Tidal Wave by Kofi Antwi

Source: GBF
Paperback, 18 pgs.
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Tidal Wave by Kofi Antwi is a slim chapbook that explores themes of identity and the drowned out voices of society. The art work is superb — the cover itself speaks to the power of words in this collection as they rise like a tidal wave.

The opening poem “Out of the Wreckage” sets the stage of loss, with a brother gone and “a belated shower/of roses” — signifying a posthumous recognition of a wrong done to the departed, but it comes too little too late. It mirrors the recent reactions of society when racially charged killings by police occur against Black men across America and as a society we only rise up after the fact before the anger/rage fades and little is done to correct the system.

 from "Sundays" (pg. 6)

the harbor is burdened land, tampered
sea - a ripple in the
current halts it's viability.

at bay we, mourn our past, balance
tomorrow's deficiencies,
dashes of mint dove

Antwi’s poems are mournful but full of hope, a dichotomy that mirrors the society that welcomes all to be free without actual freedom to be themselves. We are burdened by the past and mourn it, but we continue to move forward to balance the good with the bad. However, some of these poems feel rough and unfinished, like there’s something hidden beneath the emptiness and the words chosen haven’t carried the full meaning the poet wishes to convey. This could be intentional, but it didn’t work for me in many instances.

But the strongest poems in the chapbook come at the end from “all hail the city of doom” and “tidal wave” to “birth into a nation” and “recollections of the Gold Coast.” This is where Tidal Wave by Kofi Antwi shines in its analysis of what it means to be an American immigrant full of hope but stepped on and cast aside as a silent minority while chasing an American dream.

RATING: Tercet


  1. I’d be interested to see the other artwork. Thanks for sharing!