Monologue of Fire


Samuel Ugbechie has works published or forthcoming in Ruminate MagazineSlippery ElmPalette PoetryNottingham Review, and elsewhere. He’s the winner of the 2020 Aurora Poetry Winter Contest, the 2016 Frederick Holland Poetry Collection. His works have been recognized in awards like the Fiddlehead Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, Into the Void Poetry Prize, and others. He tweets @sugbechie.

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“Samuel leads in contemporary Nigerian poetry with a burst of songs that are not only genuine and ignited but also illuminate tenderly the many intricate layers of being human. His is an imagination attuned with nature, bearing for us a robust room to reconsider different elements of human emotions he digs through the richness of life’s ordinariness.”
—Adeeko Ibukun

“Samuel Ugbechie’s debut Monologue of Fire is undoubtedly immersive—an experience in which the poet bravely reveals the complexity of family dynamics through an examination of a challenging relationship between mother and son, and its impact on future loves. Rich in sonic elements and sensory detail, Ugbechie reminds us that ‘No memory travels faster than a bone. Or blood,’ how ‘all day [he cogs and levers] on the lawn and last[s] / like what sprinkles out of a bird-knotted sea.’ He carries us, over galloping lines, through a surreal dream-state of the unexpected. In this Monologue, Ugbechie leaps into images and words with a boldness, providing texture and weight (‘There’s a path unplowed in my child // -hood’), urging us to dare, to break (‘Hurl me there’).”

—Tara Ballard, House of the Night Watch

Monologue of Fire is a stunning debut, and Samuel Ugbechie comes to us naming things, ‘charging the veins that buoy memories.’ Whether it is an ode to love, mothers, and motherhood, or a nod to childhood and curated worlds untouched by miles and crossings, he writes with sheer beauty and attention to detail matched by the intensity of the music throbbing on each page.”

—’Gbenga Adeoba, Exodus