinton takes his reader on a journey that is often upsetting, but always engaging. In poems such as “The Road To Kenema, Sierra Leone,” “Grave -Digger, Freetown,” he weaves a rich tapestry of a people who celebrate the primal joy of life while the “Rapists,” “Song To Somali Dead,” and “War Child” weep for a land equally primal in its violence and pain. Whether depicting beauty or horror, Hinton’s poems are marked by an appeal to the senses that bring his native land and its people alive; each poem beckons, almost forces, the reader to experience the situation at hand. No less powerful are Hinton’s poems treating his American experience. Underlying each is a tension between a fierce desire to embrace his adopted land and a bitter awareness of this promised land’s shortcomings. In “Of Immigrant Songs,” for example, the new land at once offers voices “ridiculing his duality of being” while at the same time offering “the challenge of responsible/ citizenship, to e pluribus unum/ and yes, a lifetime quest,/the American dream.” Equally disturbing is the voice of “Immigrant Frustrations” that laments, “in the old country/they think ‘you sound American,’/and in the new ‘you have an accent.”
  • poetry
Publication Date
Africa Future Publishers
Sierra Leonean Writers
Citation Information
Samuel Hinton. The Road to Kenema and Other Poems. Schriesheim, Germany(2003)
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