An Orchestral Performance of Love Hymns: A Review of How To Fall In Love
Sensational love poems did not go extinct after William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, Emily Dickson, Khalil Gibran, and other fantastic poets. While it is true that we no longer make a great show of sending love poems overleaf of postcards and fancy greeting cards, there will be no end to love poems. This anthology, How to Fall in Love, is a testament to the claim that there will always be an inexhaustive flow of fresh, original love poems from poets around the world.
The poems in How to Fall in Love blend beautifully like the music one gets to hear at an orchestral performance or the sizzling symphony one enjoys at a cantata. That sort of harmony of notes and beats from different musical instruments is what a reader will first come to appreciate as s/he flips page after page. Every contributor, like a member of a professional choral, adds their voice to the hymn of love and the end product is an irresistible beauty.
Although, WISDOM NEMI OTIKOR, one of the contributors made a mention that love is no feat/In need of a handbook but we know that when cupid’s arrow pierces a man, he bleeds and this anthology is pretty much a first aid box. It is what we might refer to as the manual of love. Or an atlas to help the reader navigate in tandem with the tides of the heart. From desire, to passion, to rejection, and heartbreak, every isotope of love finds a representation in this anthology:
…a sunflower courting the sky for a drop of water (Radii of love, OJO TAIYE)
…would you submit the roots of your desires/to my confined means? (Content, OPUKIRI IRRA)
to f a l l in love, you must first culture a fraction of yourself in a petri-dish of vulnerabilities…
(How to fall in love, IJEOMA NTADA)
…in love, shame dies (Àbíkẹ, OLÚWATÓBI EZEKIEL POROYE)
- Passion and erotic love
I smile knowing how many more anthologies I’ll publish on her skin (My Lover, PATRICK N’KANU OKOI)
…lips locked in amber kisses —our tongues hold what’s left of the sun (Sunset, IBRAHIM ADEDEJI SALVATORE)
There is a neediness even the communion of bodies cannot fill, I knew, when you placed your tongue on mine. (Touch, TOBY ABIODUN)
- The Turbulence of love
…love is a battlefield (Hello Motunrayo, ADENIJI SODIQ ADEMOLA)
…our pendulum of passion swings incessantly (love will…, GODWIN NKET-AWAJI)
A sip of you is enough/Because forever is a lie. (Falling, PEACE UFEDOJO HARUNA)
…hold a requiem for the memories of the lover that never stayed. (How to fall in love, IJEOMA NTADA)
our history is one that I will tell myself over and over again/to remember that there are still bright things living inside me. (Bright Things, ANNMARIE MCQUEEN)
When we made love I was mourning us: a thing that hadn’t lived yet already died. (Touch, TOBY ABIODUN)
Impressively, the language employed by contributing poets in this anthology is not only brilliant, it is rich and aesthetically spiced with poetic devices. In the poem, (In)Dependence, for instance, JIDE BADMUS employs an oxymoron:
To be in love
is to be tethered & free,
fall & fly all at once
In the poem, content, OPUKIRI IRRA, uses hyperbole, “In a world where trees touch the sky” and in BLESSING OJO’s Free Fall, I see a simile not weakened by the familiarity of its comparison as it sits neatly on the page:
But fall in, like a heart in flames,
Desperate for water.
Forget the depth of the river.
Also, in Ojo Taiye’s Radii of love, the outstanding imagery, …a sunflower courting the sky for a drop of water strikes a chord and seems to set a pace for all the other sharp imageries in the rest of the anthology. Every poem in this collection is replete with flamboyant figures of speech as poets bask in their poetic freedom which has seen its widest stretch in contemporary experimental poems which have a reputation for formlessness but utterly beautiful.
How to fall in Love is like a sprint, it starts with its strongest leg and keeps going to the very last. The very first contributor, UCHE NDUKA, in his poem, Grove, begins by urging readers to come into the anthology with their own ideology of love. He wrote; “…a poem waits for the word/a reader will add/across the water:/to expand the available map”. By that verse, he seems to say that for a person to get the best of these poems, s/he does not have to be a passive spectator. That as the poets deliberately carry the reader along, leaving ellipses here and there, the reader should add his/her own thoughts and relish their creative offering.
It was such a delight to read every poem in this collection. While I cannot but applaud the poets and editors for this beautiful gift, I invite you to be a part of what TUKUR LOBA RIDWAN refers to as the testimony of gravity. I can bet that you will
…fall in love
In those ways that only
God can save you
(How to Fall in Love, SHEU JAMIU)
Get a free copy of the 2020 Inkspired Anthology, How To Fall In Love, here