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A Book of Poetic Wisdom – A Review of Tolu Akinyemi’s Dead Cats Don’t Meow

Book Title: Dead Cats Don’t Meow: Don’t waste the ninth life
Author: Tolu A. Akinyemi
Year of Publication: 2019
Number of Pages: 113
Category: Poetry

They say cats have nine lives and a reputation for getting out of difficult situations without being hurt. While some of us despise them, look away and generally avoid them when they meow, Tolu A. Akinyemi believes that a cats’ meow is a signal of its living. Indeed, in his poetry collection, Dead Cats Don’t Meow, he is saying while you are here you can find your own voice and he makes a passionate plea to readers to avoid the dangers of wasting the ninth life.

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Inspired by the nine lives myth William Shakespeare referred to in his play Romeo and Juliet, the more than 90 poems in Tolu A. Akinyemi’s collection are meditative and accessible for anyone trying to be more.

What’s most evident in Dead Cats Don’t Meow is that it encourages readers and helps them take action. Poem after poem, the book’s pieces are delivered with passion. “My Story” begs to be read aloud because of its unapologetic truth. “Tell them I would bark like a dog/ Not minding whose ox was gored/ Tell them I was not afraid of a crowd/ My confidence level was gold.”

This collection is full of zeal as it addresses the author’s life and other issues. The author does so in easy language, as he pumps his readers up for a short period of time, shortly after throwing them into economic issues as he dives into saying a lot about the most populous city in Nigeria.

There are honest discussions about hopelessness. “Depression and Suicidal Thoughts” might stick with the reader because it contains striking lines between acceptance and giving up. Elsewhere, the book cites toxic relationships; there is also pain. It’s important to note however that Akinyemi’s poetry collection remains optimistic, even about unpleasant experiences.

Further, the book’s poems overflow with rhymes, as demonstrated in “Mistakes” which mentions how we all make mistakes at some point in our lives and why we should give second chances but the author hardly uses figurative language to express himself clearly in his poems.

Akinyemi writes about love and romance, talking about the expectations and reality of love. How this relates to the underlying message the author wants to convey remains entirely unclear.

Akinyemi ends the book with asking readers to “Be magical/ Do the impossible/ Give that stumbling block a finishing punch/Like Scorpion in a Mortal Kombat game/ Hug the finishing line in ecstasy / Similar to the lovable super Mario / Don’t settle for indolence/ Be magical.”

Dead Cats Don’t Meow is a reminder to follow your passion, feel empowered and find some encouragement to seek success.

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: titi.oyemade@gmail.com Social: @tiipree

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