Blurb “Dead Dogs Don’t Bark is the second poetry collection from the acclaimed author, Tolu’ A. Akinyemi. With a similar tone and style to Dead Lions Don’t Roar (Tolu’s first poetry collection) this follow up masterpiece is nothing short of pure motivation. The poems cover a range of topics that many in life are aware of, that the Author himself has experienced and that we all, whatever our age, need support in. Beautifully written, the poems speak volumes to all age groups as they feature finding your inner talent, celebrating your individuality and distinct voice. The poetry collection has didactic elements for evaporating the effects of peer pressure and criminality amongst many others. Also covering mental health, relationships, career focus, and general life issues, the poetry is bitter sweet, amusing and thought provoking in turns.”
Themes Love, God, Friendship, Nigeria, Adversity, Family, Encouragement, Faith, Dreams and Gratitude.
Editing Some grammar errors and typos.
Lengthy review alert!
Lady B Dead Dogs Don’t Bark is a collection of 166 poems covering different subject matters but mostly an optimistic view or take on life which is motivational.
The first poem which caught my attention was Camouflage. A poem about the absurd situation in Nigeria where civilians who wear camouflage are harassed, sometimes arrested and beaten up by members of the military. It is one of the better poems in this collection as it is layered.
I also like Sleeping Deity about Amadioha, the god of thunder even though, I didn’t understand why it was referred to as a sleeping deity. And Dangerman about people who don’t wash their hands after using the loo, my pet peeve; “Beware of the hands that you shake.”
A few of the poems for example, Home Office 2, read like an autobiography and many of the poems are about Tolu’s family, friends and acquaintances.
Mo Happy New Year!! This is our first review for the year and it seems the universe wants us to keep reading poetry. No more caveats from me, because poetry is now my lot, and having read quite a few last year, I think I’m ready for whatever comes my way.
Dead Dogs Don’t Bark. Sigh. Where do I start from?
This book is a collection of poetic wisdom for the discerning (as the author says). It comprises over 150 poems. Each one stands as an admonition, observation or praise.
It reads like motivational speeches broken down to rhymes and stanzas.
It’s quite simple, doesn’t use ambiguous words, making it easy to read and follow.
My favourite poem is Beaten:
I have been beaten
Beaten in the world
I take solace in my words
What didn’t work?
Lady B We were looking forward to reviewing this poetry collection which has been on our schedule since November last year. Neither of us likes motivational books and we don’t read or review them. However, we thought a collection of poems about wide-ranging issues on life could not be your typical motivational book. We were wrong.
A sample poem – Why Sorry?
When you are not from Surrey
And you don’t live in the storey
When you are not from Warri
And you don’t need to hurry
Yes, I know you’re roaring
Yes, I know but am not sorry
The poems in this collection are elementary, there is little nuance or depth. It reads like motivational words strung together with a rhyming scheme. Sometimes, the bid to rhyme resulted in verses which were illogical and disjointed. For example, this verse in Tolutoludo ends in an unrelated phrase to the preceding lines:
Tolu is getting blessings
Upwards, onwards, it’s time to get flexing
In strange places, I have enjoyed mercy
I have only just started, I feel thirsty
In Letter To My Dear Parents, Tolu uses a simile which conjures a negative image even though he was trying to make a positive point; “Wisdom unfettered / Like clothes tattered.” This may have been because he was trying to rhyme.
Tolu suggests there is a stigma associated with the disease, cancer in the poem, Cancer with these lines: “Without the enigma / Damn the stigma.” I thought this was odd as I’ve not heard of any stigma associated with cancer.
There were a few grammar errors like “am” instead of “I’m” in Tonight, PHD, He Walked Away, Morning Time, Cash and We Like to Party. In Pressure, these lines: “If all you want is to take a slumber / I’ll kick you out like a marriage put in asunder” ought to have been “If all you want is to slumber / I’ll kick you out like a marriage put asunder.”
I cringed at his views on feminism in A Disparaging Tale. Tolu needs to update his knowledge of feminism.
Mo The length. Wow. It’s a lot.
It’s a simple book but a tad too simple.
The poems read like it was worked backwards, as though, he found words that rhyme and added sentences to them. The result was verses which were sometimes incoherent.
I am trying to up my game
For the days when there would be so much fame
As I don’t want to be part of the same
So, there was this dame
Some of the lines were rather predictable. Tolu, where is the element of surprise?????!!!!! For example, in Christmas Season: “Wave your hands in the air / Like you just don’t care.”
Tolu also used double negatives and ended up with sentences which were opposite to what he meant to convey. For example, in Who am I (Part 1): “I face my fears / I don’t do no tears” which actually means that he does tears.
This collection didn’t work for us at all. Perhaps, we are not the target audience.
Page numbers 180.
Damage N1,000 on Okadabooks.
Many thanks to Tolu for sending us a copy of his book for an honest review. Perhaps, Opinions Part 2 applies here too.