A Writer’s Deepest Feelings on Life and Society – A Review of Michael Oloyede’s Lagos Is Killing Me

Book Title: Lagos is killing me
Author: Michael Oloyede
Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle
Year of Publication: 2020
Number of Pages: 91
Category: Poetry

Life is full of challenges and none of us is immune to these challenges. Financial troubles, unfair treatment, heartbreak, confusion, failure, grief are hard-core issues that affects the lives of people today. You can choose to embrace your problems, learn from your experiences; or you can choose to allow your challenges stop you from fulfilling your true potentials in life. Michael Oloyede has made use of his own poems to analyze, get out his feelings and thoughts on important events and experiences from his life in the poetry collection Lagos is killing me.

The title of the book suggests a nod to life’s hardships, an economic hardship that tend to picture Lagos as a frenetic city. With Lagos is killing me, Oloyede allows readers a glimpse into the world as he sees it, deeply personal yet attempts to touch every aspect of human experience.

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The terrific crowded street front cover of Lagos is killing me is reason enough to pick up the book and open it, however the collection of poems within is what makes this such an intriguing read. As the back-cover blurb proclaims, his ‘collection of poetry is a marvel’.

The book would seem to lean toward unconventional and examines topics such as White Mark has got a tribal mark, Naija Wahala, Orita meta, With kings in Colorado, The Jobberman, Sacraments of bullets as well as emotional accounts of feelings and situations that the people of Lagos are dealing with.

There are over sixty poems in this collection; the collection draws inspiration from people and Oloyede’s surroundings.
Like in the twelfth poem, “Laughter”, we are reminded to laugh and find joy as we get caught up in the daily dramas of our life. Oloyede’s strengths are frankness and imagination, and his weakness is choice of words which got a bit exhausting.
“Fela” is the powerful tribute poem to the legendary afrobeats singer, and reveals the icon’s complex personality, his music, courage and activism. This is a thank you note for what he has done in the past.

The memories of the “First Kiss” will resonate with some readers who are sure to see themselves and feel exactly what the author feels. From awkward, to romantic, and everything in between.
The author brings down the house with “Sars” which details the activities of Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad. The following stanza was particularly worrisome:
Shed enough blood and brag of no consequence
SARS, the Dunkirk of atrocious stock in trade of brutality
Mass murder and impunity, under the auspices of
gaslighting state machineries
Some poems will make you smile and some are full of horror.
Lagos is killing me would make an outstanding addition to a poetry library and appeal to readers who enjoy the experience of seeing into the soul of another person.

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: Social: @tiipree