Verses for Everyone

Dead Cats Don’t Meow – Don’t waste the ninth life

Author: Tolu’ A. Akinyemi

Publisher: T&B Global Concepts UK

Year: 2019

Pages: 128

Review was previously published in Gnomi Patron Greece & The Sun Newspaper

Reviewer: Derrick Chidumebi

You can take the river to the horse, but you cannot force the river to drink the horse” I have read many poetry books that can simply be summarized into that line. Big words, bogus devices, unnecessary innuendos all leading to a well-constructed piece of rubbish. At first your instincts tell you something is wrong somewhere but because of your love for poetry you insist on reading it once more and then it leaves you speechless. But that is not the case with “Dead Cats Don’t Meow” by Tolu’ A. Akinyemi. This is a well simplified glorious work of art that explores the grandeur of poetry. I can’t count how many times I kept screaming “Yes!”. That’s how amazing this book is. As a poet, this is one book that will call to life your poetic viscera. It starts so beautifully with an “About the author” poem that does well to make the reader feel at home with the writer. Just like his previous book, Poet Tolu pays homage to his wife in such a way that could leave any woman blushing, smiling and wishing they were married to a poet. It’s true what they say, “The best person to get married to, is a writer because every day feels like the first.” The secret to a good life is also a good wife *inserts smile emoji*. I must applaud Tolu Akinyemi for putting family and friends first in his books. Dead Cats Don’t Meow feels like a soldier bidding his family goodbye before he goes to war because shortly after, we see the poet take a true battle-ready form. Starting subtly with our morals, like a gladiator at war, the poet starts devouring pressing topics facing the human race. It touched on racism, depression, sports, survival, unity, mistakes, heartbreak, love, immigration, health, election, politics and many more.

Oh! How I wish every leader in Nigeria would read this book. You just keep snapping your fingers. Whether you are a poet or not, don’t be surprised to find yourself jotting down lines because that is what this book does. It triggers the poet in you. There is just something for everyone. So many themes brought to light and you tend to have a change of perspective on how you viewed certain issues. I found some poems hilarious too and it was also good to learn about the phobia for flying. The beauty of “Dead Cats Don’t Meow” is in its simplicity which makes it easy to understand. That doesn’t mean it lacked in English language. Words like besotted, exculpation, avant-garde, innocuous, could leave you begging for a dictionary. There were lines that struck me in particular. My favourite spoke of how we need our banks to be filled with people. That poem left me dreamy. This is a magical book. However, I did have a problem with the sub notes. Maybe it’s the African in me and the fact that I relate well with the book as an African reader as opposed to a white reader, but I felt some explanations weren’t supposed to be in the book. I would advise the poet to rather add a chapter of glossary at the end of the book for those who might have issues with the book. This enables us to enjoy our book without any commercial break. (I know I’m that greedy) That aside, I really enjoyed Dead Cats Don’t Meow and I have been using this book as a means to improve my writing skills putting into consideration that we write to impact and not to impress. One poem that should be framed and kept in the museum as part of our historical artifacts is, “Raped At Dawn”. I advise everyone to read this book and pass it on to the next generation. Thank you Tolu Akinyemi for this amazing piece of art and thank you for leaving this posterity for the younger generation. I am proud to be booktiful.

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