Clifton Gachagua’s collection Madman at Kilifi, winner of the
Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, concerns itself with
the immediacy of cultures in flux, cybercommunication and the
language of consumerism, polyglot politics and intrigue, sexual
ambivalence and studied whimsy, and the mind of a sensitive,
intelligent, and curious poet who stands in the midst of it all.
Gachagua’s is a world fully grounded in the postmodern
Kenyan cultural cauldron, a world in which people speak with
“satellite mouths,” with bodies that are “singing machines,” and in
which the most we can do is “collide against each other.” Here
light is graceful, and we glow like undiscovered galaxies and
shifting matter. And here as well, we find new expression in a
poetry that moves as we do.