Of How To Wake A Butterfly Book Review

How To Wake A Butterfly

How to wake a butterfly 
Loic Ekinga chapbook

How To Wake A Butterfly is a poetry chapbook by Loic Ekinga and published by Odyssey Books May 2021. The book was written during a reflective phase in the pandemic induced lockdown when Loic had time to contemplate on the things which have nurtured his character.

I “met” Loic when he was one of the guests on the Afrobloggers June Meet-Up on Blogging and Podcasting As Therapeutic Tools chatting about podcasting alongside Linathi together who are the dynamic duo of Andthatsthechat podcast. The Meet-Up was in collaboration with WIRED2LoveAndThrive and we discussed how podcasting could work as therapy and he mentioned he dabbled in poetry…

Afrobloggers June Meet-Up

One thing led to another and here are my honest thoughts on the good, bad and ugly of How To Wake A Butterfly

The Good

As one who dabbles in poetry, I know how when you tell people to read a work of poetry some might point out how they aren’t really poets and how they might not fully appreciate the nuances expressed. How To wake A Butterfly unfolds like a story told in different voices of the same person on their journey to being who they are…. Like a butterfly goes through all the stages in its cycle.

A boy who lives now for flowers
Sunlight, and in many ways
An awakened butterfly.
-Loic Ekinga Kalonji

Having met Loic albeit virtually I could imagine part of the journey with a gift of bass in his voice from a father whom he inherited silence and watched parents separate to becoming one with the kind of love nations go to war for

My dad filled every room in the house
With the silence he exhaled,
A silence my brother and I inhaled

The Bad

How To Wake A Butterfly is an emotional rollercoaster from the sharp pang of childhood trauma, death and loss to the thrill of a newfound love story and the journey of rediscovering one’s self.  I am from an era when men never learnt to talk or cry and the raw honesty in this chapbook has the equivalent of one going through an emotional blender and being poured out as a cocktail of sunshine, rainbows and butterflies… but first you whether the storm.

I left for you, because sometimes,
To save the hand, you cut off a finger

The chapbook explores the ugly underbelly of childhood trauma, abandonment and in a meandering why how those formative experiences can spill into older versions of ourselves… You’ll probably need some tissue close at hand and you’ll definitely wish the chapbook had come with trigger warnings and when you are done… you will want to ask Loic how does rain speak to the dust?

My mother spoke to the ten-year-old me
Like rain speaks to dust 

Final Thoughts

It’s only 89 pages and one could probably breeze through it in one sitting, but this bite-sized chapbook serves a more than generous banquet…

How do you wake a butterfly?
If you can, I say
–Without bruising its wings–




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