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Collective Amnesia

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  29 reviews
This highly-anticipated debut collection from one of the country's most acclaimed young voices marks a massive shift in South African poetry. Koleka Putuma's exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history in Collective Amnesia is fearless and unwavering. Her incendiary poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing. In them, Putuma explodes the idea of autho ...more
Paperback, First Edition, 112 pages
Published March 2017 by uHlanga
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Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read and reread and loved so much poetry in high school, then I don't know what happened. Mostly read dead white men but also some poignant works by South African poets on Apartheid.
Haven't been giving poetry the attention it deserves since, and I know I'm not the only one who can't remember when or how their relationship with poetry began fading away.

Last year during the best book fest in the world, the Abantu Book Festival of course, I got to experience this young and bewitching
Luna Miguel
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Solo quiero enseñaros el fragmento de un poema.

Pero antes debería poneros en contexto.

La autora de los versos que vais a leer al final de esta página es Koleka Putuma, una activista sudafricana nacida en 1993 que ha conseguido que su primer libro de poemas se convierta en un bestseller no sólo en su país, sino en buena parte del continente africano. En España podemos leerlo gracias a la editorial Flores raras y a la traducción de Arrate Hidalgo y Lawrence Schimel.
Nicole Scavino
Favourite Part:

14 |

To be honest,
I am terrified of lovers who come without baggage
Where do you come from?
Where have you packed your stuff?
Where did you leave it?
Why is it not here?
What are you hiding?

11 |

I want to stop
slaughtering myself

and calling you
the sacrifice


Reflexive. Nothing has been forgotten.
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not every day that I get offered complimentary copies by publishers and I am mighty glad that it had to be this one.

I've watched a few YouTube videos of Koleka Putuma's and I was in awe of her powerful delivery. Reading a collection of her work is a hundred times more powerful. The poetry is grouped into 3 lots of very uncomfortable works. These are not syrupy let-me-count-the-ways type of poems. These are not sonnets, limericks nor haikus.

There are no forms, rhymes nor defined
Loranne Davelaar
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poëzie
Ik vond niet alle gedichten even sterk maar toevallig wel net die paar die uit bullet points bestaan, al heb ik geen idee wat dat verder over de poëzie (of over mij) zegt.
Sipho Lukhele
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I not really a poetry fan and I loved this book. The language is accommodating and most of the themes I can relate to. Some of the poems are less than five lines yet fully packed and will get leave you thinking.

Koleka is an important voice and is gifted!
Puleng Hopper
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book of poems must be read with mind and book open simultaneously . Putuma expresses interesting , thought provoking and emotive viewpoints on death, Christianity, misogyny, land, race, homophobia , rape, education , God, alcohol abuse, Mandela and many more. The titles of her poems are not obvious. They are out of the box kind of stuff. Her poems are easy to read, especially for people who are not poetry inclined.
Kakstad, Hand Me Downs, Growing Up Black And Christian, On Black Solida
Francine Maessen
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, feminism
First I thought, not this again. Political poetry just doesn't work for me most of the time (yes, I know this comes from a place of privilege but I'm talking about esthetics now).

Then I thought, wait, this is actually becoming pretty good.

Then Putuma started writing less political and more personal and I had my doubts about that (personal poetry tends to only become good when it reaches some point of universality, I think, and that can be hard when writing really personal
Marie Ainomugisha
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I don’t want to die with my
hands up
legs open.”
- Koleka Putuma

Collective Amnesia is a black South African memoir and garner of poetries that speaks to and about the silences endured from womxnhood, blackness, religionism, colonialism, traditionalism and lesbianism.

“Her incendiary poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing.” - as per official praise to KP for continually elevating our poetic history as black Africans.

