The Horizon

A. O. Odimayo

Publisher: Balboa Press Pages: 72 Price: (paperback) $13.66 ISBN: 9781982283520 Reviewed: July, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

The Horizon, a narrative poetry collection by A.O. Odimayo, traces its speaker’s journey to Madrid, her broader ruminations on the human experience, and ultimately her spiritual journey toward the Christian faith.

The book is comprised of 25 poems arranged in four sections: “Part I: Madrid 2003-2004,” “Part II: My impressions of the earth,” “Part III: My thoughts on the world,” and “Part IV: The spiritual awakening.” The majority are written in quatrains using an abcb rhyme scheme.

For example, in the title poem, “The Horizon,” the author writes: “The sun set on another adventure./ My lips curved into a smile./ I was free of those experiences,/ of moments that left me so beguiled. In “A diamond life,” she writes: “Suddenly he drops his chisel./ Then he hears a distant call./ As he stretches his emaciated body,/ he slips, plunging into free fall.”

Occasionally, the work offers stand out moments that employ concrete details to engage the reader’s senses, as in “My first impressions of Madrid”: “I walked eagerly through busy markets./ I ate tapas and swayed to flamenco./ My discovery of gypsy culture, [sic]/ Led me away from all modern discos.” “The dreamer,” a story of a student searching for a thesis in Mexico’s violent past as he sips coffee in a Mazatlan café, also offers some specificity, as in: “A hungry junkie crawled through the bins; his lunch/ was a banana skin.”

More often, though, the work is summative, more general than specific and lacking memorable imagery that recreates a moment in time. Abstract language is common, as in: “Persistence tried to crack an imperious system” or “His boundless gaze journeyed the expanses,/ from his consciousness to infinity…”

In her best work, Odimayo shows promise. Unfortunately, this collection, relying on abstraction, summation, and commonplace rhymes, isn’t likely to appeal to a large audience of contemporary poetry readers.

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