Reviews by Engr. Eze Chris Udeh, Nemeseos Athens, Greece, +306975023635
POEMS FROM AFRICA TO THE WORLD - AUTHOR: Okechukwu Okugo.
The Uniqueness of the book “Poems from Africa to the World’’ starts from cover to the inside and to the cover. Author Okechukwu Okugo has a unique way of packaging his books that set them apart from all other books in the world. “Poems from Africa to the World’’ is a collection of 61 poems ranging from themes that touch Africa in particular to the world at large. The poems are so unique that they transcend beyond the ordinary recitation of poems to a kind of story-telling about real life events, peoples and fascinating animals.
This is because many of the poems seem to have been inspired by real life stories. For example, the poem “The Rising Sun’’ is about the real life story of how a man avoided conscription into the Biafran army during the Nigerian civil war by moving to a distant area, dressing and working like a woman with his little surviving son tied at his back. And the poem “O How Sweet is Life’’ mentioning how Florida was discovered by the explorer Ponce De Leon and the way he died. The poem “Death Trap’’ talks about how thousands upon thousands of African youths perish in their very dangerous moves to migrate through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea to Spain or Yemen in search of a so-called “good life,’’ and not only does this poem discourage such suicidal moves but talks about what could have prevented such deadly trips. “Giraffe in China’’ x-ray’s how historically Emperor Yongle was given a gift of a life Giraffe by an African King, the first Giraffe to set foot on China. The poem “Rebel Leader’’ urges rebels round the world to drop their arms and stop warring so that they can “lay the egg of a golden legacy’’ because their wars only “maim and mangle the commoners’’–innocent women and children–they had always claimed to fight for. While the poem “Care for Your Only Frock’’ talks about how ruining the earth ruins our own future.
There are some poems in this collection of poetry that talked about fascinating African peoples like “The Mbinga Men,’’ real people somewhere in Africa who are a powerful example of man’s adaptation to their environment. This is as a result of the Mbinga people’s smallish stature that makes them fit to live and adapt well in the thick and heavily wooded jungle they live in and their extraordinary strength to battle and fell beasts ten times their mass, beasts that live side by side with them. The poem “The Akan Man’’ talks about the Ashanti people’s love for music and dance; while the poem “The Wailing of My Bushman Friend’’ talks about the plights of the Bushmen of Botswana who have been subjected to a fate worse than slavery in modern history by their own government as a result of their forceful relocation away from their ancestral land where they had lived before any other sages could come to settle down in that southern part of Africa, hundreds if not thousands of years ago or more. And it seems that the discovery of gold in their land is the major cause of their persecution for this coveted green desert.
The Poems wiggle round diverse themes and some relating to fascinating animals. For example, the poem “The Mountain Gorilla’’ is dedicated to encouraging more of man’s effort towards saving the “rare and gorgeous’’ mountain gorillas that are almost dying out in extinction due to mainly people’s activities. People he uses the terms like “Post pseudo modernists’’ and “Deconstructionists’’ to qualify referring to their destructive activities as “Declivities.’’ “The Awesome Katydid’’ is a poem that hails the design structure of the insect that has ears on its legs, while “The Emperor Penguin’’ is a poem that talks about how the Penguin’s “flight’’ under water which is about two or more times faster than man’s fastest jet inspires men to try to copy them in their designs of fast-moving ships and submarines. There is also the Poem, “The Horned Lizard,’’ telling the beautiful looks of the Sri Lanka’s lizard that possesses a horn maybe like that of a goat or some other animal. It is truly thrilling to know that there exists a monkey that possesses the ability to cry like a cat as brought out in the poem “The Caquietá Titi Monkey.’’ etc.
In the world of exploration little or nothing is known about Africans and their heroic acts. And it is very informative to know that an African actually joined the ranks of Christopher Columbus, Ponce De Leon, and Vasco Da Gama etc. This is what the poem “The Great African Explorer’’ accomplished by tracking or tracing the journeys round the world of Ibn Battuta who unlike other explorers started his own voyage on foot. He got to Mecca, then to India and was made a Magistrate in the Court of the Indians before he left after some years to China then to Spain, to many other parts of the world and back to Africa etc. There is also the Poem “Fine Africa’’ which talks about some beautiful places in Africa one can go and enjoy refreshing air, grand sights and warm hospitability of the African people.
This collection of poems started with the poem “Beautiful America’’ showcasing the secret of what made America what they are–a great nation. While the poem “Take a Gondola Ride in Italy’’ shows how sweet riding a gondola on the many riverine streets of Italy and eating pizza, pasta and risotto could be when vacating in Italy, a country that has another independent country inside it–Rome.
