Omar Musa leads the way in the performance poetry and rap scenes of Australia, having won the national poetry slam in 2008 and an international title in 2009. He’s released records and self-published books and it’s no wonder that he was picked up by major-league publisher Penguin for his latest book Here Come the Dogs. This blurb sets the scene for the story:
Solomon, Jimmy and Aleks: way out on the fringe of Australia, looking for a way in. Hip hop and graffiti give them a voice. Booze, women and violence pass the time while they wait for their chance. Under the oppressive summer sun, their town has turned tinder-dry. All it'll take is a spark.
As the surrounding hills roar with flames, the change storms in. But it's not what they were waiting for. It never is.”
Written in a balance of poetry and prose, Here Come the Dogs explores themes of masculinity, disengagement, powerlessness and violence on a back-drop of contemporary Australian culture. It is fundamentally a bildungsroman-type story, following the young men as they find and challenge themselves.
In an interview with Cris Kennedy for the Sydney Morning Herald, Musa says:
I was also interested in writing about powerlessness…about migrations, masculinity and violence in Australian society, though I didn’t know how to connect it all together.
Then I heard, I think on the radio, this story about a young guy who masturbated after starting a fire, and I thought what an amazing image of a destructive type of manhood, of impotence.
I had that image in my head, and I worked backwards to examine how the hell you would get to that point in your life, examining different forms of powerlessness."
To delve into the rich poetic world created by Omar Musa, check out Here Come the Dogs.
Thanks to the amazing support of Penguin Books, we’re giving away 10 copies of Musa’s book as a reward for donating to the Writer’s Edit 'Kindling' Pozible campaign to raise funds to print our first anthology.
Find out how you can receive a copy by checking out our Pozible campaign!