With Little Words, Sabatina deepens lyrical narratives
Title: Little Words
Author: Amife Sabatina
Reviewer: Ifeoma Ezinne Odinye
Little Words: The title is modest with a poignant juxtaposition between reality and fantasy. This book possesses a coherent simplicity that could pass for common sense. The simplicity of approach is wrapped in the mystery of words — a peculiar manner of phrasing ideas that evoke thoughts on humanity with a stirring speech.
The tone of the book strikes more as an insight into the poet’s life with clusters of significant images — a measured psychological movement steeped in empathy. Amife Sabatina’s reputation as a writer who uses lyrical style to craft narratives is never in doubt. The use of ‘Neutral Tones’ with entertaining subtlety peculiar to the demeanor of her generation is very impressive.
Sabatina appears admirably direct in her perception that words and experiences are not two separable phenomena; rather — they are “puffs of winds blowing passionately upon men’s impulses.”
Rhythmically speaking, we perceive a throttled reflection—the conscious discovery of words as a passionate passage to a mysterious future — that which evokes thoughts as wild as fireworks — “a quick opening for a quick life.”
The collection is replete with strong memorable verse and prose forms that convey certain instances of life with pleasurable effects. The book is structured in literary rhetoric of freshly concocted lines laced with speech, rhythm and music. One significant thing: is how differently this book organises its ideas in chapters that unite its prose and poetic version in sequence. For a contemporary reader, this new arrangement introduces interesting transmission of intellectually oriented text.
The author’s convincing account of life is natural and charming. Her patterned lyric and narration have given a superior satisfying effect with apt imagery on nostalgic earthly attachment — one that points towards sweet yearnings of the long ago and far away. We must remark that the author has pulled up fate with a rekindling plainness—a passionate consoling thrust that “when what you dreamed of the world is not what comes true, it is not time to be saddened. It is time to dream anew.”
Sabatine’s words are highly quotable—a unique characteristic that exposes mundane feelings and psychological turbulence. The last line of her prose version titled, The Broken Mirror, captures beliefs surrounding events of life which are somehow inevitable — a focus on pleasing the world to the detriment of self — hence, “let me fix it because it doesn’t please you; therefore, it doesn’t please me.”
In an important sense, the collection Little Words encourages a commitment to the attention words give. A close scrutiny of the author’s language displays a resentment for yearnings that keep identity in ironic contemplation — “an eagerness to swap my long native name for Aurora or Didi or Mirabel, or my innate awareness that the presence of God and the Pastor’s long prayers from naming day embedded in mine are far deeper.”
Many readers will appreciate the presumed simplicity of sensibilities in Little Words. With respect to poetic virtues, I confess that Sabatina’s lines will draw interesting comparisons with some of her contemporaries—an attention that will attract a large audience to her unique poetic taste.
One significant point with regard to her writings is the special tone of voice — the liberal speaker that reveals a corresponding impulse of life. The constant use of the personal pronoun “1” cannot be contemplated or wondered at, because the effects of the lines and narratives have an identifiable tone of address — the voice of the author with personal perception. I must commend the author for writing honestly and literally.
Even when we insist that this book contains the monologues of the author, we must accept the fact that her varied subject matter or themes reveal comprehended conditions of existence — not just important for discussion, but of complete concern.
For clarity of consciousness, I believe a shared one, is the impressing strong distinctions of the author’s mind in linking everything about her to nature — thus, enforcing a parallel ideology between herself and the natural environment with rustic sensibilities. In her sheer amount of interest in the poem, The Great Outdoors, she easily confesses:
It is an alive world
Alive just like me
Forests of breathing trees
Breathing just like me.
The author’s revelation does not only reflect as marvelous to us, but nurtures a rare simple poetic aura laced with tentativeness. With an inner sweetness, she affirms: “In earth, in nature/I’m never on my own/ In earth, in nature/ I feel so at home.” With this reminder, she refreshes readers with sharp diction that is so engaging and reflective.