Nigeria's revolutionary poet Kukogho unveils new collection 'What Can Words Do?'
culled from ENVISION NIGERIA
‘Do not judge a book by its cover’ is a common saying but this new collection of poems, ‘What Can Words Do?’ from one of Nigeria’s most talented young poets and founder of Nigeria’s most popular online social orientation poetry forum, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson’s, is a deserved exception to this rule.
One glance at its unique cover and you would know instantly what to expect.
From the mind probing title to the simple cover design and eye friendly color mix, to the unique style of expression in the poems, exploring new styles and approaches to poetry, the book is arguably Nigeria’s most attractive collection of poems.
The poems in the collection highlight issues of leadership, politics, marriage, and women abuse, destruction of the earth, war, peace, religion and love.
“The book is an attempt to show what words can do in a society where a lot is wrong, from the privacy of our homes to the streets and corridors of power,” Kukogho said.
“It is a collection of words for me, my attempt to break away from a painful childhood, chart a new future and be a light to other young ones like me. You can call it a confession and a statement of intent”
“I believe poetry can and should be used to inspire, cajole and force change in society. Poets have a subtle way of saying a lot in a few words, and therein lies great power for change in a world that desperately needs change,” he added.
Kukogho’s diction is simple without being simplistic and his style is uniquely experimental, but the influences of his early exposure to formalist poetry influences could be easily noticed in his, measured meter, rhythm and rhyme patterns.
"I'd rather the beauty of my poems be found in my wordplay, the familiar nature of the words to the reader, the musicality and the ease of access."
Nigerian poet, writer and spoken words champion Dike Chukwumerije recognized this when he once said of Kukogho:
“With the earth of structure and the air of rhyme, the water of rhythm and the fire of passion, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson weaves his own brand of poetry, keeping faith with the old traditions, yet inventing new ones.”
Kukogho, who calls himself a Poetivist’s, a cross between poet and activist, is distinguished by him employ of direct and sometimes forceful language. He explains his reason:
“There are a lot of things to be corrected in society that we don’t have time to dilly dally. The quickest and the most impactful is rude and crude sometimes…
“Poetry is not apologetic, it doesn’t mince words. Especially when the purpose is to inspire change, you must use words that poke the conscience. Being too soft is away to help your reader forget in a hurry.”
A lot has been said and it still being said about ‘What Can Words Do?’ by his contemporaries and other poets, and poetry lovers.
South Africa based French teacher, poet and promoter of African poetry, Brigitte Poirson had this to say:
“His collection of poems rings like a poet’s progress through life, until he reaches the ultimate climax of his spiritual quest. It is sharp, forceful and literate. Simply riveting!”
Moses Opara, a member of his poetry forum who reviewed the book said:
“Without, much ado, reading Samson's anthology “What Can Words Do?’ is like opening pages of endless words carved in the heart of the writer, designing pictures on naked walls for the world to see and appreciate… the beauty of African literature whose ink can convert a stony heart.”
Kukogho’s passion for poetry led him to start Words Rhymes and Rhythm, a social media based poetry reorientation forum that is helping over 4000 young poets hone their writing skills, focusing on social change poetry. It is now Nigeria’s largest online social poetry forum.
He added another change poetry forum in June 2012 which he called VerseUp! where poets use poetry to fight violence against women in all forms.
In 2002, he won the Orange Crush‘s ‘52 Years After’ poetry competition commemorating Nigeria’s 52nd independence anniversary.
There will be a public unveiling of the book on the 27th of September at Savanna Suites Area 3 Abuja.