Saltwater Demands a Psalm: Poems
In Ghana's Akan tradition, on the eighth day of life a child is named according to the day of the week on which they were born. This marks their true birth. In Kweku Abimbola's rhapsodic debut, the intimacy of this practice yields an intricately layered poetics of time and body based in Black possibility, ancestry, and joy. While odes and praise songs celebrate rituals of self- and collective-care--of durags, stank faces, and dance--Abimbola's elegies imagine alternate lives and afterlives for those slain by police, returning to naming as a means of rebirth and reconnection following the lost understanding of time and space that accompanies Black death.
Saltwater Demands a Psalm creates a cosmology in search of Black eternity governed by Adinkra symbols--pictographs central to Ghanaian language and culture in their proverbial meanings--and rooted in units of time created from the rhythms of Black life.These poems groove, remix, and recenter African language and spiritual practice to rejoice in liberation's struggles and triumphs. Abimbola's poetry invokes the ecstasy and sorrow of saying the names of the departed, of seeing and being seen, of being called and calling back.
Earn by promoting books
Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.Become an affiliate
About the Author
"In an era of sloganeering and solipsism, Saltwater Demands a Psalm is a healing, a diasporic divination, an elegy of ancestral elegance. Kweku Abimbola beseeches us: Do you want this / name? / Do you want this name / which is only a prayer? and hymns us a portrait of fully realized Black humanity to counter the bullet riddled headlines and internet memes. Here is a poet with enough heart to Sankofa across oceans, fasten his durag, and libate the page with Adinkra insight. Dear reader, be wise: fix your mind to wonder, lift this tome to your dome and Drink! Drink! Drink!"--Tyehimba Jess
"Saltwater Demands a Psalm, arrives with the assured confidence that comes from an understanding of the force of ritual in poetry--there is, in these poems, a deep sense of tradition and history that is transported through lyric assurance into a poetics that feels excitingly fresh. Abimbola . . . is helping us see ourselves anew, with the power of ancestral vision."--Kwame Dawes