"I do not know
the path of the light

but that
of the dark,

that long and savage way,
that long and savage way

in the dark of the wood."

The title of this slender book comes from Dante’s Divine Comedy, referring to “a place of estrangement and consignment.” Ganya’s collection of poems is tinged with violence in history, the horrors of oppression, and the power of insurgencies. He views the world through the journey of a soul, traveling through darkness and light. He carefully reminds us that not all human experience is shared or universal, but all of us, as humans, do feel love, loss, beauty, and despair. His poems address our need for identity, the fear of the unknown, of loneliness, alienation, and anxiety prevalent among humans. He is particularly fascinated with the complexities of our earthly lives and the terrifying wonders of what awaits us in the beyond.

For Ganya, death is “a cold and ugly thing,” and his poems are melancholic, full of sorrow and despair, with glimmers of hope in a fragmented, brutal world. In “The Dream of Night,” the poet is cast alone, plodding through a dream, bound by a “bewildering darkness” and ultimately circumvents the toll of “eternal slumber.” With “The Swell of Insurgency,” the author observes through the eyes of an African child a “hope in this new world” and “a new consciousness” that emerges from the aftermath of the horrors of slavery. And in a particularly striking poem, “Out of the Dour Rut,” he imagines the wild emergence of a soul, the words shaped on the page as if a soul winding in air.

A trained medical doctor in South Africa, Ganya attempts, through his words, to “narrate…the modern human condition.” The collection includes brief poems with only three or four lines, while others are longer or more off-beat. Each one is powerfully rendered and beautifully imagined. Dedicated to his twin brother, this is a mesmerizing read.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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