TITLE: AS I STROKE MY CHIN HAIRS
AUTHOR: JOSEPH WODO
NO. OF PAGES: 32
PUBLISHER: WORDS RHYMES AND RHYTHMS LTD
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2019
REVIEWER: EUGENE YAKUBU
Wodo’s poetry isn’t the kind that makes you rack your brain to decipher meanings, they are all there, the ideas, bare and unalloyed, even though the point they fathom sometimes seems surreal and even unreconciled.
The poems leave you with the feeling that they have a deeper connotation and end just when you’ve been immersed in limitless suspense allowing you to inject meanings into the poems or even struggle to weave ideas the poet leaves hanging in order to appease your heightened emotions.
As I Stroke my Chin Hairs might seem just like a poet’s testament to his personal experiences. It has done more than that. It uses the poet as a backdrop to discuss bigger social and political issues, delving into topics of identity, life, nationalism, love, and adolescence.
The chapbook has poems that are rooted in Nigerian politics, poems that lament the anxiety of growing up, poems that glorify love and still yet scorn it, subjective poems that recount the poet’s identity and his bidding to come to terms with his different shades of personality.
The poet might not have delivered on his subject matter, only discussing archetypal issues in a detached, typical and mechanical manner, but his style would speak effortlessly to a wide range of audience. And the interesting thing about the poems is that they possess a strong use of the plural pronoun “we” which implicates the readers in the subject and leaves lasting footprints of the poet’s words echoing in their minds.
The poem To My First Chin Hairs is a laudable feat for its amusing and thrilling imagery and careful choice of diction. The poet humorously refers to beards as “little soldiers of maturity” and personifies it as a character with the ability to feel, grow and even hear. Then the sarcastic poem Here’s to Nigeria, Isn’t she Great? begins as an ode to Nigeria but turns out a satire and rebuke of the evil system of corruption, tribalism, and exploitation of the poor bedeviling the nation.
Wodo lends his voice to the group of poets that write politically charged poems and use their society as a backdrop for their creativity.
The Desk is another witty poem which criticizes the needless bureaucracy in the civil service and the red-tapism that has bottlenecked the Nigerian civil service.
There are a lot of interesting poems that will interest readers and even though the poet hints at these ideas and refuses to reconcile them, the reader can still feel the magnitude of the poorly developed themes struggling to surge through every line in the poem.
Download the book in the link below.
Wodo is a promising poet that has a lot of homework for his craft which, I believe, needs polishing. His themes are topical issues and have the capacity to open our discourses in society and even in politics. With a little attention to his style and techniques of poetry, he would make a popular name in the field of poetry.