Synopses & Reviews
“Chris Abani’s poetry resonates with a devastating beauty which cuts through to the heart of human strength.”—Pride
Hands Washing Water is Chris Abani's fourth poetry collection—a mischievous book of displacement, exile, ancestry, and subversive humor. The central section, “Buffalo Women,” is a Civil War correspondence between lovers that plays on our assumptions about war, gender, morality, and politics.
I know we promised to be honest,
one to the other, but your recent missive,
though welcome as any epistle from you,
filled me with a dread that clung
like dampness to wet wood. I am terrified
for your immortal soul, dear sweet Henri.
This mad war of Lincoln is infecting you
with a sickness too depraved to even address. . .
Abani’s writing is ruthless, at times traumatic, and consistently filled with surprising twists and turns.
Abani's fourth poetry collection - a mischevious book of displacement, exile, ancestry, and subversive humor.
Poetry. Chris Abani was imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced to death for his literary activities. After fleeing Nigeria he continued to write poetry and fiction. HANDS WASHING WATER is his fourth poetry collection--a mischievous book of displacement, exile, ancestry, and subversive humor. The central section, "Buffalo Women," is a Civil War correspondence between lovers that plays on our assumptions about war, gender, morality, and politics. Abani's writing is ruthless, at times traumatic, and consistently filled with surprising twists and turns.
About the Author
Christopher Abani (or Chris Abani) (born December 27,1966) is a Nigerian author. Abani's first novel, Masters of the Board, was about a Neo-Nazi takeover of Nigeria. The book earned one reviewer to praise Abani as "Africa's answer to Frederick Forsyth." The Nigerian government, however, believed the book to be a blueprint for an actual coup, and sent the 18-year-old Abani to prison in 1985. After serving six months in jail, he was released, but he went on to perform in a guerilla theatre group. This action led to his arrest and imprisonment at Kiri Kiri, a notorious prison. He was released again, but after writing his play Song of a Broken Flute he was arrested for a third time, sentenced to death, and sent to the Kalakuta Prison, where he was jailed with other political prisoners and inmates on death row. His father is Igbo, while his mother was English born. He spent some of his prison time in solitary confinement, but was freed in 1991. He lived in exile in London until a friend was murdered there in 1999; he then fled to the United States. He is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside and the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the 2001 Prince Claus Awards, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. His books include SANCTIFICUM (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), SONG FOR NIGHT (Akashic Books, 2007), BECOMING ABIGAIL (Akashic Books, 2006), and HANDS WASHING WATER (Copper Canyon Press, 2006).