Kayo Chingonyi’s A Blood Condition has a dignity that honours the past without indulging in any overflow of personal feeling. Dignity is an interesting quality in a writer – it cannot be faked without presenting as pomposity. Chingonyi’s authentic, reined-in passions are stirring... Chingonyi’s poems grow out of gaps, out of the moments when nothing more can be done. The dead cannot be recovered, time cannot be reclaimed, the damage to the river is likely to be permanent, but a poem can be written and take its quietly powerful stand.
That musical ear also makes itself felt implicitly in the highly compressed and superbly controlled long sentences that are a trademark of Chingonyi’s poetic diction, allowing him to juxtapose language, sound and meaning in precise and surprising imagery; “the dancers heave and swell, in search of thrills/ like droplets moistening a windowsill” in the poem “Viral”. In combination with the noticeable suppression of the “I” of the first person voice, the effect is somewhat like being privy to the poet’s actual thoughts. It all makes for an elegantly spare – there’s lots of white space in this book – cathartic and poignant but never indulgent collection that invites repeated reading.