Catherine Okoronkwo

Blood and Water / ọbara na mmiri (2020)


A compelling mix of poetry and prose memoir, Blood and Water ọbara na mmiri spurts, swells and flows across continents and cultures. It is a book of indelible stains and unbreakable bonds, of ‘in-between people’ and unripe plums, family battles and bold departures. Fascinated by the potency of her ancestors and the pull of Western vices, infusing history with streaks of magic realism, Catherine Okoronkwo reflects on a pilgrimage of self-discovery through the lens of place, myth, sickness and loss. The result is a debut collection to savour: a hard-won work of personal testimony and public witness.


ISBN: 978-1-906742-89-8-1 Category: Tags: , , ,

Praise and Poems

“Blood and Water / ọbara na mmiri begins with an ordinary everyday scene that many who knows what it is like to live in an inter-generational home will be able to identify with. The African overtones draws you into lives that are real and gritty. One can almost smell the tobacco and taste the goat pepper soup and the stews – pleasurable moments. But even this cannot take away from the abuse and the tacit silent collusion by the elders; the ‘entitled’ folks who struts around taking what does not belong to them! The contents of this book are not to be read for entertainment. It gives you a glimpse of life, captured in the moment, and sometimes reminds you of experiences of the past. It draws you in to confront the subjects that no one wants to talk about and yet it is real and right in our midst. I dare you to read this and share its meanings to you with others.”   — The Rev Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin, MBE, QHC, Bishop of Dover

“An unflinching look at life rooted in a West ‎African childhood and embracing urban ‎England… poetry and prose lightly ‎peppered with Igbo words and phrases. ‎These vignettes, ‎facts and dreams, with a rich cast of characters, confront us with a spectrum ‎of human experience in vivid, succinct ‎language.”  —  Chris Fewings, poet and literary organiser

Pumpkin moon

‘Am I following it?’

Pumpkin lodged in Omoba sky.
My young fanny tampered
by Uncle Innocent’s paws.

On frayed mat, nicotine-tinged room;
I wriggle, bewildered —
my movements spellbound.

I imagine, the magic of strange
coloured glow. Pumpkin moon
reaches into my soul, transports

me from life’s gaudy gloom.

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