TITLE: A JEWEL OF SOCIETAL PRISM AUTHOR: KHADIJAH NANA ABDULLKADIR GENRE: POETRY NO. OF PAGES: 66 YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2020 ISBN: 978-978-986-436-2 PUBLISHER: AUTHORPEDIA PUBLISHERS REVIEWER: EUGENE YAKUBU
A Jewel of Societal Prism engages with the virtue of individuality in a world where culture and tradition and crowd-thinking is doing everything to swallow freedom of being. Abdullkadir’s free-versed poems read like essays, espousing on how man can discover himself in the world. Her arguments go back in time to deconstruct how society and customs have always been infringing on life. She thinks “this has been the challenge we face as a human race.”
More interesting is how she connects her identity as a Muslim, a woman and an individual with how society and its rigid customs police the human psyche and seeps into religion.
Abdullkadir’s poems glories in being one and different, in being out of the prism of what the world considers “normal’. She’s from the school of artists and philosophers who believe that nonconforming opens up new ways of seeing the world and frees man’s soul from “everyone’s manipulation”.
Her poems speak with immediacy about seeking validation outside of ourselves. She believes something is always taken out of us which she aptly refers as “dues to pay” when we attach ourselves and our happiness to people and things.
There’s a wholesomeness to individuality evident in her poems and, even though prescriptive and exhaustingly evangelical, her philosophy of being one and different always seems to resound down every line.
She’s interested in the ways society intersects with power and how both help contour the borderlands between stereotypes, class and marginalization. In her poems, society thwarts our development into the fullness of our being and there’s always these “false stereotypes” placed on us if we allow ourselves to be taught by the society. Reaching the level of self-actualization makes us the “best version of ourselves” and “today you are told you are enough”.
Even though it is evident that the poet battles to neatly grasp the diction to drive her theme home, she, however, engages powerfully with it and leaves readers with dire questions that need a further appraisal. She chides religion, especially where she “come[s] from”, as “selfish” where man upholds himself above the divinity of the maker. In A Jewel of Societal Prism, Abdullkadir brings the effect of society on our systems and beliefs, the agency of culture and customs over the individual, and how the individual sieves himself out of the society’s construct, to the fore of her poems and essays.
In the end, the poet wants her readers to “arrive from a collectivist understanding to [an] individualist”, to make a fresh mark in life, and to pause and reflect on what we truly are outside of what the society has constructed for and around us.