Haiku as a genre is less known on the Ghanaian literary landscape. Against this background, the publication of HAIKU RHAPSODIES, (verses from Ghana) by Celestine Nudanu is very timely and historic. HAIKU RHAPSODIES explores a field where no Ghanaian poet has ever published in hard print. Hence Celestine Nudanu’s work distinguishes her as a trailblazer among her contemporaries. And most notably HAIKU RHAPSODIES comes in at the opportune time to answer the world call for haiku to be added to UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
HAIKU RHAPSODIES is a finely structured book arranged under the following themes; Afriku, Nature, Haiku My Heart, the Divine and Death. Through these themes, Celestine Nudanu succeeds in transporting the reader into her world by creating animated, serene and yet powerful scenes. At the same time, the poet draws the reader into the complex yet fascinating phenomena of what life is all about; Love, Death, Spirituality and Life itself. The beauty lies in her skill of brevity as a haiku poet. She writes with elegance, using few words which like magic are enchanting, leaving the reader exhilarated and wanting more.
Celestine is a prolific writer of poetry, plenty of which is showcased on her blog, Reading Pleasure. After gaining a fan base in the past few years, a book was a welcome treat for her readers. C’s work has featured in many international Haiku publications and as such is already well recognised within the Haiku community.
With clear imagery, each bite sized piece is simply written but layered with visual beauty and thoughts personal to the author, this intimate showcasing allows the reader to see a place through Celestine’s eyes. The concepts of the world around her is brought to us in a series delightful vignettes which read like a moment captured in time.
Perusing these, I find myself transported to an Africa I found tangible, Celestine’s eye for observing the things around her and combining them into something so evocative is a pure joy to read. There is a feeling of peace and clarity through the book that encouraged me to take each poem and then spend time to build up one’s image and the accompanying thoughts around it.
The beauty of such poems is that I allowed myself to get lost in this new place, imagination took over and each piece felt like part of a jigsaw building up a picture of an Africa that was in part real and in part my own romantic take upon it. Naturally Ghana and a distinctly African feel came up a lot in my thoughts as I read through but there is also a good amount of content which is distinct from the African connection and appeals at a universal level.
This is a good book to dip into, exploring various themes – Afriku, Nature, Haiku My Heart, The Divine, and Death – and I found myself taking my time to soak up the atmosphere and then build up an image of this personal take on what surrounds us. For me this book is like one of those coffee table books, that one picks up and chooses a page at random but in this case, each morsel is best digested singularly, with concentration and with much reflection.