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Poetry African

let us not think of them as barbarians

by (author) Peter Midgley

NeWest Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
African, Places, Death
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2019
    List Price

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Peter Midgley's let us not think of them as barbarians is a bold narrative of love, migration, and war hewn from the stones of Namibia. Sensual and intimate, these evocative poems fold into each other to renew and undermine multiple poetic traditions. Gradually, the poems assemble an ombindi--an ancestral cairn--from a history of violent disruption. Underlying the intense language is an exploration of African philosophy and its potential for changing our view of the world. Even as the poems look to the past, they push the reader towards a future that is as relevant to contemporary Canada as it is to the Namibian earth that bled them.

About the author

Peter Midgley is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. He is the author twelve books for children and adults, including three volumes of poetry. His latest book of poetry, let us not think of them as barbarians, was shortlisted for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry.


Peter Midgley's profile page


  • Nominated, Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry at the Alberta Literary Awards
  • Commended, Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada - Poetry Category

Excerpt: let us not think of them as barbarians (by (author) Peter Midgley)

you cannot write these things down
you cannot write them down
you cannot write them down
says the singer of praises.
the warm draft of summer
the burn of stone on bare feet
the blood of my rivers--
you cannot write this down
you cannot create calligraphies of pain
says the singer of sorrows.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for let us not think of them as barbarians:
"This book offers a necessary paean to an often-forgotten tragedy."
~ Catherine Owen, Canadian Literature
"These poems do double work: they challenge what we think we know about the relationship between history and the present and ask us to consider what else would be going on. The poems demand that we reflect on how we come to knowledge, especially that which is not hegemonic but is definitely central to another world."
~ Juliane Okot Bitek, author of 100 Days

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