Via cell phones: State College, PA – Lagos, Nigeria

When Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom, the author of The Light Bearer (also available in the U.S.) asked me, if I could attend an event of high significance for him, namely his debut introduction to his readers in Nigeria, I was eager to do so. While I couldn’t be there physically, our cellphones managed to enable us a bridge between the continents. My words of endorsement of his poetry appear below, in the form and content I compiled them within a short amount of time that I had (not due to Kolade’s negligence but rather our time zone difference but also my heavy work schedule). I hope my enthusiasm will be well-served so that you may be interested in informing yourselves with this poet of rare talent who happens to be very young but his life  view and lyrical analysis of life issues exceed many heavily aged individual’s capacity. Please read my text picturing my actual presence there in the gathering room for his event, addressing his audience before he begins his book reading.

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A rare talent in composing poetry but also in raising awareness for world issues that matter against the backlash of pitifully mundane ados – perhaps the youngest peace ambassador.

This is hülya yılmaz from State College, Pennsylvania-USA. A warm hello to Lagos State, Nigeria. I feel privileged to be one of the guests at your unique event today in honor of Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom. Knowing Mr. Olanrewaju has been a privilege all by itself. There must be many who are eager to talk about his poetry, so I shall keep my comments on his rarely found poetic work brief. I allow myself to judge as such based on my extensive university career in teaching literature in all its various genres. There is a quote on poetry I am particularly fond of, and it is by the American poet and writer Charles Bukowski: “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.” Kolade’s lyrical work demonstrates the materialization of the Bukowski conviction. Mr. Olanrewaju’s poetic voice demands attention.   For its clarity, genuine spirit, innovative and creative symbolic imagery, engaging diction and for its musical composition at the same time. There are many, just too many poems in his first book, The Light Bearer, that I could refer to and comment on and on. But, as I noted before, I am not the only one at this literary gathering who wants to shout out to all attending as loudly as I can what the significance of this unbelievably young but incredibly matured poetic genius. I will mention the titles of a few, almost all from about the middle section of The Light Bearer. While I do so, I want to hope that there will be time enough for someone to read these poems aloud for everyone to hear – hopefully again and again. One of them treasures his book on its earlier pages, “My Tongue My Culture”; the others, more toward the mid-section: “Doves in the Sky”, “The Pillars of Peace”, “Let Me Speak My Scars” and later in this notable book, “Beautiful Petals”. Obviously, I can’t and won’t manipulate the time allotted for your event, and will, therefore, only give you a poem by Kolade through which I got to meet him. I will always cherish that time.WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BUY PEACE?

 

I sit on a mammoth mountain

 

Holding the map of a nation

I

Stare at map with fondness

 

While I savour the smell of peace

 

But mood wouldn’t be retained for long;

 

Map suddenly bleeds

 

Blood flows like the Red Sea

 

Children’s tears deafen my ears

 

Adults wail in agony

 

Brutality and cruelty kill without ceasing.

 

 

Peace is sick in Syria

 

Should we call violence to treat?

 

Love is jailed in Syria

 

Should we employ hatred to defend?

 

Humanity is assaulted in Syria

 

Should we call inhumanity to Judge?

 

Death is thief in Syria

 

Should we call Deaths to arrest?

 

 

War is a whore

 

It seduces death to be its lover

 

While being engaged to catastrophe.

 

 

Confusion parties within me

 

Violence must halt

 

But certainty of identity

of the STOPPER

eludes me

 

How can peace be so costly

 

When all we need to purchase is love?

 

An example of what he offers in the face of the prominent tribal mentality among the world leaders at large, isn’t it?

I promise, these will be my last words (for this event) – words that Kolade Olanerwaju’s poetic power practically gave me the insight to write about his book: Is creative writing a learning objective or an innate quality, constitutes an age-old question. With Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom, the answer is multi-faceted, as his poetry eases the reader to a phenomenon of rare talent and impeccable ability in self-teaching. No ordinary evaluation criteria will do. [My own words from The Light Bearer] Thank you all for listening, Thank you, dearest Kolade, for mediating my words through what I am sure to be an utmost lovely reading voice. Continued success to you, dear young friend!

