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With Locomotifs & other Songs, Gbogi calls for genuine anger

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Locomotifs & other Songs, by Gbogi

Locomotifs & other Songs, written by Tosin Gbogi, a lecturer in the Department of English Studies, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, is a collection of poems.

It is a ride fused with several voices such as, Osundare, Ekwuazi, Okinba Launko, et al, seeking several ends in a continuous mediation. It is a journey of several miles told in rhythms.

Gbogi roams across three continents, and his journey is punctured by the ‘vacant sadness of Lagos’ and troubled by religious authorities, colonial legacies and the sharp pains of a world erotised and economised by corporate and corporeal signifiers .

Through his bold experimentations, Gbogi shows that a poet, who is determined to create a unique voice by learning from the best in varied poetic traditions.

He calls every human a wanderer with same fate: The one who leaves is not the one who returns.

He says: “Time stands as a pillar of witness between night and this twilight, but how does a songster sing of his country without risking treason?

How does he stay off his mind without losing his mind? How does he sing, for instance, of bars behind, which bards were banished to rest of the kindly hearts of hope, muzzled by cassowaries wandering with letters of death?”

The author, in the book, asks many questions without providing an answer. His response to this engaging style is ‘asking questions on its own make us think of solutions while wandering.’

The title and cover symbolise movement, and the author says, “I’m trying to talk about movement. ‘Loco’ is a Spanish word for crazy or madness.

The collection is about madness, about movement, movement as madness and madness as movement and it’s about the nation, love for the nation, love for movement, love for places and different kinds of issues.

The songs; because I like to think about my songs as performative. I like to think of them as musical, so that is the essence of songs. Song resonates with what our people used to do. Traditional songs as poetry basically.”

He is not happy writing in English, because as he says, “English is not my native language. I was born and bred in Ondo State.

I grew up speaking Yoruba. English was introduced to me in school; My parents didn’t even speak English to me, though, they were educated.

So, to be educated and still be trapped in the jaws of English for me evokes some sort of sadness.”

In Volatile questions, the voices in the collection are asking volatile questions about nationhood, about misgovernment, maladministration, corruption, they are asking questions about the mass movement of people, not just the mass movement of people out of Nigeria but mass movement of ideas of labour and capital.

These are the kind of things the work is trying to look at, at the level of movement.

So, it’s not just physical movement, it is movement that is psychological, spiritual and economic. It’s a movement in all senses.

He says, “it is good to ask questions, because through questions, we can begin to think about solutions. Even asking questions in itself is a form of answers. Like somebody was asking a question about wandering, where do we go?

But you don’t have an answer to it and I said even calling your attention to the fact that we are moving in circle, that itself does something for you, it helps you out of your unconscious zone.”


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