$18.95 CAD

let us not think of them as barbarians

Peter Midgley 978-1-988732-66-4 | 80 Pages September, 2019 Accolades!, Crow Said Poetry, Ebook, Poetry

Also available as an ebook from

About this book

  • Finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry at the 2020 Alberta Literary Awards!
  • Third Place in the Poetry Category at the 2019 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada! 

Peter Midgley’s let us not think of them as barbarians is a bold narrative of love, migration, and war hewn from the stones of Namibia. Sensual and intimate, these evocative poems fold into each other to renew and undermine multiple poetic traditions. These poems call out as an act of linguistic and cultural translation that gradually assembles an ombindi—an ancestral cairn—from a history of violent disruption. Underlying the intense language is an exploration of African philosophy and its potential for changing our view of the world. Even as the poems look to the past, they push the reader towards a future that is as relevant to contemporary Canada as it is to the Namibian earth that bled them.


you cannot write these things down

you cannot write these things down
you cannot write them down
you cannot write them down
says the singer of praises.

the warm draft of summer
the burn of stone on bare feet
the blood of my rivers—

you cannot write this down
you cannot create calligraphies of pain
says the singer of sorrows.


“These poems do double work: they challenge what we think we know about the relationship between history and the present and ask us to consider what else would be going on. The poems demand that we reflect on how we come to knowledge, especially that which is not hegemonic but is definitely central to another world.”

~ Juliane Okot Bitek, author of 100 Days

"This book offers a necessary paean to an often-forgotten tragedy." full review

~ Catherine Owen, Canadian Literature