TITLE: BUT HERE YOU ARE
AUTHOR: OYINDAMOLA SHOOLA
NO. OF PAGES: 33
PUBLISHER: WORDS RHYMES AND RHYTHMS LTD
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2019
REVIEWER: EUGENE YAKUBU
Oyindamola’s But Here You Are needs careful analysis to garner the points they tender: subtle themes and ideas weaved in elevated imagery and concise language seeming pregnant with metaphors and feministic ideologies, gender dialectics, subversion of patriarchy, identity and loss.
The tone of the poems and the spontaneity and indifference the poet writes each line and verses in leaves the collection in no doubt as a literary piece written more for the writer’s healing than the reader’s. The poet sees words as an avenue where she can unwind and make sense of her place in the world.
The poem Biography is both witty and stunning and gives the impression of someone running away from himself and trying to bury herself in “pronouns” and in the pages of a book that will, in the end, be left unopened. The poet craves therapy and coming out of herself through words seems to be enough healing for her “demons” which she is abandoning in the book.
The poems read like a fast-paced spoken-word, with striking puns, distended metaphors and apt conceit. In short lines and concise verses, the poet successfully drops her meanings in sometimes just a single word, or even a line, the other lines or verses only trying to foreground the theme in the poem.
Sometimes she avoids clarity like a dream taking the reader into the deepest recesses of his thoughts trying to infer meaning. Other times she concludes the poem vaguely, with open-ended rhetorical questions and leaves her words resounding in the reader’s mind.
This effect, which she masterly uses is enthralling and after going through the poem, the reader can only release his breath, halt for a minute and wonder “How do you teach a child to lie and blame him for having it tucked in the/ closet of his ears?” (16), “Is this sin of being human not a two way street of creation?”
I particularly savour the grandeur of the poem Humility. It reiterates the quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln which says “Great things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” While the poet personae in the poem wait for the door to be opened to him, death comes in with a “spare key of unfulfilled dreams, old age, and a failed self.”
The poet discusses viable topical issues of gender separatism, gender subversion, feminism, toxic masculinity, and identity and she does so with an inverted, but poetic diction that beclouds the meaning, only releasing it to readers who are willing to go down with the poet to her inspiration and follow each line carefully in order to unearth the poet’s ideas.
This is a good effort and I believe every reader will come out of this collection with new stories and ideas at every new reading.