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Caravaggio and code-switching: the T. S. Eliot and Folio Prize-shortlisted poetry debut exploring Nigerian-British diaspora experience Yomi is not ramping. This is a rich, nuanced, emotional collection. I read about myself and my people, felt an affinity in the expression of experiences we share and felt feelings only we feel. Thank you for this, Yomi -- Jade LB, author of KEISHA THE SKET but i found this book genuinely amazing. undoubtedly i’ll be reading more by yọ̀mí ṣódé in the future, his work is absolutely incredible, i could not look away, i read this in pretty much one go. some parts i’ve already reread. Expertly directed by Miranda Cromwell, it never once feels lethargic, though it has pools of stillness weighted with heavy emotion. Jonsson does not rush through these, nor indulge in them, but times them to a perfect pitch so that his story is about the bewilderment of grief but also the depth of love between these two men, and delivered without sentimentality.

is definitely someone special and i have a feeling he will be around and spoken about for a very very long time. Searing, shimmering, brilliant. As hard to swallow as it is to put down. -- Yrsa Daley-Ward, author of THE HOW Jonsson has a sure, controlled presence and animates not just his inner voice but those of the aunties around him, even Ade’s quiet voice and Big Mummy’s bigger one. Despite the subject matter, the play comes with playful moments cocooned in poetic language; Junior’s pleasure in overeating contains mischief; the rush hour is a fast-flowing crowd in which he plays Tetris. These experiences and perceptions are portrayed through a wide range of linguistic devices – poems, vignettes, prose, idiomatic use of English (e.g., often dropping the th from the so the definite article is reduced to e). There are phrases and sentences which are presented in a language of Nigeria. Because of the ambition and originality of this collection, I would suggest readers read it at least three or four times so as to tune into this remarkable portrayal. This first collection is impressive while being direct and speaking to a strongly lived experience.


Born in Oyo State Nigeria, Award-winning Yomi Ṣode grew up around music. Once long-listed as one of MTV’s Brand New Artist’s, Yomi has been performing for the past 12 years. He balances the fine line between both Nigerian and British cultures, which can be, at times, humorous, loving, self-reflective and uncomfortable. This collection is deeply insightful while still demonstrating the skill to read like a one on one conversation with Yomi himself. A work of formal experimentation, where lyric essays nestle against play-let structures, in service of a Claudia Rankine-esque determination to bear witness and find frameworks with which we can look at the world properly, fully ... Brilliant ... It's like fireworks going off ... Sode is unflinching and fearless ... Manorism's real gift to us as readers is, ultimately, Sode's deep and unfailing humanity. This is a book in which love can be found Rishi Dastidar, Poetry School Blog

The biggest clue here is the title. We know that colonisation is fundamentally an extractive project; whatever other justifications we might wish to dress that truth in – legal systems! railways! trade! – does not change that. But by using the word refractive, Alexander reframes history, reclaims stories – makes us look slant at what has been, and what could be.Yomi is a Nigerian British spoken word artist and playwright. His writing explores immigration, identity and displacement, particularly through the lens of examining intergenerational relationships. He seeks to use his first-hand experience as a long-time social worker to explore and expose the complexities, injustices, and gaps within the social care system. His writing is lyrical and incisively probing, and has warmth, humanity and truthfulness at its heart. When I speak of justice and anger written with luminous genius, I will forever be speaking of Yomi Sode's Manorism, a glorious, furious collection that tells a thousand stories in stunningly crafted verse. A triumph that everyone should read Nikita Gill, author of GREAT GODDESSES and WILD EMBERS Another compellingly original artist was the Nigerian-Yoruban writer Amos Tutuola. Very early in his The Palm-Wine Drinkard is the following passage where our hero meets Death:

Part-confession, part-conjuring and wholly unique, Yomi Sode's debut collection is unflinching. As he writes, "Our stories are open wounds." ?ode takes us on a visceral journey, spilling secrets nakedly, not allowing us to look away from the hard truth. And we're better for it Peter Kahn, author of LITTLE KINGS Manorism is a wonder of a collection. Yomi writes into the space where silence has been enforced, with language so dexterous it sings, with an honesty that is as sure as it is vulnerable. Throughout the collection, he gives language to grief, acute and enormous. He speaks not only to the moments we might falter in the face of our mourning but also to how we might rebuild, how we might not only survive those who pass, but thrive. What a joy it is to hold these words -- Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of OPEN WATER Yomi Sode is a greatly celebrated and vitally needed voice in the UK’s poetry scene. Born in Oyo State Nigeria, his entry into the world of storytelling came in the form of musicality, a quality easily witnessed in his approach to brilliantly paced and finely woven stories. It seems Sode has always been a poet as much into entertaining, with the relentless rhythms of his writing, as he is into educating, with poems that stare directly into societal failings with lyrical ease. Sode has performed his poetry widely including opening for Saul Williams and The Last Poets, appearances at Yahoo! Wireless Festival, Latitude, Lovebox, Olympic Village, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and working with Channel 4 and BBC Radio 1Xtra. His commissioned work includes The Mayor’s Office, BBC World Service/BBC Africa to name a few. Beyond this, his ability to gather and cultivate space for storytelling manifested in the form of BoxedIN, a free and lively poetry night at Shoreditch that Sode founded in 2012.Junior initially flits from one impressionistic scene to another, Ṣode’s script not immediately explaining itself, before it lands as a play about death, mourning and young masculinity shaped by matriarchal influence. A woman’s death and her nephew’s grief is not the most original or eventful of storylines but it is made big and innovative in its telling, and in its tremendous weight of emotion. There is also a wonderfully epigrammatic quality to Ṣode’s writing, such as in ‘Fugitives’: ‘because white skin is white skin everywhere; because privilege, irrespective of time, allows a grace period.’ Or in ‘L’Appel du vide’, where the struggle to live a good life in the face of a hostile society’s causes teeth to be ground while sleeping, knowing that ‘Justice is an autopsy with no apology.’ In this profound and moving debut, Yomi Sode asks: what does it mean to find oneself between worlds - to 'code-switch', adapting one's speech and manners to widely differing cultural contexts? Who is, and who isn't, allowed to be more than their origins? And what do we owe each other? What do we owe ourselves?

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