23 Comments

Filed under Reflections

23 responses to “Via cell phones: State College, PA – Lagos, Nigeria

  1. Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom

    And here I am, stunned! Much has been said about me and my book here. Thanks to ever motherly Ma. Hulya. I’m so happy to realise you got a copy of my book, Mr. Jean-Jacques. I hope it was worth reading. Blessings!

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  2. I’ve tried amazon.ca and amazon.com as in the USA and here is their reply…
    Your search “Punctured Silence by Kolade Olaurewaju Freedom” did not match any products.
    If you let me know to who I might apply on line, once I’ve read at least some of it, I will be more than pleased to share my thoughts with you, especially since you were involved with the editing. Let me know when you are up to doing so, being careful not to overtire, so as to not delay your full recovery.
    Be well dear Hülya…!

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    • Dear Jean-Jacques, your waste of time is unfortunately my fault, I suspect…due to my reference to “upcoming” regards Kolade’s new book…I’m afraid it has not been printed as of yet. Do stay tuned, please, as I strongly feel that you are going to take a different pleasure in his work – it is worldly, to state the least…

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      • No problem as to time… and it is not your fault, but rather mine as you did say in your message that he has a new book “coming out”. I incorrectly interpreted that it may have already been launched. I will stay tuned as you suggest, and look forward to its arrival. Thank you for letting me know, and take care for a speedy recovery…

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        • The book should now be available at amazon.com, dear Jean-Jacques, in case you are still interested in having your own copy of it. Thank you for your patience…(it seems that I am getting better with each new day).

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          • Yes my dear Hülya (love that name) it is and I have placed an order on amazon.com just minutes ago, which should arrive in a few days. I expect I should be receiving your book “Trance” as well fairly soon. I shall let you know on both counts as the events take place. In the meantime be kind to yourself, that you will keep getting better of us who care deeply for you dear friend.

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            • Ops sorry for the very bad typo, where I meant to be saying “that you should keep getting better for us” and not the better of us. Though if the latter “of us” gets you better sooner, be my guest my dear friend.

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            • I wanted to let you know that I am very pleased to have received Kolade’s new book of poetry Punctured Silence this very afternoon, though I am still waiting for your book “Trance”.
              I will let you know my thoughts as you have requested, as soon as I have read thru Kolade’s book, and when I get back from a short trip to France.
              I believe it would be more appropriate if I did so by e-mail for this, if you do not mind and are OK with this. If you wish to publish my thoughts on his book, it will then be up to you to decide and choose.
              In the meantime, how are you my dear friend? How are things progressing with your health? Much better sincerely hope. I do look forward to hearing from you. Your concerned and good friend, Jean-Jacques

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              • My “Trance” is probably being shy to appear in your hands after “Punctured Silence”…with its largely self-focused content…I hope your trip to France is being or has been a very pleasant one. As for the platform to communicate your thoughts on Kolade’s book, I also find it to be most befitting to do so via our email accounts, dear friend. And I shall attend to that venue asap. My health has improved and is improving, however at a very slow speed. You have my warmest appreciation for caring this way. Wishing you the best, as always.

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                • Tut-tut, my dear Hülya, the product of your talent and accomplishments, I have no doubt can not be compared with the work of one whose experiences and emotional influences come from such different worlds and times. I believe the delivery time is more lengthy for “Trance” likely because there is more to deliver. My short trip to France by the way will take place this coming week.
                  Be well and take good care dear friend!

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                  • Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom

                    And here I am, stunned! Much has been said about my book and me. Thanks to ever motherly, Ma. Hulya. I’m so happy to realise you got a copy of my book, Mr. Jean-Jacques. I hope it was worth reading. Blessings!

