From acclaimed Nigeria-born, Brooklyn-based poet Uche Nduka, a book of love poems written with compact elegance and vivid eroticism.
Facing You is a collection of love lyrics, as well as an exploration of what goes into making the public and private self, from acclaimed Nigerian American poet Uche Nduka. Passionate and erotic, Facing You resists being hermetically sealed within the relationship, and is subject to the intrusions of “the dubious world” war, exile, protest, and police violence intrude but cannot defeat Nduka’s expressions of desire, where reality and surreality are one.
For decades, Uche Nduka’s refulgent poetry has shone out amid the various national and cultural contexts in which he has found himself, from Nigeria to Germany to Brooklyn. The brief poems of Facing You showcase Nduka at his most iconic. Casual and elemental, Surreal and Blue, these poems are like fuses: exactly equal to their tasks. Facing You proves the pliant strength of the lyric, its ability, in a handful of blunt and turning lines, to reverse reality with the ease of an upraised mirror. Nduka’s poetry models the principle of agile, flamelike survival amid this most leaden of worlds.–Joyelle McSweeney
Uche Nduka’s lyrical abstractions are razor sharp and lighting fast. Each poem turns several corners in the blink of an eye. A Nigerian-American poet by way of Germany and Holland, Nduka has honed his genius on the whetting stones of a tri-continental cosmopolitanism. His voice is both courtly and sensual, and his poems as frankly sexual as they are defiantly explosive. Like Rimbaud, Nduka sings the pride of exile, the debauchery of imagination, with wile and wit. We are lucky to have him.–Kit Robinson
It’s not enough to be in love. These poems want to lose themselves in you. In Facing You, Uche Nduka conjures up the kind of romance that ends up in movies and songs–a love so strong you dissolve into your lover. At the same time, Nduka’s short and leaping phrases play hard to get. Just when you think you might be closer to making contact, he pivots, leaving you to feel like a rug has been pulled out from under you. What do we make of this push-and-pull dynamic from a speaker who says, ‘I need a hell of a lot / of love to run my life on’? I think it means that Nduka’s poems understand how difficult intimacy is, how it can feel like chasing a dream, how it requires constant courage to overcome the fear of being hurt: ‘You must have the guts / to tear absence apart.’ It’s much easier to run away. Facing You lives in the gap between the desire for intimacy and intimacy itself, the exact place where meaning-making both comes to be and breaks down. It holds us suspended between language and sense, speech-sounds and communication, where we can feel the full brunt of our yearning.–Anaïs Duplan