A Book Review: How to Wake a Butterfly

Loic Ekinga Kalonji, a Congolese poet, storyteller, and a screenwriting student, expressed the ebb and flow, the pain and pleasure in his life in this book, How to Wake a Butterfly. The author wrote about “the different stages in life, from childhood memories, trauma, heartbreak, and new-found love.”

His poetry and fiction sheds light on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of being human with the use of a surrealist approach to storytelling. His works appear in Type/Cast Magazine, Ja. Magazine, Poetry Potion, and The Kalahari Review. He received an honorable mention award from JK Anowe for Praxis Magazine Online for his chapbook Twelve Things You Failed at As A Man. He currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. (How To Wake a Butterfly – Odyssey Books, 2021)

My Thoughts 


Life is a series of ups and downs, love and loss, endings and new beginnings. This is the realization that came to my mind after reading How to Wake a Butterfly. The free verse poems that are composed of carefully-chosen words awakened sentimentality and acceptance of the verities of life that make Loic’s poetry engaging. 

Written during the lockdown, Loic was compelled to reflect on his life and transformed his emotions into words. I am thankful to have read his poems because it made me contemplate on my life as well. My dreams, heartaches, laughter, tears, challenges and achievements came before my eyes. What has become of me? 

I appreciate this book so much as it is a reminder that despite life’s pain, there is beauty and freedom; I just have to find it in myself, struggle until I make peace with my past and my flaws, emerge from the chrysalis of change and self-discovery, and fly like a butterfly. 

Among the poems in the book, the most memorable one for me is entitled “Mutilate” , which is about his mother leaving them.

“I’ve found no comfort, son.

I left for you, because sometimes, 

To save the hand, you cut off a finger.”

The sacrifice of a mother is painful but necessary for the well-being of her children. In turn, seeing the children turn into successful individuals is a great blessing. I saw the video of his mother that Loic posted on Twitter on May 31, 2021. In the video, her mother’s love and gratitude  could be felt.  Also, it goes without saying how proud she is for her son. 

“The day has come. God blessed me a lot. I got a copy of the book my son wrote... When you read this, you're gonna get tears on your eyes."

Kudos to you, Loic Ekinga, for making your mama proud. :)

My Rating: 5/5

Discussion Questions

1. What did you learn from this book?

2. Has this book changed the way you see yourself?

3. Discuss some of the questions this book raises. 

4.How did the author express his emotions through words?

5. Which passages of the book are the most gripping? Why?

Thank you Odyssey Books for the chance to review this book. I understand that I would give it an honest review.

Further Information

Title: How To Wake a Butterfly

Author: Loic Ekinga

Genre: Poetry

Publisher: Odyssey Books (May 26, 2021)

Publication Date: May 26, 2021

Print length: 89 pages




How To Wake a Butterfly – Odyssey Books. (2021, March 23). Odyssey Books. https://www.odysseybooks.com.au/titles/9781922311306/

Loic Ekinga on. (2021, May 31). [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/1stLoicYouKnow/status/1399286831380930564