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Traveling the Emotional Universe, Life Poems

BY: Caroline Boateng
Traveling the Emotional Universe, Life Poems
Traveling the Emotional Universe, Life Poems

The collection, Life Poems, with the subtitle, Travelling the Emotional Universe, will tug at readers' hearts and disrupt them in a positive manner, emotionally.

In 126 pages, the author, Kwabena Osei-Danquah, takes a roller coaster ride with readers on all the emotional highs and lows of love, desire and passion.

Organised by titles, Life Poems consists of 69 poems, some with short explanatory endnotes, giving the date or year a poem was written, where it was written and why it was written.

Kwabena Osei-Danquah in this collection sets out to create a unique space of love and passion, where readers lose themselves in their imagination.

But the poems are not merely imaginative imagery, as the author shows his knack of expressing love, desire and passion as it is generally felt by most.

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That knack is tasted in the poem, “Love all wrinkled over”, in which readers are led into raw passionate desire, but unfortunately unrequited!

Poets and readers will relive experiences of spurned love and heartbreaks as they go through the poems.

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Kwabena Osei-Danquah also demonstrates his versatility as a poet in the way and manner ordinary daily activities elicit verses from him.

From the explanatory endnotes that sometimes give the time a particular poem was written, we get to know that even pressure in meeting deadlines results easily in verses from him.

The collection

Arranged in no particular order, Life Poems is engaging and interesting. Highlights of the first 10 poems are love, desire and passion. The themes of love are explored in verses such as “Gifts of enchantment” and “Coincidence”.

Nestled within these emotive pieces is a short verse titled "Rwanda", describing a rainstorm causing destruction that symbolises for the author the war and genocide of the country by humans.

It is as if the engulfing pleasurable feelings of love in all the other poems are being contrasted by the blinding and destructive feelings of hate unleashed during the genocide, and the rainstorm depicts that.

In the second set of 10 poems, the theme of love deepens.

"The crucible of love is forged in random places" is a verse in one of the poems titled "Love in the air" in this set of 10.

Also explored by the author are the themes of Christmas and the New Year, the aura of well-being, love and pleasure that the season or the time of the year births.

But love has two sides, with the other being hurt that most often comes with pain.

Thus, in the "Rapier points of love", that is shared.

In "A year is more than 365 days", the author explores life and living, and at the end of the poem, the sense is gained of the importance in not taking life for granted.

The dominant theme in the third set of 10 poems is life and its ups and downs.

In "Life is a ditch", poet Kwabena Osei-Danquah crisply maintains, "Life is a ditch with steps."

The imagery of the ditch and steps portrays the full complement of successes and failures accorded each human life.

"Life's journeys bring great rewards," we are told in another verse from the poem "Go make wrinkles in 2014".

In that poem, the themes of life and the activity of tough living are explored.

In the midst of all his passionate ramblings about love, desire and passion, the author spares some space for politics in the poem titled "Politics".

He captures the very essence of Ghanaian politics and the nature of politicians in the pithy verse, "Distinction is distinguished by insults."

In "Ghana, impossible love", which is found in the fourth set of poems, the author decries the absurdity of life in Ghana, "where politics is for those who reap where they have not sown" and where "politics gives higher returns and business attracts a miser's wage".

He also gives some thought to the pollution of the environment with waste, plastics and poisonous sewage at the country's beaches. He believes such careless behaviour is a disincentive to any love that could be had for localities.

Themes of words and their destructive and life-giving effects, mental illness, the return of the 37 Military Hospital bats and the blind policy to decimating them are all touched on in the fifth and sixth set of poems that conclude the Life Poems.

On the return of the 37 bats, the poet is almost gleeful about it, exulting in the fact that animals sometimes outwit humans, when the latter are careless in not recognising the usefulness of nature and animals to man’s progress.

Recommended

Kwabena Osei-Danquah’s Life Poems; Travelling the emotional universe, is an easy and engaging read.

Poems such as Rediscovery: Sweet beyond words, Politics, Love at first sight, Life force, Akam logic syntax imitated, and many, many more highlights that show the dexterity of the author as a poet to look out for.

He uses understandable language, though some words associated with long sojourns in places such as the United States (US) are evident in some verses.

It is a worthy collection of poems that the country can take pride in; a good material for students of literature and for all, a good material to read on holidays and during leisure.

It is recommended for all bookshelves in homes in 2019, declared by the Ghana Library Board as the Year of Reading.

The book of poems has also been endorsed by the Dean of the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, in a succinct recommendation, that among others, states, “In laying bare his poignant experiences in verse, Osei Danquah compels us to reminisce on our own joys and sorrows....”

It can be obtained from all leading bookshops in the country, including the University Bookshop and EPP Books.

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