How many abortions have fallen out of your mouth
while counting the men in your life?
Madness sits at the dinner table, too,
saying grace with one eye open.”
This highly-anticipated debut collection from one of the country’s most acclaimed young voices marks a massive shift in South African poetry. Koleka Putuma’s exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history in Collective Amnesia is fearless and unwavering. Her incendiary poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing. In them, Putuma explodes the idea of authority in various spaces – academia, religion, politics, relationships – to ask what has been learnt and what must be unlearnt. Through grief and memory, pain and joy, sex and self-care, Collective Amnesia is a powerful appraisal, reminder and revelation of all that has been forgotten and ignored, both in South African society, and within ourselves.
Koleka Putuma was born in Port Elizabeth in 1993. An award-winning performance poet, facilitator and theatre-maker, her plays include UHM and Mbuzeni, as well as two two plays for children, Ekhaya and Scoop. Her work has travelled around the world, with her poetry garnering her national prizes, such as the 2014 National Poetry Slam Championship and the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize.