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Safe Metamorphosis, Otis Mensah
Safe Metamorphosis is the debut poetry collection from alternative hip-hop spoken word artist and storyteller Otis Mensah, Sheffield’s first Poet Laureate. Mensah’s work challenges dominant modes of masculinity, and disrupts the elitism of poetry through its accessible, honest, raw and intimate language and rhythms. Free from the constraints of convention, Mensah writes in his own, unique voice, layered with rhythm and surreal imagery, unified by its fearless commitment to emotional honesty and its openness about the power and cost of creativity. Safe Metamorphosis explores the transformations experienced in everyday life and the unspoken traumas caused by the uprooting of self as we are thrusted from one identity-building state to another. The trauma of leaving school, ‘growing up’, the demise of a romantic relationship, the loss of faith in a purpose: common, formative experiences too often dismissed. The poems in this striking and original collection explore metamorphoses at different points of our journey into adulthood, addressing the ways in which the associated upheaval of change and lost identity alters our sense of self and relationships with others. For Mensah, poetry and hip hop are a stimulus for philosophical reflection and introspection, and the poems in Safe Metamorphosis welcome us into the imaginative and highly observant mind of an artist committed to the healing and unifying power of communication.