“In the end, the poet paves way into the minds of his readers, making them want to read the book over and over again.”


Just like Bm Dzukogi’s These Last Tears, Talking Drum by Damilola Sodiq Sanusi address the social issues that engulf his environment and society at large. In this book, Damilola succeeded in holding hands with the mind of his readers, traveling through the pores of his mind from the first poem titled “Did You Forget” which tells the story of a poor little girl who lost her father as a result of sickness that is braided with old age and had been violated, raped and chastised by her uncle, to the very last poem he named “Scare” . Scare Is the shortest poem in this book, it tell tales of the poet’s  life before and after marriage as he said;

” When the flashes are out,
I turn back to my scares
For they tell me stories
How happily married I am.” ………..(pg 72)

This poetry collection featured themes like rape (Did you forget?), Sickness (Covid-19 chose me), fear (The Herculean & fear), dreams (coal pot), love and pain (dark love, my star etc ), suicide (against the grain), corruption (can of worms & justice at auction) and a lot more. The poems are baked through the knitting of metaphors and personification in their simplest forms, which made it easier for the readers to consume. Though as a fan of condensed poetry, I find some of these poems tiring.

At some point in the creation of each poem, Damilola had to introduce rhymes and also gave attention to the structure of his verses. So he imbued verses with a sense of structure and meaning deliberately. This called the ears of his readers into literally hearing, which in turn made the language of his poem sounds special. It is obvious that the poet has acquired the art of creating effective musical verses with his poems.

The most enthralling part of this book, is in the poem LEGAL LOVE where Damilola Sodiq Sanusi broke the poem into four segments;
*To you I want a valid claim – this is the first phase where the poet is pleading with his lover to accept his request. He said;
” All I need is an acceptance of my offer
I know we both posses the capacity
I want a contract and not a mere agreement
To you I want a valid claim.”

*Right to your title – in this segment, the poet his assuring his lover of his undying love for her;
” Grant my claim to your title,
And I promise not to be negligent.
For my love for thee has never been so certain,
So I need not a codicil.

*If this love is a crime – this is the third phase where Sanusi emphasizes his love for his lover;
” With you I wished to be sentenced to life,
Without appeal nor prerogative of mercy.
If this love is a crime,
Then I want to be a criminal liable.

*Forever relevant – in this final phase of the poem LEGAL LOVE, the poet shows  clearly that his lover has finally accepted his request to be his valid claim as he chants;
” Now that I have a valid claim
And the right to your title
I am sure this love is not a crime
And to me you will forever be relevant.”

In the end, the poet paves way into the minds of his readers, making them want to read the book over and over again. Or even want to read other works of the author even though Talking Drum is his first book.


Reviewed by:

Ibraheem Uthman

Added 27th May 2020