Su’eddie Vershima Agema’s debut poetic offering BRING OUR CASKET HOME: Tales one shouldn’t tell is a welcome and worthwhile literary effort that continually resonates in my mind. Since getting a copy personally and graciously autographed for me by the prodigy early this year, I have read, re-read and counter read the poems and I agree unequivocally with the poet that indeed collectively, humanity’s casket ought to be brought home for home is the cradle of our humanity and being. The quest for home coming whether dead or alive predates time and Agema re-echoes this sentiment. This collection of eclectic poems dwell and centre on man and society which are the bases for human existence and are the focal point of the arts hence are the binoculars through which the poet views the cosmic order.
The poet has painstakingly x-rayed, explored and enunciated the social realities and sometimes queer contradictions that inherently define humanity. The poems are kaleidoscopic, deep, telling, ontological and most importantly therapeutic. His message(s) is profound, far reaching; his anecdotes and allegories are mind blowing and instructive. As a contemporary poet worthy of his calling, Agema does not just complain of the rot and social dislocations inherent in society, he does not simply identify the multifarious problems that weigh down/diminish man and his society neither does he play the blame game or resign to fate or cry over spilled milk as it were; he proffers apt, soothing and feasible suggestions that can lead to the resolution of the social quagmire that bedevils man. His social responsiveness and commitment to this end is palpable and can by no means be over- emphasized. The poet understands unmistakably that poetry vis-à-vis Literature is the nexus that transforms and mitigates the social morass in which man has sadly found himself
Like an African warrior, he frontally tackles the fundamental issues that stare man in the face believing that they can be surmounted. His sublime Afrocentric style makes his poetry terse. Agema has a fascination/obsession for/with the moon and sun but the moon is his favourite; the moon for him is deeply emblematic of his being, wisdom and muse. Is not this poet a child of the moon? Here is a poet whose knack for demystifying death is legendary. His ‘Afrocentrically’ metaphysical discourse/evaluation/portrayal of death is fascinating. Like that great metaphysical poet John Donne, Agema taunts, satirizes and lampoons death. He mocks death and its agent of darkness and temporal destruction, imploring them to bury their heads in shame. The poet’s rich Afro-centric style defines his poetry, his world view is African and he makes no pretence about this. I’m afraid the phenomenal, erudite critic and budding enigmatic philosopher Ada Agada may question his unapologetic African worldview for he (Mr. Agada) has severally insisted that Literature must have a universal acclaim/outlook. I agree with Agada but I must quickly state that before any literary work would have a universal appeal to paraphrase Agada, it must be domiciled and/or situated within a prism and Agema’s is African from whence it can seek “universal appeal” to appease Agada. It should first of all have an unbridled African appeal and that is what Bring Our Casket Home does. These poems are sagely, full of twists and turns that are compelling.
Agema’s use of language is quaint, fluid and unambiguous, bereft of linguistic contradictions or complexities that mar or make poetry abstract or unreadable. Indeed, the poet has subtly told us tales one shouldn’t tell but none the less tales one has no choice but to tell. He has told us sure-real tales that invoke our humanity. The hallmark of his poetry is his panoramic ingenuity and lucidity and his ability to tinker and magically play with words. Having said all these, I honestly think the poems are over burdened with too much punctuation which, to me, stifles the flow and beauty of his craft. This is poetry full of sparks and promise. In all, the poet has masterminded a rich, graphic and vibrant brand of poetry that we cannot ignore.
Su’eddie Vershima Agema, may the moon serenade and caress your muse and may Aôndo keep your light aglow.
Emma Inedu is a versatile creative writer, critic and Literary Theory lecturer.
- HERO (A Poem) – Su’eddie Vershima Agema (sueddie.wordpress.com)
- Poetry My Soul (fakihahassanrizvi.wordpress.com)
- Fresh Nigerian Griots (interview 1): Hyginus Ekwuazi (sueddie.wordpress.com)
- OKIGBO – MYTHMAKER & TOWNCRIER AT HEAVEN’S GATE by Hyginus Ekwuazi (sueddie.wordpress.com)
- Honoring Black History Month with poetry (coolmompicks.com)
- LOST (IN MAD BLUES) (poem by Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize Judge Su’eddie Vershima Agema) (wordsrhymesandrhythm.wordpress.com)
- Hello World – An epic poem in 4500 stanzas (lostconsciousness.com)
- If you could see that you are a poet (lisaeasterling.wordpress.com)
- Win $20,000 – Montreal Poetry Prize (martinanewhook.com)
- Pangaea Poetry Prize Submission Period Now Open ” the poet’s billow (anexerciseindiscipline.com)