Poetry is not a unique form, it is an idea, a soul and thoughts created in a unique way. Hence, the poetry of Issa Bin Mariam (Issa Shivji) is not writing that pretends to be poetry, it is poetry that make us think of the soul of our existence through a unique way. Mashairi si umbo la kipekee, ni fikra na roho na mawazo yaliyoumbwa kwa njia ya kipekee. Kwa hivyo mashairi ya Issa Bin Mariam (Issa Shivji) si maandishi yanayojifanya kuwa mashairi, ni mashairi yanayotufanya tufikirie roho ya maisha yetu na njia ya kipekee.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
Professor Issa Shivji, a lawyer by training, insists that he is not a poet; but this brilliant and enticing collection of poetry and poetic-prose sharply disagrees. The pieces are a power house – at once compelling, fascinating and engaging. Offering versions of Kiswahili and English without revealing which poem was originally written in what language, it is as if the poet is insisting on engaging the two languages in simultaneous dialogue with each other.
Mῖcere Gῖthae Mũgo, Emeritus Professor, Syracuse
Without a doubt, this collection of 82 poems is a worthy read by everyone, because it covers a vast and diverse range of human experiences, existence, exigencies and imperatives across time and space. It is dialectically expressive and poignant in straddling the conditions, values and behaviors of those at the top and at the bottom of the inequality pyramid. And, the messaging and substance cover freedom, solidarity, comradeship, celebration, and memories of the socio-political sagacity and insanities in our world. … Professor Issa Shivji has produced a poetry collection with excellent imagery and rhythm, that breaks new ground in poetry and will likely set the stage for a whole new generation of poetry that amplifies the voices of the penniless as well as commemorate the transformational figures who accompany them in their struggles.
Akwasi Aidoo, Senior Fellow, Humanity United