Author Olu-Gbemiga Ojo writes in his Introduction, “That I have delved into writing with an eclectic sense has helped broadened [sic] my scope on views with a universal approach, preparing large grounds for further learning frontiers.” His subtitle “A Poetic Potpourri,” also promises an eclectic range of subjects and styles in his poetry collection.
Unfortunately, Ojo’s garbled diction and syntax, along with his inconsistent and frequently incorrect verb tenses and conjugations, persist throughout the book, impeding the reader’s ability to grasp his impassioned and well-intended meanings.
Mull with Me is divided into six “chapters,” each broadly titled—“Life,” “Tributes,” “Polity,” “Beliefs,” “Soliloquy,” and “Amour”—but there are no notable shifts in theme or structure to distinguish the individual sections. Some poems, such as “Aerie of Safety,” employ rhymed couplets. This poem concludes: “Darkness and even team/ Sweet joy looms my dream,” and the lines appear to contain an intended epiphany. However, the reader is at a loss as to what Ojo means. Artful ambiguity in poetry can create a meaningful challenge for readers, but these poems often leave the reader feeling perplexed and frustrated.
Other poems in the collection are written in free verse, but the sentiments they seek to express are likewise confounded. For instance, the poem “Action” concludes, “Wriggle and pull free/ From those slumbers which drags aback/ Phut between still towards shake/ Dance the fists and hips, Act…” There is no resolution possible in this poem, as the reader cannot follow the speaker’s train of thought.
The most effective poem in the collection, “I Sing Africa,” appears in Chapter Three and stands out from the others because of its specificity and concrete detail. The poem begins, “All is not about Darfur/ I’ve seen it, eerie winds/ Moonlight through our thatch.” This poem provides the strongest template for the poet’s future work.
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