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  Femi Osofisan
  Tanure Ojaide
  Brian Chikwava
  Hugh Hodge
  Helon Habila
  Muhammad Jalal A. Hashim
  Ogaga Ifowodo
  Edwin Gaarder
  Harry Garuba
  Toyin Adewale-Gabriel
  Zukiswa Wanner
  Ike Okonta
  Maxim Uzoatu
  George Ngwane
  Ike Anya
  E. E. Sule
  Beverley Nambozo
  Obi Nwakanma
  Matthew Dodwell
  Ikhide Ikheloa
  Afam Akeh
  Femi Oyebode
  Chika Unigwe
  Linda Chase
  Mohamed Bushara
  Wale Okediran
  Niran Ok
  Remi Raji
  Ahmed Maiwada

  Laura King

  Chuma Nwokolo


Laura King    

Two Poems

Laura King is a poetry activist whose poems have appeared in several publications. She is also a member of Backroom Poets and coordinates reading workshops and other events for the group.


  Trip to China

She treasures it, I see car boot stalls
When I look at the unremarkable china plate set
Mounted on her living room wall.
Inherited from her grandmother, so not her own taste,
Can she really like it, or is family sentiment more the case?
But that fussy pale pattern of insipid muddy flowers
Or is there something amiss with me? I muse,
missing it, and half the story,
As she relates the worst day of her life -
When her late husband accidentally dropped the matching jug.

The teapot holds court, worshipped in the alcove.
Well they used to cost a months' wages, you know
So you'd only buy them for very special occasions
(never to use them ever afterwards though).
A funny indulgence for a poor family
Scraping by on a few shillings a week
You'd have thought new clothes might have been more important
Or food, or doctor's bills, or furniture, or sheets.
But she comes from an age where tea sets mattered
While she slept with three sisters on lumpy horsehair
Coats for bedclothes, ice on the water jug.
Dreaming of certainty in a constant teapot world…



Gravitas and Gherkins

Give me an imperious Romanesque building
That looks down on me from austere portico-hooded eyes
that issue their Orders, any day of the week
Rather than a prefab glass ‘n’ steel gherkin
That I can look down on and laugh at
Where is the grandeur or permanence in that?
I want to take my buildings seriously
If of my times they’ll bear testimony
Well you can have too much “inclusivity”
Too much excuse for landscape blots
‘Disabled access’ is just part of the plot
To demolish all that went before
Leaving us history and heritage-poor
I want to aspire to architecture
Not have it bend down to design me in
I want to marvel at buildings
As I marvel at the stars
I want them to be -
God-like in their awe-inspiring ability
Grandiose echoes of vastness
Emphasising my littleness
Monuments to craftsmanship
Memorials to the went-before of humanship
What’s so bad about Classical mausolea
If they stop you taking life for granted,
Urge you on and up to meet their greatness?
So dwarf me, tower over me,
Keep me in my place
Dominate me, intimidate me
Spare a thought for poor posterity
We can modify you in sympathy
With 21st Century needs
Buildings of a splendour rivalling countryside
Sure beat the pants off a landscape backside
If greenbelts must be tightened.
But look at the pennies saved
Spewing buildings short-lived as fashions
For impressionists in substance
Trapped in now egos

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