Category Archives: Literary Criticism: Poetry


Perhaps, asking the question “Where do unexplored and unexploited talents go?” is like wondering where the fire goes once the candle is put out. Yet, what happens when artists renege on their duties? Does the Muse take back her abilities and pour them on a more co-operative medium, or do the abilities follow the artist to the grave? In order words, would the world still have had the Sonnets, Divine Comedy or the Iliad whether or not there were some Shakespeare, a Dante or a Homer? Continue reading

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In Defence of Simplicity: Review of Tolu’ Akinyemi’s I Laugh at These Skinny Girls

At first blush, the title of this book would suggest body-shaming, a particular kind of body-shaming targeted at ‘skinny girls’ who are possibly influenced by the glamourization of ultra-thin models in the entertainment industry; ‘skinny girls’ who have possibly been … Continue reading

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The Burden of Poetizing: Review of Paul Liam’s Indefinite Cravings

As miners of imageries, poets erect derricks over the crust of the realm of imagination. And as it turns out more often, their first attempt either drill too deep for the thick crude or too shallow for the watery juice. Because of that, it might be premature to judge poets based on their debuts. Only through constant practice and perseverance can they then master the art of lowering the shaft to the proper depth. Apart from the quality of crude imageries the poet succeeds to suck up, other important tasks he or she must handle are refining and packaging. And this is where the poet’s mastery of his or her preferred language of communication comes to play. Continue reading

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I am afraid that the opening poem, Senghor’s Woman, risks being termed misogynistic in some quarters. And it would be such a shame for such a beautiful piece to come under such abused and ambiguous term as misogyny. On the 27th of December 2015, Ikeogu Oke came under no small fire on facebook for posting a poem containing a line that reads: “The bells of your bosom ring me to silent awe.” His critics hold it misogynistic to liken a lady’s breasts to a ‘metallic’ bell. Continue reading

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Salutes Without Guns is that kind of strong drink you administer to the grief-stricken until their senses are numbed and they remember their sorrows no more. The reader is exposed to a special type of grief which “no voice can speak”; which “cuts deeper than the quick,/And drips pain even after the end.” The first of the five segments into which the book is broken, drenches even the most hard-hearted reader in gloom. Not a few would pause and wonder why the poet chooses to first satiate the reader with this gourd of vinegar before bringing out the keg of sweet palmwine. Some would have preferred the elegies to come last or at some point within the pleasant session. Continue reading

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A Review of Nwachukwu Egbunike’s BLAZING MOON.

Perhaps it is necessary to make it clear that the persona in Blazing Moon is not a total sadist who is only bent on shaming and ridiculing others. As a matter of fact, it might be more accurate to speak of “personas” rather than a “persona” since the voice in Blazing Moon switches between that of a male and a female’s and between the first person and second person. These personas are also interested in the environment, the society, geopolitics, ethics and religion.
Blazing Moon looks like a mural with motifs drawn from the ordinary to the extraordinary; from the natural to the supernatural. With hardly any room for frivolity, the world it intends to depict is so orderly it seems dangerous. And that, for me, is a cause for concern. Continue reading

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Tade Ipadeola has proven to be one of the last flag bearers of the old guard who still insist on keeping poetry as an art/for only the strong-hearted. Those are the very few who knows what it is to wait upon the Muse to drop on their souls words that merge into phrases and grow into lines and stanzas until they read like chants by the oracles of Delphi. With The Sahara Testaments (and works like it),Tade Ipadeola (and others like him) has in no small way renewed the faith of many who had contemplated giving up on poetry since after the band of cavaliers broke through the gates and hijacked the stage. Continue reading

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DIARY OF A NAGGER (A Review of Timi Rowland Kpakiama’s SONG OF BENASORO)

Benasoro is a total aberration of “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” She lacks the jealousy of Cleopatra. Where you expect her to fight her rival, she whiningly complains to her inattentive clansmen. Where you expect her to be reasonable, she jeers at her rival from a safe distance. No psychoanalyst will take Benasoro seriously. Not because her case is irredeemable but because she is unstable. One moment she is deriding ballroom dancing and another moment she becomes very interested in it she wants to learn it. One moment she admits that Cecilia “drinks from the clay pot” and then later she tells us that Cecilia is so posh she doesn’t “drink from our water pot…” Continue reading

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THE AMAZON EIGHT (A (Partial) Review of The Sky is our Earth)

Title: The Sky is our Earth (An Anthology of 50 Young Nigerian Poets) Editors: Abasi Torty Tortivie, Senator Ihenyen & Emmanuel Dairo Genre: Poetry Format: Paperback Extent: 185 pages ISBN: 978-978-52838-6-0 Publisher: WriteHouse Collective “… I hear a tongue shriller … Continue reading

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But Su’eddie Vershima Agema’s HOME EQUALS HOLES is not all gloom and gnashing of teeth. There is also hope for blue skies and sunshine. There is no certainty, though. There is only hope. Besides, what makes one to even bother to wake up from sleep if not the hope that the new day would be better than the previous one? Continue reading

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