How the First Sparks Became Visible
In her sweeping epistolary poems, Atangana Bekono explores the relationship between body and identity, and ways of expressing this in poetry. The problematic nature of the body features in the very first poem of the collection, 'I'. Following a forest birth – beyond civilisation, as it were – it is the silhouette rather than the body that speaks up, denying its physicality and connection with the earth: "a body become unrecognisable/greedy and chaotic /with no roots in the earth". Simone Atangana Bekono’s poetry constantly alternates between combativeness and tenderness, showing how the personal can be simultaneously poetic and political.