BOOK REVIEW: 327 Thousand Feet High

The front cover of the anthology 327 Thousand Feet High by Anthony Oduori. PHOTO/Bonface Otieno, Scholar Media Africa.
The front cover of the anthology 327 Thousand Feet High by Anthony Oduori. PHOTO/Bonface Otieno, Scholar Media Africa.

Title: 327 Thousand Feet High

Author: Anthony Wesonga Oduori

Edited by: Tom Odhiambo 

Publisher: Contact Zones Publishers

Reviewer: Bonface Otieno

Poetry is a unique genre of expression most writers have incorporated freely in their means to condemn, appreciate, critique, respond to and create new world ideologies. 

Similarly, writers have traditionally intended to have their audiences’ needs met through their artistic works. 

As such, poetry educates, excites, warns, exposes, and rekindles realities and imaginations in the past, present, and future. It appreciates existence in totality, whence all conceivable strands of life are critically dissected.

Recently, free verse poems, in their vast craftsmanship and dissemination, have been unearthed in reflection on the most trending global issues. 

This means has created awareness and sensitization to the world about feelings, thoughts, ideologies, impacts, and decisions camouflaging contemporary existence.

A series of thoughts have constructed precedented results on issues similar to 327 thousand draining problems or an equivalent 327 thousand feet high quantified relative optimism of the common man of a temporary society, middle-class man, or even the first-class person. 

That is how impactful poetry has been on the roadmap, a journey of no return, an ideology of change, consolation, wits, and skills crafted for the betterment of a whole self. Poetry is the panacea antidote to man’s failings, mysteries, grief, and tribulations. 

As such, Anthony Wesonga’s 327 Thousand Feet High is not an exception.

I have read poetry books and blogs before, yet without denial, and some works are uniquely crafted, comprehensive, and self-fulfilling. 327 Thousand Feet High is among such anthologies you would want to keep for your ageing heart, spirit, and thirst for reading a good poem.

327 Thousand Feet High is a debut poetry collection written and published by Anthony Oduori.

It will first surprise you at how reality is impeccably shining through every poem’s lines, testimonies, revelations, accounts, assurance, and skinning of wickedness.

Lol! It will not be proper to write a review of this exemplary text without bringing to your attention the person of Oduori Anthony Wesonga.

The young but experienced Wesonga indulges in mind-blowing creations of aesthetic poems whose core impact is essential and eternal. 

Born and bred in a quiet remote hamlet of Buhulumi, Busia county in Western Kenya, Oduori is familiar with the cultural identity of the western people. This aspect is loudly spat within the silent lines of this anthology.

He attended Lenana School for his secondary education and later attained his first degree in English and Literature at the University of Nairobi. 

However, learning is a “whore” and his attempts to evade it and construct his life only attracted further learning. Oduori earned a master’s degree in international studies at the same institution.

Experiences, passion and burning interest are the motivation a suitor need to woe a young maiden; for his love for literature, Wesonga explored his first love through creativity that bore his first debut poetry anthology Jam on Our Faces (2014).

Experience, spite, self-pity, struggle, victory, shock, inventions, humility, and immorality, among other numerous strands of life, formed a greater part of Wesonga’s ingenuity as he explored the creation of this text. 

In my opinion, considering the wide range of thoughts conveyed in the richness of linguistic juxtaposition, 327 Thousand Feet High is a masterpiece of its kind.

Back cover of 327 Thousand Feet High by Anthony Oduori. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Within the designated 252 pages of the text, 327 thousand feet high collection is structured into five sections, all the sections containing poems written to address sub-topics of the main ideas aligned in chapters. 

Wesonga selectively minds his choice of diction in probing his major ideas and advocates for such consciousness exhaustively. 

The poems are presented in the order as follows: 

Chapter one is about Collective consciousness; chapter two is about Sexual congress; chapter three focuses on Tax Burden; chapter four is about Holicene Epoch; and chapter five, Super Chicken.

According to Adipo Sidang, the author of Parliament of Owls and an award-winning coming-of-age Novella A Boy Named Koko by Longhorn Publishers 2018, Oduori’s anthology, in its complexity exposes the ordinary while, in its simplicity, tosses us to the hardest questions about our contemporary society.

His poetry collection is not only for poets but for all lovers of poetry and the people who care about humanity, life, and peaceful co-existence.

It opens with awakening “collective consciousness”. 

Sarcastically, through flashbacks and vivid description, the writer paints a picture of the world, realities and loathed approaches to handling human flaws and weightier tribulations. 

As much as the language use is complex, the matters addressed are neither inferior. 

The poem “Volumetric capture”, “An Awkward portal”, “Eight friends in Eight years”, “Buy Me Spoon Too”, “Chinese jokes”, “Just a grain of rice”, “The fruit grain”, and “Rogue generals”, among other titles, are just examples of such inclusive but disturbing consciousness the writer pays close attention to.

Anticipated inventions, through the eyes of an eagle like 327 Thousand Feet High, is the phenomenon that keeps the human mind confined to reshuffling to restructure the world order.

Upward bound

We going to the unforgiving heavens, the hedge!

Five minutes of weightlessness 327 thousand feet high….

Technological advancements with new inventions and innovation have clouded the world; Oduori studies world trends and foreshadows the coming of artificial intelligence. 

Anthony Oduori, the anthologist. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Anthony Oduori, the anthologist. PHOTO/Courtesy.

His poem “Those drones, the smatter ones” is real testimony, a true reflection of the world’s most smatter inventions.

tuned on,

Missing cases, I said it

Cajoled. Sovereigns 

Number one. Number two

Another ranked hundredth… 

Contemporarily, mankind indulges in life like death beckons their souls in the next couple of blinks of an eye. As such, there is no fear for the future since today is today, yesterday is lifeless and tomorrow will sort himself.

Extravagance saturates the people’s hearts, cancer of materialism and immortality. 

Youths flirts, money, feat.

A currency, the currency. Mostly cash!

He places himself strategically,

Embrace the lass

Pull them close. Sexual jibes, sensual bearings …

The author is concerned with issues of equality and gender-based violence. 

The global society has battled with gender-based violence for years, advocating for humanity, fairness, and mutual respect. 

The ball has been bounced to the rightful custodians of irreplaceable activists of righteousness. Oduori leads the campaign. 

“A mother’s broken nose attracts a father’s castrated testicle.” in his poem “Gender violated”, he sarcastically preambles the contemporary mischiefs of the highly applauded sickness of gender inequality.

Lampoon, alter ego

Masculine buzz cut

a dirtied appearance

The hard man toned down, softened

The recipient comes out…

He pierces through a series of weightier thoughts, including the identity crisis, our motherland Africa the country, unity, and solidarity. 

Racism, class difference, ethnicity, environmental issues including global warming, science fiction, African political drunkenness, tax burden, governance, and leadership “madness” are religiously fermented indoctrination that shaves the black man’s brain.

Surprisingly, of the many pages I ravaged through, I couldn’t lift up my head until I read the last stanza, the line of the last sentence in the final punctuation mark.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: BOOK REVIEW: When the Skeleton Escaped

Oduori has his way with words and new ideas connected in a way that appetizes a reader’s enthusiasm for more reading, learning, and exploration. A good book is worth a good read!

Keep in touch as you plan to dig your gold in this book of hidden treasures.

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Mr. Otieno is a Literature enthusiast, an English/Literature teacher, a writer, poet, playwright, and novelist. He is the President of the Bleeding Ink Global Writers Society, a detail-oriented columnist, and a literary critic. His contact:


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