NOTES DE LECTURE
Beneath the Blue Sky
Reviewed by Norbert X Mbu-Mputu
Since he made his entrance in the literary world with his groundbreaking novel, Full Circle (iUniverse, 2003), Frederick Yamusangie, has not stopped surprising us with his writings. To continue his writing venture, Yamusangie has brought us a new book, Beneath the Blue Sky , which is his long waited collection of poems.
When the French poet, André Breton discovered, after a journey in Martinique, the famous Aimé Cessaire's book “ Cahier d'un retour au pays natal ”, a long poem where the author sung his African Negritude, it was in fact the recognition of one of the last and famous poet of the Black conscientiousness movement known as La Negritude. La Negritude saw the light of day when some of Black students living in Paris in 1932, decided to start a literary magazine that their people can relate to. La Negritude of Cesaire is described as a surrealist poetry movement. It rebelled against their mentors and classics poets. Those classics poems were in verses, with chapters and chorus. The poems of La Negritude are free of any style because freedom is their expression. The poet Frederick Yamusangie's book is in the tradition of La Negritude.
The publisher introduced the book by “ At the specified preference of the author, PublishAmerica allowed this work to remain exactly as the author intended, verbatim, without editorial input .” That has allowed Yamusangie to express himself just as he felt while writing his poems and also to stay faithful to his influence, which is La Negritude.
To some of us, it seems like Yamusangie has described himself in the first poems that opens the book, My ‘Raison d'être' as a poet , “ as a poet/ [he] know[s] what is [his] raison d'être …” He has “ the duty to carry out …”, the “ responsibilities to fulfill ”, and “ a destiny to reach ”.
Yamusangie's poems are for celebration… celebration of his life. But as a poet, he is also the one who tries to carry ‘all the sins of Israel ' in his back. His poems also celebrates the “ entire humanity ”, as he writes “ Beneath the Blue Sky lay/Joy and sorrow… ”, especially “ when the sky turns blue ”…
Why? Maybe because, he is the one who could “ listen to the people's cry/Famine, Hopelessness, Confusion/Have became their companion/At home, abroad, there are still dispossess people .”
He also celebrates his parents, families, but also friends, perhaps a girl friend to whom he dedicated the poem Still remember : “ I still remember the day/You took me in your arms…/The heat… The tenderness… /And the love …” She is his “ Princess ”. To make her comfortable with his love, the poet Yamusangie is singing and asking her the question: “ Who said that I have stopped loving you? ”
He celebrates his home country Congo , his Congo that “ are and will always be my Congo /Wherever I go/wherever I settle/wherever I live .”
As a reader, when you have the opportunity to read Yamusangie's poems, you would immediately realize that the author is in the right generation of the poets of La Negritude, the one he himself discovered, par hazard. Discovering La Negritude, He wrote, is like drinking pure water freshly, taken from a spring . And then he listed the names of some famous Black literature heroes: Aimé Cesaire, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Mongo Beti, Camara Laye, etc…
Through his 62 poems, the reader will truly enjoy poetry. Frederick Yamusangie's poems are dreams, songs, historical evocation as he remembered “ The mighty Rome ” with Cicero and his “Catalina's speech”, love, protestation, tears, cries, music, prayer, wind, forbears shadow, environment, blue sky.
Frederick Yamusangie is a writer and a poet of the future for the Black Africans in diasporas who have managed to bridge African and European culture. His new book looks like a light that could burn an entire savannah, as an African proverb says, if only the bush grass is wet. Did the community… his community has discovered his inspirational treasure??? Let's wait and see. ¾
Frederick Yamusangie, Beneath the Blue Sky: A Short Book of Poetry (Baltimore, PublishAmerica, 2005, 79p, 6x9),