Thoughts in the Dark: An Uncharted Expedition into Verse by Tayo Aiyegbusi

Thoughts in the Dark

Genre Poetry.

Blurb “Ever wondered what a tired body and a restive mind can get up to when the power goes out?
In Thoughts In The Dark, an accidental poet provides interesting answers, as she ponders the highs & lows, quirks & routines and fights & flights we all encounter in the everyday business of living.
This is “an uncharted expedition into verse” you will want to go on, no matter where you place on the poetry appreciation spectrum.”

Themes Death, Heartbreak, Courage, Fear, Freedom, Loss, Spirituality and God and Betrayal.

Editing Mostly well edited with a few punctuation errors (unless it was intended).

What worked?

Mo Thoughts in the Dark is a collection of mostly free verse poems about life (Tayo’s thoughts) and can be read as admonishments as most of the poems are presented as such. There are 31 poems in total.

The collection opens with The Recipe, we find that the recipe to happiness is what one comes up with. “[A]t length I resolved that the recipe to make a dish of Happy \ Has no fixed list of constituents except each maker’s picks.”

In Roots, Tayo speaks about the family coming together to bury an elder.

In Inmates no More, the poem is presented as an advice to break out of fear. “If you find out you’re locked up and will to be free \ Confront your jailer head-on and effect your release.”

What I truly enjoy about this book is the language, it isn’t too complex neither is it too simple. Each poem is unique and unlike the others. The author plays on different styles, while some may rhyme, others are mostly free verse with unique patterns to them.

I think that placement for Ward 22 is creative, as it is the 22nd poem in the collection.

Lady B Thoughts in the Dark is a collection of 31 poems. The poems are a cross between free verse and traditional poems though Tayo issues a “disclaimer” in And Fair Notice:

In other words, you are as likely to spot glimmers of rhyme, or rhythm, or form, or style consistent with conventional poetry, as you are to chance on everyday-speak and expressions of dubious poetic lineage.

Some of the poems in this collection remind me of hymns and a few like The Recipe, remind me of complex nursery rhymes. Perhaps, this wasn’t what Tayo was aiming for but…

My favourite poems are Look Again, Mistaken and Dada. Look Again is a poem about an applicant who is beseeching his interviewer to look beyond his appearance and see his determination to succeed. “By what I know you must see of me \ I miss the mark by more than a mile \ But look past my clothes, move up to my face.”

Mistaken is about heartbreak. It’s raw, emotional and will be relatable if you’ve ever had your heart broken in a cruel manner.

You crushed it at last when you tossed it away

Was too stunned to catch it so it hit the rocks

The tearing, and bleeding, and scarring were hell

The gashes turned ashen remain a keepsake

Dada (dreadlocks in Yoruba) was also relatable. It brought back memories of all the pain one went through to manage one’s hair as a child. My mother eventually cut mine and I had a low cut for years. I only started growing my hair again after secondary school.

I knew a few years break but then the torture resumed

This time without hot combs, but with a blistering crème

A hot oven set me straight an evening each week

And made sure I arrived death’s door, dark, gleaming and sleek

I think many of the poems in this collection will do well as spoken word because of the rhythm. This collection will appeal to those who like poems with a motivational/self-help undertone. A few of the poems are also religious.

What didn’t work?

Mo This collection lacks “soul.” For the most part, it felt like well-written lines strung together to lecture one. As a reader, I found it difficult to connect with the words.

Lady B This was a difficult poetry collection to review because I could see that the lines were crafted thoughtfully. However, I found it difficult to connect with most of the poems. This may well be more of a personal preference and not necessarily a reflection on the poems.

Number of pages 42.

Publisher Purple Wall Productions/The Quester’s Nook.

Damage N1,000 on Okadabooks.

Rating 6/10.

Thoughts in the Dark is available on Amazon and Okadabooks.

Many thanks, Tayo for sending us review copies in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Poetry

Tagged as: , ,

7 replies

    • I didn’t read poetry collections until last year when we started the blog. Prior to that, I only read the occasional poem. We challenged ourselves to read outside our comfort zones every now and then. At first, it was daunting and it’s not my favourite genre but I’m beginning to appreciate it more now. It’s more difficult to review compared to prose and sometimes, I wonder if I just don’t get the poems as opposed to the poems not being good but at the end of the day, it’s my opinion about what I read, whether I enjoyed it or not.

      Liked by 1 person