Imagine a world set up like this; roles have changed the wife suits up and works to put food on the table whilst the husband is unemployed domesticated and has to run the day to day household issues. Many societies would laugh it off and describe this as a social blasphemy, but well this is the 21st century and tides have changed.
Patriarchally structured societies are being defied on an everyday basis, it has become a norm. This is what Valentine Tusai and the ‘feminists’ have to say in Swimming emotions.
Swimming emotions is an anthology of poems that reflects on what can be referred to by many as the “social taboos” of a metaphorically demasculinised patriarchy. Compiled by Valentine Tusai and the feminists (female poets from across Africa and the world), the poems are a reflection of the diversified point- of-view that we as humans exist in not only in Africa but the rest of the world.
A quick read into the first poems, the reader will notice that the collections are a response to the male voice in the initial poem “Swimming emotions”. The man who feels he has been miniaturized into nothing but a cook and sexual pleasure for his career wife expresses his concerns and seeks answers to them through being inquisitive of her actions. The man laments on issues of promiscuity, the wife’s emotional absence and being the butt of the joke within the circle that he exists in for having exchanged roles with the wife.
I don’t feel like i explain it
Why does everyone whisper when I pass by? My friends too! Why do you come how smelling fresh instead of being sweaty? You sleep tired but don’t wake up eager for my mojo no more My mind is convolulated with thoughts, are you someone’s sport
The poems by the various women are a direct yet varying response to a man’s deepest fears. The catchy elements in the poems, is how many different feels to one situation life can have. In “Concealed Gravidity” the woman takes pride in providing for her family
While in “Emotional piecemeal” the wife feels the need of separating with the husband but the same social stereotypes she has managed to break in building her career are holding her back in her home.
Thoughts of leaving you have dominated my mind but my patriarchial aunt advised me to fight for my marriage no matter what….
Surrogate Affair sees the wife drift away from the husband’s boring bedroom antics into the arms of a man she considers her equal in both stature and sexual virility. The wife lampoons the husband for his lack of a job both in the bedroom and in the boardroom. I’m on fire in his stolen arms Hooked on to the outings, flights, flowers and the sweet endearment He works, takes charge and keeps fit. You laze about lay back and impregnate….
In “Unappreciated” the woman feels exactly like what the title spells out, unappreciated. Her efforts to keep her marriage intact and at the same time run her with her career. The wife is more assuring for her love and support to her husband, negating his claims of her being unfaithful
I am happy you recognize my fitness. Pleased that you adorn me while I dream But I detest you for thinking I may be someone’s sport.
An entire thesis can be derived from this 43 paged anthology as the collection reflects on the notion that there is no one answer in life. This is more the reason why readers should get a copy and interpret life in the manner that they think fits.
Stylistically, if an avid literature reader has come across P’Bitek’s book Song of Lawino and fallen in love with the poetic styling in swimming emotions is their type of read
This anthology definitely goes against the societal grain and is guaranteed to leave poet enthusiasts thirsty for more.
A plus for feminist poetry lovers!!! Swimming Emotions is Valentine Tusai’s fourth publication and is set to drop on the 28th of June 2017. It will be downloadable for free therefore keep on the ground for what is to follow.