This book, comprised of a diverse array of 50 poems, invites readers on an immersive journey through the lens of African experiences. Olaitan Adesina, the skilled poet behind the collection, reveals a profound depth that captivates and piques readers’ curiosity, prompting a closer examination of the inner workings of his mind—a true testament to the essence of authentic poetry.
Within the verses, a celebration unfolds—one that extends beyond the pages and delves into the very essence of African heritage. For those less acquainted with the African landscape, the poems serve as a revelation, challenging preconceived notions and offering a genuine portrayal of the continent’s richness.
The titles of some poems act as guiding lights, adeptly steering readers to the core of the content, while others beckon for a second reading to unlock the full spectrum of the author’s intended message. Some terms may lead to a quick Google search, yet the author, in a thoughtful gesture, provides meanings for specific words in Yoruba, Arabic, and Latin at the bottom of the book, ensuring inclusivity in understanding.
Themes of self-discovery and empathy weave through the collection, occasionally diverting from the profound and introspective to touch on seemingly mundane subjects. The infusion of humour, even in the face of weighty themes, showcases the author’s creativity, exemplified in the unexpected and amusing lines of “Black Earth.”
The compilation boasts a treasure trove of proverbs and expressions, encouraging readers to pause and reflect, with some sayings striking a chord that prompts the desire to highlight and revisit them.
The poems, diverse in style, transition seamlessly between prayers, storytelling, and moments of personal significance for the author. Nostalgia takes centre stage in some verses, evoking cherished memories that resonate with universal human experiences.
As the verses traverse various locations in Nigeria, the reader gains not just poetic insight but historical context. The author’s provision of brief information about these places at the bottom of the book not only adds depth to the collection but also sparks curiosity, possibly inspiring readers to embark on their own explorations.
Adesina’s dynamic portrayal, ranging from romantic to gentle and occasionally blunt, adds layers of complexity to the collection, inviting readers to connect on a personal level. “Dhikrayat Wa’ashbah” stands out, carrying an emotional tone that may resonate deeply with those who have felt unappreciated.
The book’s blurb, hinting at the author’s third poetry collection, leaves readers contemplating the nature of his earlier works, given the evident depth and interest woven into this particular compilation.
For those unfamiliar with Nigerian Pidgin English, the recommendation to find a translator underscores the author’s desire for inclusivity, hoping that the complete truth within the poem is unveiled. However, caution is given; if conservatism is a guiding principle, some verses may be perceived as offensive.
In navigating the collection, the author, at times, introduces confusion, balancing positive portrayals of Africa with critical reflections on Lagos. Yet, this nuanced approach serves as a gateway for non-African readers seeking a profound understanding of the continent, especially Nigeria.
In essence, this collection transcends being merely a compilation of poems; it is an invitation to explore, understand, and celebrate the intricacies of the African experience, making it a tailor-made literary journey for a diverse audience.
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: [email protected] Social: @tiipreeofficial