On Sunday, May 28th in the cosy basement of the Waterstones on Tottenham Court road, Siana Bangura read from and discussed her debut book, Elephant.
As a standard fiction novel reader, a poetry hour event isn’t my usual cup of tea. However, when I came across the promotion for this event I was curious to discover what the world of poetry had to offer and so I got my tickets and journeyed to central London for my induction into the world of poetry.
The poetry hour was part of a string of events hosted by the Litro Weekender Magazine for their World Series instalment; a weekend dedicated to the cultural and literary landscapes of Ghana and Nigeria. After a warm welcome from Catherine of Litro Magazine and a chat with the bubbly Siana, we settled down to enjoy the hour.
Siana’s book, Elephant, is a collection of poems that boldly address the elephant in the room. The poems range from topics such as womanhood and gentrification to race and immigration. The words were honest, sometimes brutally so, causing me to flinch and wonder what the other listener’s were thinking. I found myself nodding deeply in agreement one moment, and then uttering a quiet “really?” the next one, as I pondered on something else that had been said.
Siana’s poems say words that have often crossed my mind but only ever leave my lips in the confines of my home. Her work is raw and beautiful at the same time. She squarely deals with issues that are often shied away from due to political correctness. By doing so, she sheds light on these issues for those who would otherwise have been ignorant to now have the opportunity to read and understand. All of this is done gracefully as she weaves the words to tell the story.
Her readings were interspersed with lively discussions from the group and we were encouraged to share our thoughts, opinions and perspectives on the topics. It was such an enlightening and refreshing experience and I’m keen to dig into her book to absorb the entire collection, not to mention picking up a few more poetry books that were recommended on the day. I guess I can now happily claim to love poetry, thanks Siana and Litro Weekender for the beautiful induction!
~ Read it Now ~
Siana Bangura is a writer, blogger, and freelance journalist from London. She is also an award-winning poet. After studying history at the University of Cambridge, Siana debuted her first poetry collection, Elephant, which explores being a black woman in today’s society. Her debut collection of poetry was published via the Haus of Liberated Reading in May 2016.
Get Elephant on Amazon here now!