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Adeoti deepens human experience in Canticles of a Happy People

By Guardian Nigeria
19 June 2022   |   4:03 am
In Canticles of a happy people, Adeola Adeoti gathers the expanse of human experience in his debut collection of poems.

Book: Canticles Of A Happy People
Author: Adeola Adeoti
Publisher: Red Letter Crib Signature
Year of Publication: 2022
Genre: Poetry
Reviewer: Ogunbiyi Opeyemi

In Canticles of a happy people, Adeola Adeoti gathers the expanse of human experience in his debut collection of poems. The images that spring from the collection are both stunning and uplifting, whether they explore the hysteria of life in Nigeria or the culture shocks in other continents and the anxieties that come from exploring the innards of other climes.

He examines a nation weighed down by corruption, poverty, dirty politics, and violence — as in The River in my tongue — delveing into the forcible power of words and kindness.

Breadcrumbing exposes the utter exploitation of affection by opportunists, which is done in the name of helplessness, paranoia and being love-struck.

In Rise, the poet admonishes his readers not to be beaten to stupor, as well as to fight for what they want. Dream big and if the barriers knock you out against your will, push still, and fight for the future too.

In the poem, Phoenix, Adeoti regales his reader with the resilience of a phoenix,as he writes:
Phoenix
Dust yourself,
audit your life,
those sores are not worth being licked,
rise like the Phoenix,
catch the storm again,
measure the width of your doubts
cast them into a bin
eat lettuce,
eat melons,
go mellow,
trail your feet by the beach sands
cast your gaze on the moon
watch the waves meet the shores
see the man in the mirror,
what have you got to say or do to make him the you you ever dreamt to be.

In the last line of the poem, he admonishes his readers to find the congruence between their longing and effort. It reminds you of the poem, Out of the darkness that covers me…

The writer boasts of being the master of his own fate and would certainly row his boat in whatever direction of satisfaction he sets his affection towards.

He cautions commuters to be on the alert while weaving through Ozumba Mbadiwe Road on the Island to avoid pickpockets, one chance vehicles rife with ritualists and a day that culminates in a sordid rant.

Lancashire is a candid meditation on a place that holds promises amid its vagaries of shenanigans.

Trouble in paradise is a reminder of the turmoil and tests of life. It impresses upon the readers that life is not a stroll in the park and that in the midst of abundance, there will be wantonness and vice versa.

Dance explores what it means to dance in the rain. What it means to remain unmoved by a bludgeon of chance. What it means to throw all one’s punches even while drowning in something unspeakable.

Adeoti cajoles his readers to dance in retribution, jubilation and uncertainty.

In the collection, he experiments with form and syntax and covers a vast range of topics. He takes the reader on a journey of mystery and longing, all the while capturing the essence of life and the philosophical thrust of ancestral leaning in the Seer.

He also touches on the theme of calmness in Still waters, teaching his readers to embrace the unruffled form of still waters so as not be overtaken by misgivings.

Wide-ranging and poignant, this is a riveting and seething collection and recommended for those interested in the genre.