Echoes from the Rock of Eternal Torment


Worth reading 😎

A collection of poems which flow through community life using proverbs as their foundation. Five rivers of different experiences.

Echoes from the Rock of Eternal Torment is a study in wisdom poetry, defined by the author as “the form of deep talk that uses proverbs as the substructures of poems”. Divided into five sections labelled as rivers, the poems are thematically collated into Nothingness, Eternity, Time, Self and Community. They take the reader on a journey through life: relationships, ways of being, societal expectations and attitudes. The many and varied nature references create a strong sense of place – Africa, with its bountiful natural landscapes and rich wildlife. Because each poem draws from proverbs, and the proverbs stem from the African continent, the reader’s five senses are readily engaged through the vivid imagery and evocative descriptions of community life. The poems’ foundations in proverbs provide a sense of timelessness that adds weight to their validity. Through similes and metaphors the narrative and situational poems invite a strong emotional response.

Proverbs are written in a certain style. Building poems on short-phrase sentences can create a stilted effect at times. It also leads to repetition, as some proverbs are used in multiple poems. However, it also fits the content because – as Kyko-K explains – “the proverb is the most deeply resonant verbal symbol”.

The main obstacle to this book is the typographic layout: the spacing leads to words being split, sometimes inadvertently creating new, smaller words, altering the meaning of the content. These gaps break the reader’s thoughts, interrupting the flow of the story and decreasing the profundity of the message. All lines start with capital letters, even when it’s clear that a second line is a continued thought. This also hinders fluency. The layout could be improved, abolishing the loose lines at the tops and bottoms of pages. The book’s presentation would benefit from altering the plain section headings to highlight them more effectively. Perhaps simple drawings could have been integrated, supplementing the cover illustration of the hand with five fingers which each have a hand of their own (indicating to this reader, at least the continuity of many aspects of life, interwoven with each other to make a whole).

The source of poems in this book is unique. It reframed my thinking as I found myself wondering, “What proverbs from my own language could I collate into wisdom poetry of my own?” Books that challenge and inspire me are those I aspire to put on my personal shelves. As the African proverb states, “When you stand tall in life, It is because you stand on the shoulders of so many ancestors”. Read Kyko-K’s book and stand taller.

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My first book features my journey through depression and into wellness. I’m working on my second book, with enough material for five such books featuring poems and art. I’ve scoped two prose books and a picture book. My ability to transcend these ideas into reality depends on time-watch this space!

About the author

Kyko-K, PhD, is a teacher, poet, wisdom keeper, and scholar of indigenous wisdom traditions. Kyko-K’s philosophical goal is to do for African wisdom what Laozi achieved for Chinese wisdom, becoming a wisdom-seeker who discovers a new trail of knowledge by following the footsteps of his ancestors. view profile

Published on February 05, 2020

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20000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Poetry

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