One can also find enjoyable reading other revealing poems like “How Africa Underdeveloped Africa (Oliver Twists),’’ “Will Palestinians have Peace with Israel?’’ “Diversity,’’ “My Skin Colour,’’ “Chinese Singing Pets,’’ “Amazonia,” “Nigeria,’’ “Timbuktu,’’ “Technology,’’ “Song of a Lover,’’ “Stone Town,’’ “Rich or Poor,’’ “Mother Earth’’ and many more.
Many of the poems are quite simple and very easy to understand while some might prove a challenge to understand. Truly there are more to learn in the book ‘’Poems from Africa to the World.’’
Okechukwu Okugo is a poet, dramatist and a Copy-Editor. He has also written a novel yet unpublished and is the author of the books, Gifted and Goliath and the Ant. Was one of the pioneer contributors to Xthetiks magazine, Port Harcourt, Nigeria and currently contributes to The I-Life Magazine, New York. He has a diploma in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Afikpo in Ebonyi State, Nigeria and a B.ENG in Computer/Electronic Engineering from Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria. An entrepreneur who has travelled to many parts of Africa and Asia and now based in United States of America.
POEMS FROM AFRICA TO THE WORLD is published in 2014 by Xlibris, USA and can be ordered Today by calling 888-795-4274 ext. 7879, Or online at www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, www.xlibris.com or visit your local bookstore in U.S.
GIFTED - AUTHOR: Okechukwu Okugo
“Gifted’’ is a drama set in Ahiazu village in southeastern Nigeria, a tropical Igbo village, Africa. It consists of two parts: a poetic prologue consisting of four poems accompanied with soft music played with local instruments like bamboo flutes, gong, local drums etc. The poems are anchored on themes that talk about the problems facing Africa in particular and the world at large. Societal problems ranging from the outright rejection of disabled ones, human trafficking, terrorism, and the elevation of wealth or physical beauty over virtue in some way are outlined in this drama.
It is a play that takes about two days, starting from one “fresh’’ Sunday morning and ending the sunny afternoon of the next day. Though it might appear to be like a very short play but it will be seen that the author accomplished so much, more than can be imagined with it. Thus the author Okechukwu Okugo showed how so much can be achieved with not too many acts in a drama. And this makes the reading quite simple and more interesting.
The actors and actresses are seen only in two scenes; one in front of the fisherman’s house and the other in front of Aki’s house, a friend of Joe, the fisherman.
The fisherman and his small clique of friends that appear to be well respected in their community, see themselves as the most important men in their village as such try to exert undue influence on one another. And that was why when the fisherman unbuckled his intentions to marry a blind maiden it did not go down well with them and all their “forces are united against his effort.’’ Not only from them the fisherman also encountered a stiff opposition from powerful Mgbafor, a cantankerous and pugnacious old aunty who swore before the fisherman that she will use her physically-fit fists and more to resist his plans.
But the fisherman’s conviction that disability does not mar “virtuousness’’ neither does it mar “character’’ made him feel strongly that he is not making a bad choice anyway. And he sees his friends’ opposition beyond what he feels it is, and attributes it to the common problem facing Africa where mental attitude and undue opposition to one’s ambition have been the bane of Africa’s retrogression as he strongly believes.
The fisherman continues to argue that certain things must change before there can be real changes in Africa’s affairs. This he holds highly by outlining how the British changed from “Anglo-Saxon’’ cultures and the way the Americans changed from the culture of the “Gilded Age’’ to the fact that even the Greeks and the Romans changed all their backward cultures made in antiquity, necessitating the fact that all forms of existing Africa’s backward culture must change. Mention is also made to some of the changed old backward cultures and practices like the exchange of women between men as wives, a form of trade by barter men did amongst themselves using women, practiced in certain parts of Igbo land during the slavery years in Africa; and other obnoxious cultures practiced in ancient times. And also castigating all forms of violence against women.
The author Okechukwu Okugo in this drama highlights that the cause of Africa’s backwardness is not colonization but existing foes worse than colonization which he believes is not external but internal.
Okechukwu Okugo is a poet, dramatist and a Copy-Editor. He has also written a novel yet unpublished. He is the author of Goliath and the Ant; was one of the pioneer contributors to Xthetiks magazine, Port Harcourt, Nigeria and currently contributes to The I-Life Magazine, New York. He has a diploma in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Afikpo in Ebonyi State, Nigeria and a B.ENG in Computer/Electronic Engineering from Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria. An entrepreneur who has travelled to many parts of Africa and Asia and now based in the United States of America.
GIFTED is published in 2014 by Xlibris, USA and can be ordered Today by calling 888-795-4274 ext. 7879 or online at www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, www.xlibris.com, or your local bookstores in U.S.