Poetry

#instastory:EVERYWHERE?!

I read small white-biege pages on yellow danfos amidst the sunny Lagos bustle. Not even the jolts of an okada can tear my eyes away from devouring ebooks on my @okadabooks app. My fingers hold down a novel’s open spine hoping salt or palm oil won’t scar the characters while red stew boils behind me in the kitchen. When standing on a lengthy atm queue of stout, lean, brown, black bodies–I pull out and continue the day’s poetry collection from my handbag. The @rovingheights book mark protects my spoon before I launch it into the depths of a glass jar of hazelnut chocolate spread, when reading African literature. Heck, my bookstagram is filled with quirky book photos. The imaginary lives, world and adventures of unforgettable characters enclosed in a book can always be seen next to me.

Even in the shower. I can’t just leave the exposed world crafted by the tiny black words of another creative. So don’t judge. Am I the only one who carries my new books everywhere?

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Musings of a Tangled Tongue

 

Musings Of A Tangled Tongue By Yemi Adesanya

I.

because in our walking in the shoes of a writer through reading, we experiences something different, something new, that may call attention to yet undiscovered parts of our humanity”– Kola Tubosun wrote amidst his slightly lengthy Foreword of this excellent collection of poems.

A friend who saw the book with me asked what its title meant. Then I said, ‘thoughts from someone trying to say a lot’. But after typing, erasing and typing my own description of this collection. I realised my tongue got tangled while describing this collection of thoughts. I found this collection to be a delicious mix of engaging, mischievous, bold, well written and fun commentaries about contemporary life. This book lived from my handbags to my book stacks through January to February. Yet I haven’t finished beginning new daring and stimulating poems.

This is one of my favourite book photos from January.

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Below I share my favourite poems, titles, lines, stanzas and thoughts from February.

Bless This Day is my fav favie favourite poem so far! It has seven stanzas that bless, aptly describe and tell me about the personality of every day of the week. I plan on framing it.

Special Characters uses imagery and personification  to gossip about special characters.

‘Awaken from a Comma,

As someone shouted: “His Colon is on fire!”

Saved by a timely Exclamation!

Now he’s gotta live with a Semicolon;

Slayed by a Muse: I had to reread this poem a few times to understand it.  It’s first stanza starts with dope imagery and metaphor, ‘Once upon a heart beating oxygen rich lines. Valves of words and arteries of rhymes.’ This poem tells the story of the death of a mysterious persona. I was left to muse on how the drunk girl in stanza two was related to the murder continued in stanza three. Or was this poem just a poetic description of a creative overly inspired by a deadly muse? I’m still pondering.

Was Born in Sin: The persona in this short poem  does not confess but shares difficulties every believer faces without pretense. The last lines of both stanzas were written in Pidgin English. I could only say Shey? and Amen o!

Mind Mirage’s four stanzas were laced with lovely oxymoron and witty satire.

‘clean face, dirty mind

You look so good,

But smell one kind’

The second stanza brought an old roommate to mind ‘..You buy so much, But dress so razz’ and the fourth stanza aptly critics some men.

Snoring Is The Devil’s Chorus, I love the title of this poem. It was short, witty and ended with a sarcastic pleading. ‘Snoring is death, it’s the devil’s chorus; That’s not music, please sing a new tune’ The use of repetition, metaphor, simile, alliteration and imagery made the poem come alive. ‘Heartstorm rhymes like blunt knives.’

I found Evolution fascinating. The use of repetition didn’t stop the various stanzas from telling different  vivid, metaphorical tales. I love the third stanza; ‘In the beginning was a spark. With another, a flame. Burned by a game. And drained by his sport. Not a matter for court. Snack for a city shark’. What sport? I asked, Oscar of SA maybe? A spark ..a flame? I thought. Sport betting debts gotten him burned to death!

Hallelujah! The rhythm of this lengthy poem had me humming to Leonard Cohen’s hit Hallelujah tune.

McHunger was not on my list of fascinating or favourite poems. But when an online exercise asked what the first sentence on pg 15 of the book beside me was. I picked up M.O.A.T.T and flipped to page 15. I read the two lines and texted, ‘I shiver, but not from cold’. This is still my favourite line from this poem.

Seeing this title got me curious about what story Ailing Soul would tell me. The following lines from various four stanzas caught my eyes. ‘Live! Dont marinate your young soul’. ‘Fasting won’t matter if joy never comes. Life is what you make of its tick and tock.’

In No Kidding a mother tells me how to raise a forward, forthright and diligent being. Captivating poem about home training and motherly love.

Echoes from a Buried Ballad, Life on its Glide and Death Left You a Note are titles that powerfully used personification. I could reread these titles all day.

This collection has made a poetry lover out of me. With different personas sharing captivating or downright mischievous tales through the poet’s exquisite use of literary technique. As I continue reading, I anticipate more wondrous poems to fall in love with in March.

image source: amethystsaw

DEPARTURE

DEPARTURE by Roman Oriogun

I came across these poems on Brittle Paper while on a bus ride. I remember the poet’s name from the 14:We are Flowers Anthology I read last year. I enjoyed Departure. My heart aches with each line and smiled with others.

“i was born to be darkness hiding under a cave

& i know the weight of exile in a body”.

The first poem called Departure artistically narrates being queer in a dangerous and unaccepting place and painful departure of lovers to better places. It paints the experience of being gay in Nigeria where it is illegal and punishable by imprisonment or death by a mob. The poems are informal using imagery, repition, first person and stream of consciousness narrative techniques. These all make me love the poems.

“The streets hum with voices,

vehicles run into the rising sun,”

The above lines are an example from the second singing poem, Kumbaya. The last poem Saddest Night Alive, also narrates a tale of a distraught lover, fragile love, longing and nightmares of being killed.

“I’m learning how to live with this fear of not finding love”. 

I can say the above sentence is one that echoes a fear of mine. Why is it so difficult to find someone to genuinely love me for more than a minute?

Click the Brittle Paper link to read the poem. Share your thoughts on longing for love from a departing lover.

My Reading Goals 2018

Reading is an hobby of mine I refer to as my first love. I’d like to explore new narratives in 2018. To aid this I have a short list of S.M.A.R.T reading goals. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound.

#GOAL 1- Maintain my reading habit during the 12 months of the year.

Action Steps:

  • Schedule reading time in my daily to-do lists.
  • Actually read and enjoy it.
  • Pick reading materials from my usual sources (purchased paperbacks, reviews, magazine published stories, my own work, blogs and Okadabooks).
  • Reflect and note down lessons learnt and ideas gotten from read work.
  • Note and share my thoughts on works read.
  • Recommend works I enjoyed.
  • Take breaks from reading (eg. In between books or during semester C.A or Exams.).
  • Keep books away from damage. Store finished books properly.

 

#GOAL 2- To read more poetry in the next 12 months.

Action Steps:

  • Read poems found online, in literary magazines and blogs.
  • Read 3 poetry collections with a average of 70 poems.
  • Read 2 poetry anthologies. I enjoyed reading anthologies in the past.
  •  Read poems of various forms written by Nigerian and other (non)African poets.

 

#GOAL 3- To read at least 7 novels from other Africans on the continent and in Diaspora.

Action Steps: 

  • Make a list of books by other African authors (nominated for lierary awards the past 2 years, from 2017 purchase list and reviews I enjoyed)
  • Purchase or read online (e)book curated on the list
  • Draft my thoughts on read works and share in WHAT I AM READING.

I’m excited about the journey the works I’ll read this year will take me. I’ll do an Achievement Assessment at the end of every quarter of the year. Because of my smart reading goals I won’t be doing any book challenges.