Book review ~ Sketches (Poetry)

Book Title: Sketches
Author: Fatima Salihu
Publisher: Polarsphere Books - Minna.
Pages: 64
Year of publication: 2020
Reviewer: Ibraheem Uthman.

Poetry is more beautiful if the reader can get a pinch of its meaning, some poems are so deep that all you need to do is enjoy the language and leave the meaning aside. At some point in the creation of the poem, it is expected that the would-be reader should be able to share the experiences of the poetic persona. Thus the reader is given a flight ticket to a poetic journey of words. This is the instance with SKETCHES.

SKETCHES by Fatima Salihu, is a collection of forty six (46) mind-grabbing poems. The collection features themes like love (addiction, for you, God of love e.t.c), death (a date with death, journeys of words, Tayaza e.t.c), strength (My mum), unity (Resilience), farewell (Bahama grass & How perfect), loss (lost love, lost a brother, missing e.t.c) and nature (Beautiful worship & life and nature) amongst others well sketched.

The collection opens with the poem "lost love" which tells a story of the persona falling in love with a killer. Not just a killer, but the man who erased her family. She knew this is forbidden, but love is WEIRD.

   The moment you found love,
   Dirty, dangerous and almost forbidden,
   Like a child peddling curses at his mum on a misty
   A conception of anger late at night ... (PG-1)

She later made it known to her readers, that the killer she fell in love with is no other than her gate man.

Another poem in this collection is "lost a brother". The poet mourns the death of her beloved brother. It is through this pain she expressed that the process of creation of a living man is yet to be completed until he dies.

  For he who breathes, is never complete
   We all wait to become perfect
    When we dissolve.... (PG-6)

Despite the fact that only our death will make us perfect beings (according to the poet), the occurrence isn't as easy as the verses depicted but you know, that is the rudeness of poetry. The persona expressed this in her poem "a date with death".

 With tube in his mouth,
   We drank,
    He from me, I from the pint

She went further crying;

   He was draining the pint in me,
   Pain queued in stages,
   Division of torture by body parts.... (PG-11)

In the poem "Our devils", the poetic persona explains to her audience that we all have demons in us that direct our actions sub-consciously. Though the decision may seem as if they are ours, but in reality they aren't.

  Deep down
  Even if we carry this
  Angelic regalia
  Deny all you want
  But we all have this devil in us
  That always whispers
  Not immediately but certainly
  It says;
  My boy you die when you stop breathing
  It says:
  My boy carry on with your life
  It's perfect as it's. ... (PG-18)

She kept emphasizing that events neither mould us nor our conscience, that the will to listen to that devil frequently does. Pathetic.

"Duped" is a two phased poem. In the first phase, Fatima Salihu laments on how defrauded she was. Not the "defrauded" that has to do with money, but with emotions.

  I'm a cemetery
  For bodies defrauded of souls
  My emotions ebb with temerity.

She didn't stopped there, she continued, saying;

  I was the chief
  Happy with all I built
  But a lucky thief
  Stole the tree. ... (PG-21)

In the second part of the piece, she expressed how she no longer feel pain and no more surprised at the unfolding of events.

 I do not cry at sight of slain heads
 Nor weep at tragedies heard
 Blame me not for am a dupe
 Stripped of feelings. ... (PG-22)

"Sarcastic world" depicts the egoistic behaviors of our today society. The poem "Fanice" praises the ice cream for its great companionship during the poet's travels. The poet must have been a religious fan of Fanice for it to occupy a full page in her collection. "Signs and symptoms" grieves and scolds on the bitter reality of today, where people who are alive are ignored and shunned. But when they die, the same people who had shunned them would lament and cry of missing them.

   It's the ones we've lost we miss
   Those still alive we dismiss
   But nature can seduce you do its bid
   So let's hype like responsible breed. ... (PG-48)

"My woman" and "Alphabets of a woman" eulogies and give credits to the poet's gender. She spoke of their hard-works, self-bliss, perseverance, and she went in singing;

 Unlike servants
  We command respect and reward loyalty
   Peacocks don't need make-up nor assert rudeness
   They say women are men's downfall;
    Beneath that fall is men's paradise.

These leave the readers no doubt with the belief that the poet is a feminist, and not just a feminist, an extreme feminist.

Some of the poems in this collection are without rhythm and rhyme schemes, they do not follow regular rhyme scheme rules, yet still provide artistic expression. In this way, the poet gave her own shape to the poems the way she desires which made them interesting free verse pieces. While the other part of the collection is a well-built quatrain. However, some of the poems have irregular stanza form which is neither to be marked as a free verse nor any other form of Poetry. We will pardon her for this literary offence amidst this Poetic feast.
Fatima Salihu made sure she left her readers no choice than to devour each poem in her collection page after page. She performed this magic with the help of metaphor, assonance, personification, imagery and a perfect use if diction, just like Karo Okokoh's Souls of A Troubadour.

Ibraheem Uthman is a poet and a Cyber Security student at Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger state. He is the author of the book Mind of a Bard. He is also a member of the Hill-Top Creative Art Foundation. He writes from Minna, Niger state, Nigeria.