The cryings, the
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Here is a review by Lorraine:
Elena Beatriz
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Me parece maravillosa la visión de la negritud que se enfrenta a un sometimiento religioso que la raza blanca y cristiana ha instaurado en su país. Además, la interseccionalidad que introduce a través de los argumentos del activismo feminista y lésbico hacen que sus versos se conviertan en un canto por la igualdad social.
Zvikomborero Blessing
It doesn’t even make sense to mark this book as read, as in finished, it’s the type of book I will for a long time be “currently reading” (but I have to meet my goodreads reading challenge so its now read)

I have not read or listened to a lot of poetry, just occasionally moved by the popular ones, so this was a great “introduction”.
The poems are gentle, even though they are addressing difficult topics.
The poems read like she sat in my jumbled up brain organised my thoughts
Anh Nguyen
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Koleka Putuma’s poetry collection titled “Collective Amnesia” is effortlessly written while painstakingly revealing intimate realities faced by black, queer womxn bodies in post-Apartheid South Africa. Her thematic poems underscore contradictions within conservative Christianity, and question the hetero-patriarchal normative that is derivative of Eurocentric colonialism. Her survivorship through traumas is evident in every page, such as growing up in her father/pastor’s home while masking her se ...more
Callan Garber
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandisiwe Magadla
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I easily went into this knowing it would be a full five stars. Yes, I did have a hint of doubt at some point but it was immediately gone by the time I started reading it. I've had the fortunate of hearing Putuma read and her poems command attention. The title, "Collective Amnesia" immediately grabs attention. What is this "Collective Amnesia" Putuma speaks about? Being South African, I had an idea. A common idea that we all share as South Africans that something is wrong or offbeat. By calling i ...more
Nyakallo Maleke
Putuma's writes with a tone, prose, a silence and a simplicity that is direct but also detailed with intricate sentiments, metaphors and complexities that are embedded within and experienced by a woman who, by context of the social categories and differences constructed by a cis heteronormative society she cheekily unfolds the complexities and impacts of what it means to be a black /queer/ woman in South Africa, navigating between religious upbringings, navigating between space and ways of defin ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Only 4 stars bc I'm not really into poetry, but this was a nice collection of poems.

They were critical, personal, heart-wrenching, confronting and gave unique insights and universal hardships for a person that is on the 'minority' side of the intersectionality scale.

Collective Amnesia takes the bull of collective, convenient forgetting by its horns and is an unapologetic eye-opener.

It also feels like a battle song in some parts: the revolution is coming, and we (people of color, wo
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, poetry
These are not poems you read but poems you feel and experience. One made me burst into tears and many other had me raving. So good and so honest, it cuts right through all imperialist-white supremacist-capitalist-patriarchal-bullshit. I'm a fan. I've already read most of these poems twice and I know I will turn to them again and again. Thank you Koleka Putuma
Patrick Al-de Lange
Certain of these poems hit me like a brick in the face.
Certain of these poems I couldn't recite to my partner without choking back tears.
Some of these poems gave me an insight I didn't have before into black South Afrika.
All of these poems should be read.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've been looking for this book everywhere, I had such high expectations after reading rave reviews. The first 3 pieces are really good, reincarnation was my favourite.
I don't care too much for love/heartbreak poetry so the rest of the book was just o.k.
Olivia Bethea
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was the first book of poetry I’ve ever read. I picked it up during a trip in Johannesburg. I especially enjoyed the poems: No Easter Sunday for Queers, Coming Home, 21 Ways of Leaving, Promise Land, Water, and 1995: A Love Poem.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting & moving conclusion to my visit to Cape Town. I suspect I'll read it a few more times over the next few years.
Aug 12, 2019 added it
Loved every moment reading this book.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best poetry books I have read my entire life. The words are so well written that they stay in your bones forever
Hannah (fullybookedreviews)
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Victoria Peechatt
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The closest collection of poetry I've read to me, my time, and my words. References to religion, pop culture, and the connected world
Kathleen Ebersohn-Khuvutlu
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Utterly stunning. Koleka Putuma speaks frankly and uses words to demand justice. Her poetry is devastating, beautiful and necessary. I intend to buy this book many times and for many people.
Lauren Ellwood
rated it it was amazing
Oct 01, 2017
Yolanda González
rated it it was amazing
Feb 26, 2019
Zozo Bango
rated it it was amazing
Aug 28, 2019
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