Review of THE THINGS FATHER DID NOT TEACH US by Abimbola Alaka

Reviewer: Emmanuel Ojex


The Things Father Did Not Teach Us by Abimbola Alaka is a collection of poems that deals with life — in its barest forms.

The book touches on a lot of sentimental topics without being bathetic in the delivery of any poem in the work.

Topics such as rape, domestic violence, loss, grief, depression are not shied away from as the poet asks questions but not with the intention to give the reader an answer — rather to get them asking even more questions about themselves and their lives.

The poet uses the book to express herself; it consciously expresses her beliefs, pains, struggles, dilemmas, strengths, falls, flaws and everything else.

The flux of so many human elements, stories, thoughts, ideas, history, feelings to build a book makes the work a unique one in its right.

Abimbola is a loose writer as she plays a lot with the free verse. It is obvious she is not the one to be pinned down to the traditional rules of poetry. She applies some interesting elements in the book, humour, repetition when needed, and a bunch of others, which makes the work even more peculiar to her, her personality and style.

My favourite poem in the book is Prayers, and that is because of how personal the work gets with the reader, myself and its message in general.

Some other strong poems in the book are There’s Nothing, Had it Been, I Hate the shelter of Society, etc.

The author’s realism is a highlight in the work. Abimbola was able to—through vivid scene creations and powerful storytelling, create poetry that could not just be read and seen but also touched and felt. She brings the reader into her world through riveting storytelling.

Definitely a strong-point for her.

While a great length of the book are dark poems relating to a lot of social ills and tantrums, the book was well balanced out with the inclusion of some inspiring poems such as You Versus the world, When the rest of the world is against you, Prayers, etc.

On a final note, one just cannot ignore the author’s meticulous use of punctuations – which is quite a rarity in today’s world of free verses.

The author’s intentional usage of breaks and stops very much transcends the poems from just everyday poetry to poems with intentional flow and rhythm.

Abimbola lands a solid debut.

However, The Things Father Did Not Teach Us is not a book for everybody. It is a book for anyone who wishes to learn of the things we weren’t taught, but will face.

It is a book to come back to over time.

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