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In So Long Gone, Famoroti interrogates truth, loneliness

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
04 May 2022   |   2:10 am
Raphael Famoroti is a late bloomer in the writing genre, so to say. He is, however, passionate about poetry. Though he has been writing verses for journals, blogs and poetry collections, his So Long Gone has created a springboard for him to climb the ladder. With 30 poems of varying lengths, mood and structure, the…

Raphael Famoroti is a late bloomer in the writing genre, so to say. He is, however, passionate about poetry. Though he has been writing verses for journals, blogs and poetry collections, his So Long Gone has created a springboard for him to climb the ladder.

With 30 poems of varying lengths, mood and structure, the poet navigates a very emotional landscape: human mood. The collection opens with When You See Me, a 12-line poem, possibly written during his sojourn in the UK. The poem illustrates what it means to be lonely, abandoned and alienated. He pens this with such energy that can only be seen when a writer is marooned in an island. But the beauty is that the tone is not melancholic or negative. He writes:
When you see me Hug
me.
Hug me tightly
Don’t do it gently.
When you see me Hug
me.
Ask me not why
For my eyes are not dry.
My pillows are soaked with tears
It seems no one cares.
So when you see me Hug
me.

The painterly opener sets the tone for a sense of loneliness and abandonment, which cover the entire landscape of the book, with its enlightening details.
The poems are structurally organised, with the poet deploying basic rhythms, sometimes, imposing specific ones. He uses free verses, as much as he can, and is also compelled to thinker with the rhyming scheme and obey certain rules such as in Sunset:
I once loved to see the sunset
And the memories it brings of how we met.
It reminded me of us a lot
Of how we anticipated tying the knot.
How we would stay awake and chat
And plan the future wearing our thinking hat
Till we were enveloped in darkness
While our conversations lighted our eyes without stress.

This poem has 16 lines broken up into four quatrains (or four-line stanzas).
He also likes to use repetition for emphasis such as noticed in When You See Me and Bury My Head In (This poem is about the suicidal tendencies that coloured the country’s landscape at a point. Then, it was a common thing for those who had gone suicidal jump into the lagoon when no diver or rescuer is around).

Beyond this, his poems are also about loss, grief, truth and beauty. However, the grief doesn’t result in apathy for life; in fact, he approaches hope with a heartfelt confidence. He says in Story:
to each his own quill and ink;
book covers, pages, and lens.
a story where heroes become villains;
the storyline changes as you think.

Famoroti’s narrators demand your lungs for breath and even your being in moments of pregnant pauses. His succinct line arrangement forces you to breathe heavy, as seen throughout this compelling poem, Never Mind, which he fills with vivid imagery: He writes:
Words are empty nouns and adjectives.
If you give them attention, they will live
Starve them of attention, they will die.

He also provides arresting and evocative moments in The Earth, The Man, And The Tree. No doubt, this collection is a good effort and is recommended for its aesthetic appeal. Famoroti studied Philosophy at the University of Ibadan. He is currently a master’s degree student of Digital Marketing at the University of Salford, United Kingdom.

He began writing in 2014 and at his leisure, he loves to play scrabble, watch football and engage in intelligent conversations with friends.