The Gathering of Bastards


The Gathering of Bastards

Romeo Oriogun

African Poetry Book Series

144 pages


October 2023


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2023


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2023


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

2024 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in Poetry

Like I knew, standing
on the seashore, the hunger
wracking a migrant’s body
is movement.
—from Romeo Oriogun’s “Migrant by the Sea”

The Gathering of Bastards chronicles the movement of migrants as they navigate borders both internal and external. At the heart of these poems of vulnerability and sharp intelligence, the poet himself is the perpetual migrant embarked on forced journeys that take him across nations in West and North Africa, through Europe, and through American cities as he navigates the challenges of living through terror and loss and wrestles with the meaning of home.

Author Bio

Romeo Oriogun was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and now lives in Iowa. He is the author of Sacrament of Bodies (Nebraska, 2020) and Nomad.


“‘I walk alone, trying to find / the whisper of roads, trying to sieve through water / the haunting’ writes Romeo Oriogun in the book that is a journey, both through place and history, yes, but also the soul. To say that The Gathering of Bastards is an impressive collection is an understatement. It is one of soul-making indeed. Here ‘rain bears witness to bodies / thrown overboard slave ships,’ and the spell of verbal music bears wisdom. Oriogun is a kind of writer whose music will never stop. The kind that will survive the test of time. Bravo.”—Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

Table of Contents

I. Departure
It Begins with Love
Ballet in the Cold
A Letter from the Village of Trees
Night Songs
The Wild Mystic
Late December in Abidjan
The World Demands from Us Our Existence
A Little Cartography of Violence
Crossing into Togo
The Sea Dreams of Us
Wind Whisperer
A Village Life
There Is No End Here
On the Road to Paradise
The Abandoned Church Camp
Migrant by the Sea
The Drowned
On Leaving
At the Bus Park in Bamako
This Way to Water
Migrant at the Sahara
Someday the Desert Will Sing
A Train Stop in the Sahara
At the Edge of the Desert
The Gallery at the End of Time
II. Remembrance
From Darkness into Light
In the Middle of August, I Saw the Sky
A Stranger in Aba
Last Days of General Abacha
Under the Mango Tree
The River Is by the Door
Falling Dusk
At Midnight I Dreamt of Rapture
Before the Arrival of Rain
The Gathering of Bastards
Waiting for Rain
At Lagos Polo Club
III. Wanderer
Asylee in the Evening of the World
The Migrant of Padua
O Blue Waters, O Ships!
In the Museum of Fine Arts, I Remembered Home
All Winter I Had No Love
Walking along Harvard Square
Atlantic Beach
On Belonging
San Juan
A Man of Good Fortune
Before Nightfall
A Phone Call from Exile
Full Moon
Isla Verde
Ode to Shadows
The Revolution Is Over
Salute from the Boston Cold


2024 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in Poetry

Also of Interest