If you are a fan of new generation African poets like Warsan Shire, Safia Elhillo, Ggenga Adesina and others, the chances are that you have a taste for the more experimental kind of poetry. Nganji’s visual poem titled “Poem for Philomene” should be right up your alley.

Nganji is a congolese-born and Belgium based photographer/filmmaker. Last week, he shared a new piece of work on twitter that immediately caught our attention.

Apparently, he was going through a collection of personal videos he shot in Congo when he decided to create a poetic tribute that captured the sense of bereavement he’d felt ever since he lost his grandmother whose name was Philomene.

As he reveals in an email conversation, the visual poem is built around a set of footages he captured of “an intimate moment” between Philomene and her daughter, Aziza, who is Nganji’s mother.

“The pain of not having her around anymore,” he writes, “is sometimes as equally overwhelming as the inspiration I get from her soul-full legacy.” The poem is an attempt to explore that sense of loss and inspiration.

“Poem for Philomene” is 2:30 minutes of stunning visuals and mesmerizing audio. It succeeds as an attempt to record a set of beautiful moments in a woman’s life. It also gives a universal dimension to the experience of grieving, which, as some of you may know, is personal and unique to each individual.

Kudos to Nganji for giving us a work of art that is both moving and worthy of celebration.

Click here to find more of Nganji’s work.

poem for philomene from Nganji on Vimeo.



Post image by cbrain.

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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