Title: Brave (A Collection of Poems)

Author: Joshua Omena

Reviewer: Farida Adamu


From the opening pages of Brave, we are introduced to the poet and the basis for his brevity, scripture. We find fragments, verses from the Bible at different points in the work.
In the first poem Writing on the Wall we see Omena’s desire to find God in everything.
“In the darkness
found in the edges”
We see his longing for the simple and ephemeral things.

Ghost Town explores pain and the effects of the actions of men.
“A girl was a city
of flowers and dreams
but while she slept
soldiers found the gate
in the place her thighs meet”

In Alone, solitude is a thing to be desired. Amidst all the noise and chaos, we thrive better in loneliness. There’s eternity to be experienced in every moment.

Should I come is a brilliant retelling of the feeding of the five thousand by Jesus. Dispelling the fear of the disciples he spoke. “It is I”. The poet assumes Peters place, walking on water to meet his master but in considering the storm, begins to sink. In conclusion his doubt is questioned “Faint heart, what got into you?”

In Concubines of Jos the poet pays tributes to the places his feet has touched in the city; Bukuru, Rukuba, Lamingo, Shere, Terminus. Of Shere, he writes thus:

“with your swinging moods,
I love how you make me feel
like a stranger and a lover”

The book ends with a call to “Salvation” Significant I’d say, as every sermon typically ends with a call to salvation.
As we follow Omena through his brave journey, we see his deep connection with the mystical, the I AM. The poet is rooted in the divine, you could take him for a student of Rumi. Poetry written in the simplest words yet resonating deeply. Every poem is a delight; amidst themes of love, faith, solitude, loss, home, and identity, strong use of metaphors and imagery, the poet tells compelling stories in every line.
The photographs in the collection cannot easily be ignored. Pictures they say speak more than a thousand words. Omena’s speak volumes.
What’s more?
There’s a place for you on the altar of Omena’s poetry. Come, come and be made whole.

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COAL’s mission is to support and provide opportunities for budding writers in Africa to develop their creative independent voices and to explore careers in professional writing. To help creative writers and spoken word artists realise their literary dreams by providing platforms for their self expression. .........



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