When A Poet Loves: A Review Of Dami Ajayi’s Daybreak And Other Poems

Posted: March 24, 2014 in Essays
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        Book: Daybreak And Other Poems

                                             Publisher:  Saraba

Author: Dami Ajayi

Reviewer: Kwabena Agyare Yeboah

Pages: 30 pages

First published: 2013

Genre: Poetry

The release of Dami Ajayi’s collection of poems is a political statement.

In expanding the frontiers of publishing in Africa, Dami and partners are advancing a valid argument of new

ways of publishing. That is not only impressive but innovative. The bad news is the author will not get paid for his troubles. It, however, provides a medium to be read and appreciated.

Dami’s voice defines what Taiye Selasi  fails to see in her definition of Afropolitan-ism. Take Dami and Soyinka for example. Soyinka writes in  typical African idioms and metaphors. Dami  uses   that of Africa and what appears to me as an American accent. There are folks on the continent who have lived their entire here but have been strongly influenced by other cultures.  Those are part of the Afropolitan experience too.  To this, Emmanuel Iduma writes ‘’ but first I must say that in relation to Ajayi I am convinced that he is not yet completely immersed in speaking the Nigerian idiom. In ―Slow Dancing for instance he uses a foreign accent as though he is speaking to an unspecified audience. But I am concerned with his natural voice, which is Nigerian and therefore performative; a gesture of reaching out to an audience that use the same language he does to navigate their immediate locality’’ in preface to Dami’s  book which Iduma titled,‘’The Coming Poet’’. Defining Afropolitan-ism in the context of a diasporan experience is social suicide and  block of reality.

Back to my primary preoccupation as a reviewer, Daybreak And Other Poems is a chapbook of fourteen poems. In a simple language and often reflective mood, Dami sends readers on a journey to discovering the true meaning of love as he himself sets out to do. Combing through the pages, I realize an innate intercourse   between self (of the poet) and environment such that this book is an offspring. The bravery of the poet to take an alien exploration of themes is also to be commended. He explores love and sexuality in depth. For examples,Amaokpala East-side Motel talks about  prostitutes.

‘’ Sexual memories are made of these

Urgent needs that throb thighs

Pockets a-jingle with loose coins,

You take a winding walk

To the Amaokpala East-Side Motel.’’

Daybreak is a sweet conversation between day and night. Both seem to happy, enjoying their moments when they come and wishing they stay forever.

‘’And they both said day break is poetry.’’

The Gnaw speaks to how it feels to lose somebody special. It is a feeling I know too. It’s odd and incredibly exhausting. I read that in unison with a rhythm that I can not exactly point to.

This chapbook ends with The Alphabet Laboratory  which talks about  what poetry means to him (the author)  and concludes,

‘’All words are stolen from an alphabet pool

To undergo serial recombinant therapy.

The smartest scrabblers are negotiating turns

In the race of verbs, nouns, adjectives.

Adverbs. Prepositions are clues for positions.

Another letter drops with a sibilant hiss

Then I found you.’’

It is of supreme significance and literary honesty that the voice of the poet departs from familiarity. That in itself is a poetic justice against heighten cruelty of language and so-called taboos.



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