Seun Lari-Williams’ poetry collection, Garri For Breakfast, clearly emphasizes the elemental titular inextricability by deeply and aptly highlighting the human plight, not failing to include the experiences and mundane realities which are overlooked and usually taken for granted.

Using Nigeria as its setting, the poet assumes the divine role of a bard by telling again and again, the stories of a people―especially one in a sort of historical downstream. The poet, with his poems, goes further to showcase the peoples’ cultures, sensibilities and identity which are often reflected in their language and literature; and particularly in this case, the poetry by which they translate their realities.

Lari-Williams, in this enthralling collection, navigates various sensitive issues, those to which the eyes of society are often closed. Engaging readers with simple diction and buxom lyricism, the collection comes nothing close to aridity.

It is evident that while creating this piece of art, the poet rode upon the tides of sarcasm and didacticism, making sure to add sprinkles of nostalgia in the attempt to pass his message across to every possible reader demographic.

Despite the herculean task of selecting a few illustrative poems from the collection of fifty-three, one is factual to assert that in poems such as You Could Get Raped, and Magic Is Mundane, Lari-Williams takes a repeated satirical jab at some grotesque happenstances that “beautify” our contemporary society. It might as well be perceived as a loud knock on our bald-headed consciences to jolt us back to reality.

This way, we appreciate and value the obvious link between societal occurrences and their effects on the masses, whether directly or indirectly. The aforementioned poems are clearly satirical, and one would hardly be wrong to brand them as the “Fela” of the collection.

In Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Morality is the basis of things, and truth is the substance of all morality”. This, in my view, is the backbone of a majority of the poems in Lari-Williams’ publication. For didacticism, Thirty Days Hath September, Same Hell, and What Could Have Been are great exemplars.

They are perhaps a perfect tripod of representation, or better still, a three-pronged fang which releases its venom of instructiveness into the flowing consciousness of readers. They pose as great teachers, resurrecting and rejuvenating the distinctive virtue of morality which seems to be relatively scarce in the shopping cart of our contemporary society.

Amazingly, Garri For Breakfast clearly cuts out itself as a collection that can be easily assimilated by all classes, ranging from the professorial to the fledgling reader. There is at least a poem that resonates with each reader, and the collection is reflective of almost every life condition.

I must add that the poet should improve in his use of imageries, as they serve to weave an alluring, pristine cloak upon poetry.

I definitely recommend that you add Garri For Breakfast to your wish list as it would engage your senses in a unique advantageous adventure, even as they ride upon the fecund hinds of scholarship.

 

A graduate of English and Literary Studies, Iwuagwu Ikechukwu is an African poet. His works have been published in The Shallow Tales Review (Nigeria), Black Boy Review (Nigeria), About Place Journal (USA), Flora Fiction (USA), Dissonance Magazine (UK) and Orange Blush Zine (Malaysia). A lover of the Igbo culture, Ike loves researching, writing, studying, reading African literature as well as engaging in creative, thought-provoking arguments.
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