Eky's 2Cents

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Book Review; BIG GRAMMAR, SEEING IS DOUBTING AND OTHER POEMS

This is targeted at the book lovers, poetry geeks, wordsmiths, art lovers like me out there. I recently came across the book mentioned above and found this review. I thought it was worth mentioning here. Find the review done by EMMANUEL LLOYD ONYEIKE below.


BIG GRAMMAR, SEEING IS DOUBTING AND OTHER POEMS (REVIEW BY EMMANUEL LLOYD ONYEIKE)

 Let me adapt the path of Mark Anthony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and say: “I have come to review BIG GRAMMAR and not to speak big grammar…”

To write a book is either underrated or overrated until the work is done either disastrously or with ingenuity. Authors come and go, but a good book generally lingers beyond its writer.
Joshua Nyoosu Hanior’s BIG GRAMMAR is a bold attempt at putting the challenges of society into perspectives. It is a 30 page book on poetry which is an admixture of traditional wisdom and realities in our contemporary society, especially Nigeria. The book whose full title is BIG GRAMMAR, SEEING IS DOUBTING is divided into three broad sections, each bearing a common theme central to the thoughts of the author and the message he hopes to convey.
Section 1
The first part, Section 1, contains 12 poems with the thinking/ philosophy being PERCEPTION; the author seems to say that the world, our world, your world is a product of your perception and chosen lifestyle. Whether we succeed or fail depends on the daily patterns of thought we entertain and replicate. The author gives us a peep into this in “I Have A Dog”
But is the author’s argument sustained in “Seeing Is Doubting” where responsibility seems to fall on the laps of another party? We can only find out when we read further down to other poems.
A few weeks ago, a former President announced that even the new generation of leaders are corrupt. The question is: where did we learn it all from? The womb? One of Hanior’s poems replies the retired General. And I restrain myself from peeling off the wrapper on this very delicious bar of chocolate, though I inexorably salivate.
Hanior suddenly broadens his philosophy of patterns and choice in “Seed of My Lips” using rhymes, assonance and contrast to gild his meaning.
Section 2
In section 2, Hanior presents the theme of barren, flatulent leadership with beautifully weaved stories embedded in 11 poems whose plots take the reader through a mosaic of political, ethno-religious conflict and socio-cultural ridges. Time and again he takes a swipe at the eloquent “swag” of a breed or brood of creatures who “accidentally” found themselves at the helm of affairs.
Wedged basically here in the middle of the book is the poem BIG GRAMMAR, an irony because what you think is not what it is. It is paradoxically contrived to achieve maximum effect when you finally crack the thin sheet beneath which lies the leading thinking of the author.
Section 3
In the final part, Section 3, Hanior’s thoughts are emotive in the 7 poems that constitute this part. If you sometimes remember with nostalgia the loss of a loved one or are in search of answers that only the Transcendental Being can provide, this section offers deep introspection and reflection. Poetry has its many powers which go beyond creativity in word economy. Its creative freedom empowers the pen to create new meanings never completely observed in prose. Hanior makes good use of this in his 2nd and 3rd poems and leaves you to ponder, is there a new meaning to Solitaire?
But there is a link between emotions and foolishness. Subjectivity is lurking. The author describes fools’ slow steps to decadence and pain.
Diction & Style
The diction is simple and conversational. Unlike many authors who fall into the trap of deploying figurative and rhetorical language often to an obviously cloying depth, Hanior’s style of writing is refreshingly reassuring as he effortlessly weaves and blends meaning with poetic devices. Where literal compositions are proper, they are properly deployed and where figurative language is proper, they are duly appropriated.
Poetic Devices/Figurative Language
The author uses metaphors and similes to convey his message. He introduces imageries of “smoke”, “gazing on their bared buttocks”, “gaping holes”, etc in poems in this section as they either exemplify the socio-political status quo or contrast with the image he carefully built up. There is the proper use of rhyme, assonance, rhythm, personification, alliteration, repetition, stanza, limerick, satire, and etc to make this work not just pleasurable to read but competitive enough for classroom parsing.
The poem “Vanity” is an irony which also has a pun, assonance laced into the fabric. The author gives us a peep into the devil’s favourite sin in one of the poems, you want to find out.
A Bit of Critique
Does the author seem to make an argument in favour of child labour or does he seek to redefine society’s understanding of the word? The answer is succinctly wedged between the lines as we savour the taste and soak in the poems.
To compare section 1, 2 and 3, you are apparently presented with driving a Mercedes Benz, BMW and a Bentley to take a pick. One is better than the other two, but only by degrees…sometimes not at all.
Conclusion
There is something a good book does in the end. It leaves you with the promise that you would soon pick it up again to gloat over your favourite lines. And when you ever tire of that, it leaves you wondering “what next will this author bring our way?”


Eky says; I found it an intriguing read. Follow the author on twitter @nyrhymes

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