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‘The Arc of Sight’: Poetic Voice and Displaced Desire in Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike’s “Guitarist on the Landing” ~ Ismail Bala

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REVIEW BY ISMAIL BALA


Guitarist on the Landing
By Uchechukwu Peter Umezirike

she strums her Cellotaped guitar, slight woman who sings on the landing at afterwork hours; her jacket bleached, sneakers frayed, hair jumbled, face rucked, eyes a hint of distance, & voice like sand but –
you rarely pause to hear her sing, always in a dash against the push of bodies, until forced this evening to idle on the landing a moment;
…train momentarily delayed
the loudspeaker voice chafes your ears, sighs of commuters like gnats, odours treacly you nearly spit; should you Facebook or Instagram?
her song is what grips – energy of the wind on which a hawk glides, your body unclenches to its currents, prodigious in their sweep; outspread as the hawk, you climb past the arc of sight, above what she sings about:
a father whose mind is a raft on the sea mother who sees shrapnel in her sleep daughter who seeks love in syringed arms son whose desire draws blood wherever he goes
you’re soaring above butterflies bright…

Poetic Ambiguity in Ola Ifatimehim’s “Decomposed Rhapsody” ~ Ismail Bala

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BY ISMAIL BALA
Decomposed Rhapsody 
by Ola Ifatimehin
I have another favourite song I'll love to share with you.
You and I lost Our rhythm In the cacophony of sounds That is neither music nor silence.
I have a favourite song That makes No sense Because you're not here To share.
A song that reminds me Of your soothing smile, Sinful beauty, Forbidden charm.
I have a favourite song that scares me of you.
Oh yes!
Oh no!!
I have a favourite song I'd love to share with you For it has moved from my heart to my lips.
A symphony of pains and loneliness.
Of muted desires.

It was the preeminent English critic, William Empson who introduced “Ambiguity” into the critical currency with the publication of Seven Types of Ambiguity in 1930. As confusing as Empson’s delineation of ambiguity is — he confuses ambiguity with all types of multiple meaning in poetry — he has invariably transformed critical attitude towards ambiguity in poetic analysis.
In general, what I mean by ambiguity is the belief that poetry (lik…

Emerging Northern Nigerian Female Poets to watch: A Prognosis (Final part) ~ Paul Liam

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3. Nasiba Babale
Tell them
If they ask you That I only have words Crawling at my feet That I am their master And they must race To kneel in my shrine Tell them I only sing songs Listened to with the heart That my voice Is the envy Of the Nightingales
Tell them I am a wanderer My feet know the way home But not my soul It roams these realms freely Not caring for a shade
Tell them I am a conqueror of souls I never have to wield my sword When they see my light They gather Like the moths they are To worship my flames.

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They say my poems Speak of love With an ecstasy that Pulls at the heart of men They say my lines