Title: Never Play Games with the Devil
Author: Tolu A. Akinyemi
Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle
Year of Publication: 2019
Number of Pages: 47
At first sight, the title of Tolu Akinyemi’s book, “Never Play Games with the Devil,” grabs and holds your interest. And the book’s front cover immediately captures your attention with its elegance.
As one reads the first poem in the collection, it becomes clear that the author has a big heart. On the other side, he has some resentment toward the way men, and especially young men, are socialized and trained not to cry or exhibit their emotions, because he believes this could lead to future difficulties.
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As always, his poetry is relatable and full of sound advice. You can see how he motivates young people in his poems like “Hustle,” “Finding my feet,” and “Growth,” but he does more than just inspire them; he also makes sure they put in a lot of effort.
You can see that he is not advocating slothfulness in “Growth”: Don’t come to the parade ground lax /the pity-party host in my neighborhood was a no-show/ Show up, audition for it, just do it.
As he writes, the poet uses one encouraging word after another in his poems. Furthermore, the early part of the book demonstrates the author’s care and compassion.
Acronyms and some events in the collection will be mostly familiar to readers from Nigeria. Instead of expecting his international readers to Google the meanings of the acronyms, he kindly provides explanations.
A reader unfamiliar with Nigeria may, however, view some of these incidents as overblown. RUGA, SARs, and the Northern Hemisphere, oh my!
Some poems take you to the next one or serve as an introduction to it, such as “Eastern Hemisphere” leading into “Lazy Youth.” And the poem “Village People” will shed light on the entire meaning of the term for people who are not familiar with it, as it is often used in Nigeria.
Tolu A. Akinyemi’s poetry never fails to educate its readers about something new and rouses its readers to perseverance in the face of adversity.
About the reviewer
Titilade Oyemade is a business executive in a leading organisation and holds a degree in Russian Language. She’s the convener of the Hangoutwithtee Ladies Event and the publisher of Hangoutwithtee magazine. She spends her weekends attending women conferences, events and book readings. She loves to have fun and to help other women have the same in their lives. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Social: @tiipreeofficial