BY JACOB OKETCH
This is a collection of poems by Alexander Nderitu, a seasoned Kenyan writer who happens to share a birthday with literary giant William Shakespeare. This collection is unique in several ways.
Nderitu writes in such a way that he incorporates various devices in his work. The poems are narrative in form – he employs dialogue in most of his pieces and introduces several characters in his verses. In a sense, his poetry is an amalgamation of narration and versification. Unlike most poets, the author does not go out of his way to economize words to suit the short form of poetry.
Reading these pieces, you get the sense that the author is very widely read. This is revealed in his choice of characters and the thematic concerns. The setting of most of his verses in this collection is quite varied. He does not limit himself to the familiar African setting. He actually takes the readers through an array of locations – from Europe to Asia and other places. This demonstrates the power of wide reading. You may not know that the author is African because the subjects of most of his pieces are far removed from the African setting.
The author draws the reader’s attention to the beauty of nature in some of his pieces. His uncanny ability to portray the wonders of nature-in various animals and physical features is breath taking. It reminds one of the particularities of the works of the Caribbean poet Derek Walcott. In fact, it may not be farfetched to submit that the great Caribbean poet could be one of his influences.
In a unique way, the author recreates the lives of some famous writers from the west in a very humorous way. For example, in one of the pieces, he talks about a reunion of these writers in heaven. There is a sense in which this depiction brings alive the spirit of these departed writers. It also reveals the literary trends that influenced the writer’s creative trajectory.
This collection is very humorous. The author demonstrates a talent for humor in most of his pieces. The reader enjoys the message in the pieces because of this infusion of comic situations. He employs this device, mostly in pieces that address the theme of love and relationships. You will notice that the author is very diverse in his thematic considerations, talking about love, nature, history, politics, and science among others. This thematic versatility gives the book a wider appeal.
This collection is not strictly poetry. In fact, there are some pieces that could easily be categorized as short stories. What the author has done is that he has rendered the pieces in form of verse. If the pieces were to be rearranged, they would come out as prose. And this is where the author’s narrative abilities come into the fore.
The Moon is Made of Cheese is a great piece of work. It is one of the author’s earlier works. He is a versatile writer who has penned other titles including plays and novels. Going by what is contained in this collection, it whets the appetite of his readers for more of his works. Some of his other works include; When the whirlwind Passes, a novel and Kiss Commander Promise, which is a play. You notice that Mr Nderitu is an all round writer who straddles the genres like a colossus. At this rate, he is destined to be one of the greatest authors to emerge from the African continent.
Reviewer is author of Aphorisms and Poems of Light