Valentine Tusai is the author of Da-Valz-Code poetry Anthology, Strangers Encounter, Frabjous Fling among others and today he releases his anthology titled Swimming Emotions. This anthology is a collaboration of seventeen poets who share the complexity of relationships and the motions one goes through when addressing challenges in a relationship.

In the anthology, the different poets explore the eventualities that can result from a couple that would have defied the preconceived notions of gender roles in a marriage. Often times in societies the man is the provider, the protector and fends for the family whilst the woman is tending to the children and keeping the house spick and span. However in the anthology the roles are flipped and the poets take us through an unpredictable journey. In this unpredictable journey, the woman voices out her concerns, emotions, thoughts and the reality she is facing as the provider.

When one reads the anthology, it feels like most of the poems are responses to the first poem titled Swimming Emotions. In the first poem the reader is introduced to a couple that is enjoying the marital bliss in spite of the husband being a stay at home husband. Besides the wife being the sole provider, the reader learns that the husband has insecurities pertaining his wife’s long working hours. The husband also reveals that he is now developing interest in the maid and at the same time believes that his wife is having an affair too due to the long working hours. This poem serves as the foundation of the whole anthology and the latter poems are a testament of what the “wife” believes is taking place.

Recurring themes in the anthology are love, infidelity, intimacy, lust, dependency, loyalty inadequacy, monotony of marriage, marriage disintegration, guilt a wife feels when her husband wanders from the marital home, patriarchy and this yearn for the “man” to take up his stereotyped role as the provider in society. For instance in “Man Up” and “Heavy Reloaded” the “wife” shares how she wants to be spoilt and taken care of by the husband because she is tired of being the “provider” in the marriage. Besides this yearn, the poets also tackles the issue of how women often remain in loveless marriage because of how society would perceive them if they left and taking heed of “aunties” advice; keep fighting for your marriage.

What the reader will probably like is the vulnerability, openness and soul bearing tone; the poets use to relate the feelings of both parties in this marriage. One can empathise with the wife in the poems whose slaving away to fend for the family and the husband who is unemployed and has insecurities in spite of him having a wandering eye. Personally I liked how the poets managed to incorporate the water elements in the poems; it gave the poems this calm, cool breezy feeling whilst reading them and made me visualise. It is an easy spontaneous read that one can finish reading in one sitting. I can safely say that Valentines idea of collaborating with different poets eliminated monotony in the anthology.

All in all if you are a poet lover, this is something you could read and probably enjoy. Get your copy of Swimming Emotions here. Happy Reading.