Testimonies of Exile

Abena P.A. Busia

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Paperback (91 pages)

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Reader Reviews

In analyzing "Testimonies of Exile" a number of themes were realized. The poet's major theme that runs through the fifty-six poems is the theme of alienation from her homeland, Ghana. Alienation as treated is seen as moving from ones country and not being able to go back due to situations that one cannot help. Abena discusses alienation bringing out other forms such as alienation from one's culture, history and from oneself. She again discusses the fact that through alienation one now has acquired self-knowledge. Alienation from ones culture is seen in the poem Exile which also happens to discuss alienation in its totality. That is being alienated prevents one to perform his cultural rites like funerals, and the effect is permanent alienation from ones culture Again we find alienation from oneself or ones wishes in the poem "A sense of writing" in this poem the poet is unable to write a script because of her inability to gather her thoughts. In terms of style, the language was identified to be simple and self-explanatory. She also uses versification in her poems, that is, some poems are single stanzas example "Petition" and others have more than one stanzas like "Testimonies for Father." She also uses symbols in her presentation, for instance the use of "communion wine and Wafer" in "Testimonies for Father" when she compares their love for their father to the love Christians share for Christ. Abena beautifully combines her style and themes in her collection. One can say that there is congruity between the two. We realize that through her style of presentation, her themes are very well exploited. Again, in her use of internal monologue, her themes are well exploited. In presenting the theme of alienation from oneself, for instance, Abena writes "and anyway I can't go home" as if she is talking to herself. She uses very simple words as well as lower case letters in starting the poem. The poem lacks punctuation marks. This leaves us to realize that she is by herself since the rules of writing are not applied when one is talking to oneself. Again, through her titles of the poems, her themes are well presented. She uses titles that directly expose her subject matter; that is to say, her titles are directly and forcefully presented. For example, the title "Exile" portrays the subject matter instantly. It could be said finally that the themes and stylistic features of Abena Busia's poems complement each other in depicting the poetic vision of the writer. Thus on can say that there is a great deal of congruity between the subject matter and the style of the poems of Abena Busia's TESTIMONIES OF EXILE.