By Idongesit Imuk
I love poets, same way I love essayists, novelists, dramatists and playists. Their collective works all make literature appealing.
In May 2018, Wonah, Martins Odey had tipped me on the going brunel poetry competition for Africans and coloured people of african descent.
I didn’t let it slip! I dug into internet archives in search of inspo and to look up what previous winners did, my wandering eye rested on two people, women:
WARSAN SHIRE and THERESA LOLA
The former, whose surname coincidentally matches the word that suffixes majority of cities her chosen place of refuge: UK, is a Somali refugee, who over time has earned the double-barrelled nationality description of “british-somali” or is it the other way round?
She inspired me so much, whenever I stumbled on any of her works online, always, I tremble!Miss Lola on the other hand, is of Yoruba descent, and we already are aware, that if there’s a MAJOR tribe in Nigeria, renowned for their extreme intelligence, it’s the Yorubas.
Note my emphasis on “MAJOR”, I left it that way for a reason, because there are minor tribes that have expressed the same and beyond, degree of intelligence, intellect and wit.
Lola endeared her works to me with the ruthless way she commands and synthesizes expressions, ones that leave you wondering how a human gets to coin such lexical rarities.
Warsan Shire is soul, raw, vunerable but strong, direct, emotion-y, softened by horrible experiences of war, yet hardened by a strong resolution to survive and lead in her newfound world.
She maximizes the use of the 2nd person pronoun, making the over-used and frequently adopted but revered first person, look outdated and old-fashioned.
Don’t think I’ve seen any of Shire’s works with “I”, not gone through all of them yet but, I’m not sure there’s any.
I’d love to say something on the extremely talented Lola too. But I have to go cook now. Had to steal time off kitchen duties to say this…
It’s been years since I last pored through nrunel’s winner list, but just today, I took a short stroll down the Shire alley and one of her most remarkable poems, “THE KITCHEN” arrested my attention.
The way she smartly depicts the sexual encounter between a man, estranged from his wife, cheating on her, yet still desperately desiring the warmth and satisfaction her body provides, is the most beautiful repulsively-inviting thing I’ve read in long while.
This woman is so talented!
Even though I’m single and inexperienced in that area, I still understand and grab fully, what she’s talking about. Ofcourse I should, I’m a med student. I’ve been taught the physiology of reproduction.
I don’t want to talk anymore
But I downloaded a typed out copy of the poem for all of us to see
Let me stop talking and shift away while you go on
Let me not stand in between you and Shire