Some Bright Elegance is about the changes that are a part of life in the 21st Century. In the book this is explored in relation to the search for meaning and consolation in the wake of bereavement, the memorial role of music, and the effects of social change on local communities. The book is also threaded with imagined scenes centred on those defining moments when people, places or objects take on new significances.
‘More than a title, 'Some Bright Elegance' is a statement of intent, a promise that Chingonyi delivers on.’ —Jacob Sam-La Rose
‘This is the work of a strong and passionate new voice in UK poetry, made even stronger by the contrast with the ‘bright elegance’ of the style.’ —Dr. Nathalie Teitler
‘Chingonyi's debut offering presents an achingly tangible vision of a world of bass and deified beats and backstreet pizzerias and so much more, shuttling from Borges and Cildo Meireles to Bojangles and manga/anime, all rendered through an effortlessly self-assured voice. More than a title, 'Some Bright Elegance' is a statement of intent, a promise that Chingonyi delivers on’
‘On the surface Kayo Chingonyi’s poetry is beautifully structured,
almost traditional work which fits well into the traditional British
Canon. Closer reading, however, reveals a complex and sometimes subversive approach. The work references African cultures to address areas of youth, race, urban life and loss. This is the work of a strong and passionate new voice in UK poetry, made even stronger by the contrast with the ‘bright elegance’ of the style.’ —Dr. Nathalie Teitler
‘Chingonyi’s poems have a permanence about them that belies their dark fragility. Some of them even approach that supposed impossibility: an investigation into the nature (spiritual and physical) of things. Chingonyi's opening salvo reminds us that to be fully human is in itself an act of being fully observant.’ —Roger Robinson
‘A beautiful debut from a sincere young man who, from our earliest meetings through the Poetry Society's Respect Slam, always dealt with crafting his work to its best potential. This collection is a testimony to that, his sensitive observations of the details of everyday urban life, the central place music often plays, and some of the rites of passage of a young adult. His voice is one that you lean in to listen to more closely, and are rewarded for doing so. The symphony that is British poetry needs voices like Kayo's for a true ensemble. ‘Some Bright Elegance’: an apt naming for Kayo Chingonyi and his maturing voice – I look forward to hearing and reading more.’ —Dorothea Smartt
‘When Chingonyi speaks his poems; he has them all by heart, a relatively rare skill which allows the poet to connect more completely with his audience. The same vibrant personality comes through on the page with language full of internal rhyme and complex rhythms. But it is the subject matter that most enthrals; I’ve heard several poetry grandees bewail the reluctance of British poets to tackle the ‘big issues’, but these poems do exactly that; issues of life, death, race, faith, family and authenticity are raised and meditated on here, in a thoughtful collection.’ —Judi Sutherland
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