BOOK REVIEW: Why 'Season of the Insane' is Kenya's stop for comical poems

The cover of Bob Odhiambo's 'Season of the Insane' anthology which is up for sale in various bookstands, Nairobi, November 7, 2018. /COURTESY
The cover of Bob Odhiambo's 'Season of the Insane' anthology which is up for sale in various bookstands, Nairobi, November 7, 2018. /COURTESY





PAGES: 102

PRICE: Sh500

Season of the Insane is a collection of poems, short stories and jokes (humour bits). The author uses simple language that resonates with a wide range of audiences and specifically the youth.

The anthology employs strikingly current idioms and phrases which pervade the Kenyan pop culture. It is a bold experimentation of language and form with phrases such as slay queen finding their way into some of the genres therein.

Local dialect as a style is extensively used across the genres which gives the collection an African flavor. Most poems utilise the free verse structure that gives them the natural flow devoid of limitations of regular meter and rhythm and which point to the freedom of expression that that author tends to enjoy.

The reader is served with a rich menu of humour in poems like The Day I die which satirizes the unbecoming behavior of mourners at funerals.

Achwaka will leave you breathless with its captivating images and sense of humour.

The short stories in the anthology are biographical in nature, documenting the personal experiences of the author.

Auditions in the City, written in the first person, captures the experiences of a young man (probably the author) in Nairobi in his bid to impress during an interview amidst numerous challenges.

The overriding themes are poverty and corruption and the tone employed is majorly angry and even militant. There are glimpses of influence of the author by the reggae music genre.

The desire for emancipation of the downtrodden from poverty, ignorance and oppression runs through most pieces. The madness/insanity motif is prevalent in better parts of the pieces.

The poem 'Season of the Insane' presents an individual who is angry with the ills in governments and the church and general insanity of the human race. It is a mirror of the today’s society.

This collection is appropriate for those who believe in being part of positive change in the society and in the restoration of moral values.

Those who would want to experience the power of poetry that tells breathtaking stories and stories that are poetic. Grab a copy and you will never stop flipping the pages.