For whom this collection sings
he whom our waists and entire thoughts wring
You, who brought so much
through your incredible near divine touch
it is to your elegance
that our inks dance
snaking and stroking in every true cadence
more than these
we offer to please
I first offered my miserly mite
now we offer you this: our entire might!
I mutter ‘here we go again’ under my fresh minty breath. ‘Fresh minty’ because I approach my work with dedication – something similar to the way a surgeon approaches a dissection. It is not a joke – because within the pages are words; words, silent testimonies to someone’s life. A note, a grain of sand, a monument to mark his passing, graffiti; an ‘I was here’ on the wall of time.
And I do not take that lightly.
So I take a bath, scrub myself thoroughly to some Casting Crowns or Newsboys, and then wear my Sunday’s best, douse myself in perfume, spray some breath spray in my mouth (duh), and take the stage (actually, sit in front of my system is more like it).
And then I attempt the near-impossible; wear the author’s shoes.
In this case, the author would be Su’Eddie Agama, a poet and writer who has been around for a while. His freshly-ground collection, Bring Our Casket Home is the book that lies on my metal table for dissection.
Split in five parts, the book subtly takes on life (even though there’s a section titled life) in a broad tapestry that sometimes narrows down in it’s scope and focuses on something in particular. The general speak or ‘feel’ of this book is that Su’ is a very feeling poet; as he uses emotions as the canvas on which he paints his tales. According to the ‘Introduction which is not’ by Hyginus Ekwuazi, ‘occasional poems have been transformed into either or both of two things; 1. a peg on which emotions have been hung out to drip dry, and/or 2. a subliminal map detailing the major landmarks in that most taxing of journeys…’
It’s almost impossible to not dream along with Su as he takes you on a sojourn in word and rhyme. As I try to see what he saw that birthed those lines, at times I put the book down and go ‘hmmm’ (which is a huge deal actually; me doing ‘hmmm’) at times I burst out in laughter. It is truly a master’s piece.
My favorite piece is easily ‘Silence Shouts His Message Clear’ a rousing sonnet that delivers with every line. A lot of the pieces speak quietly – like the simple ‘The Teacher Called The Count’ and the riveting ‘Shallow Hollow’. The only ‘slow’ point came with ‘New Year Tales of Subsidy’ a mild protestant piece that sticks out like a bump on a baby’s forehead. Even then, Su’ pulls it off with a smooth delivery that manages to convince.
But much more bigger than Su’, than ‘Bring Our Casket Home’ is the realization that poetry; in Nigeria is speaking out with a strident; insistent voice. That might also be as result of the NLNG prize for this year being about poetry; but whatever the case, I like that people like me have more options! Only last week did Iquo release her debut, and now Su’?!
I encourage you to add ‘Bring Our Casket Home’ to your reading lists. Get the book. GET. IT.
It is available wherever books are sold.
To enjoy more of Su’s work, find him here.