Reviews

For Viola’s “Bird From Africa” Chapbook

Review by Tamara Mollenberg: Deep Rivulets of Feeling (via Africa in Words)

Review by Kangsen Wakai: A Loss but Never a Leaving (via Post No Ills)

For Commissioned Poems

The poem “For Stella” is more than a gift Viola! It is truly one of the most amazing things that happened to me. You have been blessed with a wonderful talent. Keep on using it to spread happiness. I will always support what you do because it MEANS something to me. ~ N.N., May 2014

Your [Mother’s Day] poem was great. I hope you will keep doing what you are doing and take it further. Take it all the way! ~ Dr. M., May 2014

[Your poem] is fantastic! We did receive it, and it sounds great. ~ D.R., April 2014

Thank you very much for writing such a beautiful poem for me and my lovely wife. ~ J.B., March 2014

For Poetry

I’m really proud of your nomination [for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize] and just happened to read your poem […]. Thank you for being our voice with writing like this […]. ~ M.O., April 2014

Keep writing and reaching out to humanity with your uniquely unparalleled gift of art! May the gift to play beautifully with words allow you do things you have only seen in your wildest imaginations. The world is better because you write. Press on. ~ A.N., May 2014

Absolutely lovely stuff. ~ A.Z., June 2014

Love your writing. ~ M.N., July 2014

Viola, you have a way with words. You really got poetry in your heart. I feel good each time I read your stuff. ~ D.A., September 2014

Your poem “From Farm to Schoolroom” is a picturesque depiction of the dichotomy of extreme choices faced by a young person growing up in Cameroon. Very well done! ~ F.M., February 2015

SIT WITH ME – A poem in my grandmother’s voice by Viola Allo is for me, the most important poem she has ever written […]. ~ A.N., August 2015

For Essays

Your beautiful and honest article was very moving. I understood. ~ N.F., May 2014

You’re a great encouragement to me. ~ R.U., June 2014

For the Letters to Cameroon Blog

Sometimes I think Viola Allo writes to me. ~ N.N., July 2014

You are doing some fine work with Letters to Cameroon. ~ N.L., August 2014

Viola, you dare to write so beautifully because you dare to dig deep and find the courage to write honestly and from your heart! I enjoyed reading – thoroughly! ~ A.N., August 2014

Interviews and Press/Magazine Reviews

“The conflation of history on a national level–“I am the cost-effective mono-crop sprayed and kept pristine with the pesticide of new knowledge”–as well as daily life–“I am from pass your exams in ten subjects” and “I am from why are you frowning”–all converge to produce a multidimensional look at growing up in Cameroon.” ~ African Book Review, Interview with the African Book Review, April 2014

“[Viola is] a remarkably talented creative force and one who I’m sure we’ll be seeing great work from in the future. Her life perspective comes from a place that is uniquely her own and that perspective appears in her work with great beauty, intensity, and grace.” ~ C. Kiefer, Interview with the American River Current, May 2015

At the very beginning of the “About” section of her blog, Viola says that she writes for Cameroon, for Africa and for her hometown of Bamenda. This pride was very apparent in the way she read her poems. “Leaving Bamenda” was a particular favorite because it made me wish I could truly experience her home the way she did. I felt dreamy and closed my eyes during that one to really take in the descriptions. It helped me know a beauty that I hadn’t actually had the privilege of ever seeing in person. Luckily a video was taken of her portion of the reading, so you can hear and see for yourself what she read in its entirety.” ~ Trina Young, reading reviewed at Blavity.com, These 5 African Female Poets Will Make You Feel Things, July 2015

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Responses

  1. Your poem “From Farm to Schoolroom” is a picturesque depiction of the dichotomy of extreme choices faced by a young person growing up in Cameroon. Very well done! – Ferdi Mongo

    • Hi Ferdi, I appreciate your review and comments on my poem so much. I have added your review to the list above, under the section for reviews for poems. That poem is an ambitious one. It was not easy to write but it was very rewarding, taking stock of the place and people and experiences I hail from and also making it relatable to other Cameroonians who grew up in my generation and even in my father’s generation, the ones who first ventured into higher education en masse and then left to study abroad. Your review and comments make me feel that this poem succeeds in capturing the wealth and beauty and complexity (and yes, as you so eloquently said, even the severe dichotomies and extreme choices) of that coming of age process and the journey into a future in a foreign land…. Your review encapsulates everything I had hoped for that poem and for that journey FROM FARM TO SCHOOLROOM.


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