Congratulations to first year English Literature and Creative Writing student Hyla Etame, who recently had her poem, ‘Love Letter to My Fatherland‘ published by the online literary journal Blue Marble Review.
For Hyla, the piece is of great personal significance. ‘In this poem, I long for an ancestral home that I have yet to go to,’ she explains. ‘Many first or second-generation immigrants can relate to this, and I love how even the most intimate of subjects can generate this feeling of connection.’
As a student at Kent, Hyla’s poetic craft has developed and evolved on her course. She continues:
“My course exposes me to a variety of texts which ignite my imagination. I hope to expand my portfolio while at uni so that I can share more of my work in the literary world.”
Dr Matt Whittle, Director of the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies commented on this success saying ‘The poem is very moving and evocative of the Cameroonian environment and atmosphere that’s longed for. It speaks eloquently to the dilemma voiced by many postcolonial writers that migration opens up two worlds that one is both alienated from but also always connected to.’
Love Letter to My Fatherland.
I long to walk on the shores
of your beaches,
touch the cool Atlantic—
A horizon of nothing.
I want to taste your beer,
smoke cigarettes with the middle-aged men
in the open-air bars that are in-service
from late afternoon to the early hours of the morning.
To step into the terra-cotta clay mud
of your dirt roads in the countryside
and glide on the smooth pavement of Yaoundé.
To be stared at as I shop in the markets,
be called “foreigner”, “stranger”, “American”
in the native tongues.
To speak broken French with my Francophone family,
nearly perfected English with my Anglophone side,
and eavesdrop on the surrounding conversations
spoken in Pidgin.
I know more than they think, ha-ha.
To savor your smoked barracuda,
long for it to be in every dish…
To glare at the statues commemorating imperialists…
To devour the fried plantains cooked as a midday snack.
To be stung by your mosquitoes
as I hike in your national parks.
To be embraced by my fellow countrymen and women
as if I had been born and bred there.