Madman at Kilifi

Madman at Kilifi

Clifton Gachagua
Foreword by Kwame Dawes

African Poetry Book Series

78 pages


March 2014


$14.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Clifton Gachagua’s collection Madman at Kilifi, winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, concerns itself with the immediacy of cultures in flux, cybercommunication and the language of consumerism, polyglot politics and intrigue, sexual ambivalence and studied whimsy, and the mind of a sensitive, intelligent, and curious poet who stands in the midst of it all.


Gachagua’s is a world fully grounded in the postmodern Kenyan cultural cauldron, a world in which people speak with “satellite mouths,” with bodies that are “singing machines,” and in which the most we can do is “collide against each other.” Here light is graceful, and we glow like undiscovered galaxies and shifting matter. And here as well, we find new expression in a poetry that moves as we do.


Author Bio

Clifton Gachagua is a screenwriter, filmmaker, and translator based in Nairobi. His poetry has appeared in Saraba and Kwani? 06.



“The judges of the first Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets have agreed that, without a doubt, we are experiencing in this book the opening noises of a poet who will make a great deal of important noise in the future.”—from the foreword by Kwame Dawes

Table of Contents

The Cartographer of Water: A Foreword by Kwame Dawes
Charcoal on Canvas
A Slow Boat to China
At the Confucius Centre
The Lights in Zanzibar
Eternally Distracted
Ghostwriter: A Found Poem
The Nobel Prize for Medicine
On a Terrace Balcony in Abuja
Reality Television
Principles of Variations
Otto Gross
Central Park
New House
The Anointing
I Could Smell Them
Lost Stones
Travel Guide
It’s Not the Same as When You Crush Paper Flowers
A Bronze God, or a Letter on Demand
Imitation Bodies
My Sisters Used to Put Me in Dresses
Strange Male
Merchant of Flesh
Playhouse Lane
Let Us Now Talk about Your Waist, Saying
A Benzedrine Hallucination
Madman at Kilifi
Reclaiming a Beloved City
The Ante-Chamber
Imagine Those Slender Cigarettes
Concerto of the Unconcerned
A Genre of Isolation
Cucu Njeri
The Latrine of Giardia
The Bin
Approaching Siaya


Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets

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