‘The Animals of My Earth School,’ is a gift to readers of all ages, because it has dared to imagine, to feel and to experience animals as they think deeply, live intentionally and thrive. Imagine ‘The Life of Pi’, as a poetry collection.
There is a gravitation towards escaping to a quiet place to read poetry, in order to dwell in its mystery and enchantment.
Mildred Barya has taken us to a world where it is possible for peace to reign. An animal utopia of sorts. And yet she is careful to draw parallel lines between human consciousness.
Locusts. What a brave and apt poem, that declares humanity and love as the victors of our life’s quest. Despite numerous attempts at vanity, greed and disloyalty, consciousness always wins.
Not only do we become drawn into an animal universe, noticing animals which we may have previously ignored, we also enjoy the stories, the dialogue, the dare-devil missteps and the entertainment of daily life.
The poetry is well structured, orchestrated to fit into our lives as we seek answers, as we look for that word which summarises how we feel and as we observe so many untold mishaps around us. The animals are a force to reckon with, engaging in the best and worst ways, allowing us to consider our actions and to dream at the same time, of possibilities.
From ants, beetles, chicken, antelope and many more, the range of selection also gives the reader a range of emotion and movement to explore.
This is Mildred Kiconco Barya’s foruth full length poetry collection. She teaches creative writing and literature at UNC-Asheville.
The Animals of my Earth School is available at African Writers Trust and on Amazon. Get your copy. You won’t regret it.
Reviewed by Beverley