Author: Shoola Oyindamola
Year of Publication: 2015
Number of Pages: 136
ISBN: 978-1-4969-6966-8 (sc)
Reviewer: Tola Ijalusi
“The female poets thus deserve attention because they not only constitute some of the unheard voices, but they also possess significant insights into realities of contemporary times.” Ezenwa Ohaeto
HEARTBEAT is a poetry collection that derives its significance from the depth of the metaphors and classics of the context through the simplicity of the diction and excellent delivery from a Nigerian writer, outstanding as a contemporary Nigerian female poet.
In HEARTBEAT, Shoola Oyindamola made a fine representation of her fellow women with poems such as ‘When women fight wars’ which narrates agonies women go through.
The barrels of heartache
that make their mental state fade.
The cannons of sighs
and bullets that jab their life’s beauties
make them insane
and their life’s toil in vain.
(When women fight wars Page 7)
In the lines above, Shoola poetically delivers the state of women going through pains in their family having painting gaudy imageries with words. In the book, poems such as RAPE, The beast and the feast, Teardrops in her note, Stabbed, All we ever do etc are poems in which the poet raised her voice on women phenomenon thereby advocating, which shows her stance in feminism.
Shoola wrote about the youthful days and how less effective and careless it being spent in the poem ‘When we were young’ also Shoola did write well on her Faith in her poems ‘Two different signs’, ‘Savior in the storm’, ‘Golgotha in my dreams’, ‘LOVE’ etc which were artistically delivered.
Love is why He died for me
all in cause to set me free.
(LOVE Page 72)
HEARTBEAT contains powerful love poems which successfully invokes emotions of one into the true essence as it alights one at the doorstep of one’s lover lightening the darkness, envelopes one into the ethereal presence of one’s lover as one read the pages but behold the exquisite visages of the loved one in poems such as ‘Night beauty is Love’, ‘The ballad of a love I love too well’ and more. Below are lines from ‘Night beauty is Love’
Let us sing the ballad of our love
and make our bed like the warm sky,
and make fruits like the stars,
and make love shoot through us
like the wishing stars (Page 42)
This amazes, that the poet efficaciously takes her stand as a Black, a Nigerian, an African studying in the United State of America. This she expressed in ‘Being Black’ which was a dialogue between her and a White man which reminds one of Wole Soyinka’s ‘Telephone Conversation’.
Sire, I am black
with no regrets
and I am African (Page 107)
The poet also manages to tell her audience of the cruel turmoil found in every society in ‘Poverty’
Poverty is when
the rich prefer being naked
and the poor stitch rags
to cloth themselves. Page 56
and she laid a meaning to ‘Smile’ in a simple and easy diction
A smile is that which lights up one’s face
it is that which keeps my enemy’s doom.
It is a pathway for laughter
and a make-up no dime can buy
However, HEARTBEAT didn’t come without it flaws, the arrangement of the poems in the collection is my grouse as it was arranged alphabetically in descending order giving the reader a rough ride as one has to encounter different poems of different themes and subjects which ought to have been carefully selected and sorted into sections. Also the book contains 113 poems, not all poems were well fit to have appeared in the collection. Yet, Shoola words are deep and the metaphors married one’s mind blissfully.
In reference to the quote by Ezenwa Ohaeto, I can boldly say Shoola Oyindamola deserves attention at home in Nigeria as a poet in the Diaspora for her poems do not only constitute some of the unheard voices but truly possess significant insights into realities of our contemporary times as a poet and feminist.
This is Shoola Oyindamola debut poetry collection which proves that her poetry is of artistic merit but one can’t wait to hold her next collection of well define and articulate poetry.
Link to Shoola Oyindamola HEARTBEAT.