Posts Tagged ‘new poets’

        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.


  5.  Aisha Nelson :  She is one of my favorites in this generation. Her pieces are intellectually stimulating. She does not spoon-feed her readers. In a unique way , she draws readers along a path that sets in finding  self, theme et al. As a writer, she does not profess to know answers- she knows words to situations.  Her words gel like a master hand  on a  piano and I love to hum to that song.

                                                                            …at the scent of water



                                                                                                           not water

not dew


at the scent of water




let the frayed stump spew green


let the foul egg vomit a being




let that which was birthed to die


find life


let that which died before birth


know life




at the scent of water


not dew


not water

(credit: The Kalahari Review)


            Aisha will need to get out there and show the world her ingenuity.


6. Dela Kobla Nyamuame( :  Efo is a voice of conscience. He has an impeccable diction that buys for him a seat at the feet of heavens. The first time  I read his piece, I knew ” I had seen the future”. I reproduce his first poem I ever read and yes, I still remember how it felt.


                                                                               Our Brother Was an Idiot



We left our brother in the open to decay
As white ants ate their way through his house
It’s not like he stood there and he didn’t try

But his exterminators were a divided house

They painted his life in a tragic comedy
And they cast a fool at him, the Pantomime Villain
And though he was our brother we called him enemy
And clapped as some alien played the Greek Hero

Our loud mouth brother was our own brother
Our pig headed brother was still our brother
Our misguided brother tried the only way he knew how
Our brother trusted us and we stood by and let him fall

Our brother did not learn from the mistakes of others
Our brother thought his brothers were unlike Joseph’s brothers
Our brother was an idiot to think blood was thicker than water
Maybe our brother is a mirror reflecting our soulless land

Our brother might have been an idiot to dare them
To build a house of wood next to white ant nests
But our brother was an even bigger idiot
To think his other brothers would help fight the pests

( Credit Poetry Foundation Ghana)

7.  Novisi Dzitrie :   There are times that people do not need more than one chance to show what they have inside. If my heart is big enough, then I will wish he never stops writing. 


                               O! Jebu! Stared At The Beginning As Ananse Tickled Himself In The End


O! Jebu! climbed the mountain and stood atop, akimbo!
As if as if…
looked deep down the valley into the hole;
raising his head next to look up at the empty sky.

This system is sick…
O! Jebu! must face the tasks:
put things apart; make sense of the whole;
bring the pieces back together!
But where…
where do we place the noesis?

O! Jebu! stretched his right hand upwards…
The sky was nowhere within his reach!

So let us tell tales…
for the lack of knowledge
between the hole deep down the valley and the empty sky high above.
Let us say… they say…

They say Mawu used to live on the next floor upstairs!
And as it used to be… they say…
O! Jebu! could stand on his two feet and touch the sky
or when he felt like it, he could look out of his window
and give Mawu a wink or a wave of high five!

But it came to pass… the ancestors disobeyed Mawu!
Day after day
they lifted their heavy pestles skywards
and pounded the peace of Mawu
as they crushed yam, coco-yam, plantain and cassava into fufu.
So Mawu stormed out in anger
and removed the sky from within the reach of man!

And so O! Jebu! must now rent the services of an intercessor,
born of a virgin or of pure oracles,
if he ever wishes to speak to Mawu the omnipresent!
And yet little did Mawu the all-knowing know
O! Jebu! would soon fly aircrafts into his sky.
Mother of palmwine! Mawu Sodza!

The same God who remains the same, they say,
and yet changes regardless without prior notice.
Mother of palmwine! Mawu Sodza!

So let us tell another tale.

They say, again, so let us say:
Let us say Kweku Ananse the spider took the place of O Jebu
and presented himself before Death
in a puzzle of many a great complication.

So Death said to Ananse:
“Because you have eaten my food,
you must die…you will die! You and your family!”

But Ananse did not want to die. No!
Instead, Ananse pedaled his many legs
in one heart-throbbing attempt to flee…
So they say… and so let us say…
Let us say it is the reason why Ananse is seen caught in his own web
in corners or on ceilings of buildings in his attempt to flee…
Flee…flee from Death!

So we tell tales…
Tales to fill up the space, to make up for the lack of knowledge
between the hole deep down the valley and the empty sky high above;
strange-tales… fairy-tales…

Tales that make us cry maa maa! Or make us laugh kwa kwa kwa!

Tales of why the crab is headless,
Tales of why the moon dies,
… of why soldier-ants move in a file,
… of why indeed the monkey has a tail!

( One Ghana,One Voice)


             Postscript :  Chances are that I will make 10 different lists when  you give me 10 opportunities to write under the same title. What excites me is to see many youth take advantage of technology to showcase their arts. Somehow someday, you will be discovered and you will make a worthy read. Until then, I wish you luck in your walk. God bless you. * hugs*