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                    • Absolutely worth reading indeed. I have not read form cover to cover, as one of the advantage of poetry is its short story aspect that allows to read at your pace and mood choices. Most convenient, as I am pressed for time these days, with being in the process of fine tuning my book number eleven for publication, as well as writing for my book number twelve.
                      In any event, what I have read of your book so far is great, and rightly confirms the merit as well as the accolades given for your work and poetic talents, by our mutual and wonderfully talented writer and dear friend Hülya, Bravo… for Punctured Silence! Truly a gem…

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                    • Welcome back, dear Jean-Jacques! I am pleased to an extent that I know you would understand when I say how glad I am you have read Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom’s latest book. I won’t keep you too long, as I would dislike too much a distraction for you on my part. May you enjoy “these days” when you are “pressed for time” dear friend. After all, another book of yours is in the making. Kolay gelsin! (A sneaky smile grows on her face…)

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                    • And welcome back to you too my very dear Hülya! I am so very happy to hear from you. As to keeping me too long, for you that cannot be possible. You can take as much time as you wish. When you feel up to it let me know how you are, by post or by e-mail, whatever you prefer. In the meantime, a great hug, and good wishes for your health and happy days. With a smile in return…

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                    • Thank you, dear Jean-Jacques, for your welcome, hug, good wishes and smile. I will write an e-mail to you one of these days (I have been intending to do so for a while now but I allowed life’s demands take over…). I wish you the best in everything, also in the meantime. Love.

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  3. Having just read of your illness, and sent you a note. I resumed looking for your poetry, and in the process came upon your Kolade’s, WHAT DOES TAKE TO BUY PEACE, and am now at a loss for words to express my feelings as to the power of his picture and beauty of his poetry to describe it. Simply magnificent! Thank you for sharing it… Now back to my search for yours. JJ

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    • Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom is a superb poet – no contest to what I am capable of ever composing (not that a comparison/contrast can even be called for, since his is of a very different nature). I am delighted that you have felt the same way as I have, as soon as I read (on facebook) his very first poem. His personality is also unique in the sense of the wisdom he has already gained at his very young age. And his poetry reflects such gift. He has a new book coming out in which you may take interest: Punctured Silence. I had the wonderful opportunity to read it for slight editing purposes before my hospitalization but was incapable of making any contributions in that regard due to my deteriorating health at the time. The book is good to the last poem, and that is an understatement, dear Jean-Jacques.

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      • My hospitalization, as you said, boldly bare, is a reference that tends to lead one on the receiving end of such information to a state of ambiguous conclusions, not to mention outright worrisome, as concerns my new found cherished friend. May I at least know if you are on a positive course of recovery ? The admission of an old Virgo, cured of most of its disagreeable defects, save the concerned worrying aspect of the species. A sign of any kind, will help, dear Hülya. JJ

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        • Dear friend, I wasn’t able to e-mail you but want to relieve you of your extremely kind concern over my health: I am doing better by each new day and am thankful for this renewed opportunity. I have, however, spent two weeks in the hospital, having had one open, one endoscopic surgery (also under general anesthesia), unfortunately accompanied by different infections and complications. If you could see me now, though, you may not suspect much of any of these obstacles I have been through this August. I am trying to find humor in it all, personifying my ailments in their poor timing for this “come all-party” they decided to surprise with…My post tomorrow will reflect my recent experiences – something I had to do in order to distance myself from the disturbing memories. Thanking you from the core of my being for a friendship I also cherish so very much. Wishing you great health and infinite joy in your work on your 11th book!

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      • Thank you Hülya… I will indeed look for this Punctured Silence book. Such an intriguing title alone encourages one to seek it out. Take care, and get well quickly dear friend. JJ

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        • If you do, dear Jean-Jacques, and should you have that kind of spare time, would you please share your thoughts about Kolade’s new poetry book with me? I now leave you with my best wishes for everything in your life.

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