Click to download Around This Fire 3: Responses to Edwin Madu’s Poetry for the Mildly Insane



Writing the foreword of this third edition of responses to digital poetry chapbooks published by Praxis Magazine Online was not only humbling, but eye-opening. In Around This Fire 3, a string of brusque yet picturesque responsorial verses like psalms, you’ll find humour in the everydayness of survival, collective and personal narratives woven with such mastery that is a collection of voices as Jay Sizemore, Mary McCarthy, Wale Owoade, Nome Patrick, Yugo Gabriel and more. Reading through AAround This Fire 3, you’ll be burned

“when they nail you down in a box of lies…

When all you do

is misnamed, misunderstood,

turned upside down,

forced by strangers into

shapes you never chose.”   <Mary McCarthy>

And will become the ash of burnt wood as Abdullahi maps the on-your-own attitude of a society with a dead conscience that is ours. Like me, in tears you’ll accept Abullahi’s almost perfect truth that:

“We were born in the part of town

Where all the gods were deaf”

And just before you dissolve into the dark of barren reality, Saddiq Dzukogi speaks of hope in “happiness” and there again I hope, like you will too, that





And others “born into the arms of hell” as a fearless Nome Patrick puts it.

Click to download Around This Fire 3: Responses to Edwin Madu’s Poetry for the Mildly Insane

But this collection speaks more than here; it is poetically laden with the polemics of forgetfulness. Today someone is victim of a flame someone else would experience tomorrow, and we yet living are witnesses. M. Zane McClellan takes us there in the music of flames as

“We watched, benumbed, as

the fire died and rose to heaven

on the wings of a thousand sparks”

In what seems like a Grecian parable, Jay Sizemore preaches the language of survival when he adds that

“The river loses no sleep

over thoughts of the ocean”

I can go on and on letting you into the sea of words that is Around This Fire 3, but like Breyten Breytenbach stated somewhere in a round table discussion on poetry and the claimants of its rent, “the reader of a poem is the poem itself,” this chapbook will become you, owning you—tongue, face and all, like a mirror possessing your frame.


Ehi’zogie Iyeomoan
October 2016

Click to download Around This Fire 3: Responses to Edwin Madu’s Poetry for the Mildly Insane

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