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THE CARTOGRAPHER OF MEMORY by Boluwatife Afolabi

Before our very eyes, the poetry of Boluwatife Afolabi has emerged, as butterfly from cocoon, and taken dainty flight. It is a privilege to witness these protean moments and to relish the ineffable joy they yield.

This chapbook has seen prior incarnations. In the way that the wind happens to the place with most of the tall grass, Afolabi’s inspiration has settled on those boughs that most exercise our sentience and our humanity. He, the poet, has come a long way from where he started. If the trajectories mapped in these poems are any indication, this poet is one to watch.

I’m chuffed, to be asked to write this introduction to a poet of enormous promise and potential. I am amazed at the quality of mind and poetics deployed in this chapbook. I’ve watched the unfurling of the banner. Seeing it flying the crest of Afolabi’s imagination with the first rays of this new day bolsters my faith in the future of African poetry.

 

– Tade Ipadeola

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RUPTURED BY OLUWATOBI MOSES SOTANMIDE

My time in Nigeria was not just some tourist trip to collect snapshots of Africa to hang on my wall back home in the United States. I accompanied a traveling preacher as he reunited with his brothers and sisters scattered throughout the southern regions of the country.

Amidst that communion, the richest statement I found was not an explanation of the beauteous culture or a souvenir of the craftsmanship produced by the hands of Africa. Much more profound was a glimpse into the splintered and bruised heart of an African—the hidden aches of the country reflected in his person.

Sotanmide’s poetry is thus, in part, a vibrant expression of a world I’d never known. This selection from his forthcoming collection, Haemorrhage manifests for me the utmost of paradoxes: for how can words that express such darkness be a source of such profound light? Such is the depth of experience that this collection of poetry communicates.

 

Jeremy Ray Webb

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A HALF-FORMED THING

In a world of forms and formations, continuations and ends, there is that constant need for creations and collaborations to take our tales beyond mere spots and basic narratives. Sometimes, we don’t have the luxury of waiting to have it all put together or fully formed. Many times, we have to let it go. In some cases, death calls us to put an end to all we had going—whether it is a creative death or that all ending phenomenon that seizes our breath and leaves thoughts and memories of what we once were. In the end, we discover we live with many half-formed things.

This is the spirit of this collaboration of different writings by three writers who bring their unfinished thoughts—for which creative enterprise is ever fully finished? —together in a chapbook, which itself, is also an incomplete book. They gather together, intentionally or not, a collection of losses centred mainly on death which they share passionately in twelve poems and two tales spread across several pages.

 

– Su’eddie Vershima Agema

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RITUALS BY TJ BENSON

Friendship is occult, and this occultism is what every part of art embodies—the art of living and loving, as well.

I must confess now that I am not aware of whatever I am writing—or say, trying to put myself in writing is beyond myself. I must confess now that I will just place here the bursts that I can place, not minding the legibility of thoughts or the rooms and distances lights guide us to. I must also confess that my thoughts do not happen verbatim, except that the translation of thoughts is always identical to the water one is drinking at the moment. Or something just too close to the iris that can be held in or by a story or that can be taken away when a new sky appears.

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NIGHT VISIONS

We found it cumbersome, if not tiresome and sometimes exhaustive, to compete against time, against one’s personal preconfigured-to-one’s-taste-routine of musing and writing. This project was different, for most of the writers, it was such that they had to go on with their usual activities and still find time, ‘mental space’ and the right mood to do justice to a set of distributed themes and keywords, without the promise of a shred of monetary incentive or the certitude of publishing to any acclaim. It usually feels like an adrenaline rush at first, but then, when one enters a schedule-imposed stasis of inefficiency–against time–as quickly as one can blink, one begins to wish there was an incentive, or better still, a prize to keep one’s eyes on.

The collection was edited by Trust F. Òbe and Kemi Falodun. It features works of five poets and a photographer.

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PHASES: POETRY OF PEOPLE

The chapbook “Phases: Poetry of People” leaves readers to discover the varying depths of poems from its soul. It features no thematic restriction and finds an oeuvre even for poems that straddle the enjambment of Spoken and versified poetry. Poetry is taking a leap and we must come to terms with it.

It features the works of the following 21 poets and edited by Femi Morgan, Tolase Ajibola and Tope Salaudeen-Adegoke.

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