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Elegy For Dead Flowers: A Review

Elegy For Dead Flowers: A Review
"We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art." 
~ Henry James.
Elegy For Dead Flowers is a poetry collection written for the poet rather than the ordinary Art enthusiast.”
~ Ibukun Alesinloye

 My first thought when I got a copy of the Elegy For Dead Flowers was “great! another dark poetry collection”. But If I am honest, I was excited (because I am an admirer of art in its purest form; passionate, mysterious, and honest) as I navigated through my phone to my eBook reader and waited for the book to come up. The cover shows a man standing alone at what seems like a foggy evening at the beach.

That alone had me eager to get started. Next, a quote about death that sets the mood for what is coming. I found myself wonder why the poet chooses this font type. I turned up my screen brightness and rolled my eyes at the amateurish nature (something I would come to understand) of the font type as I mentally and physically prepared to read the opening poem.

I write this review knowing that Elegy For Dead Flowers is one most exciting and haunting pieces of literature I have ever read; It is a collection written for the poet rather than the ordinary art enthusiast. Outlining a poets’ struggle to find words in Lagos Nights Are Poetic,

“you’re sitting beside your open 
window, hoping a poem 
finds you.”

the poet paints a picture of his own struggles, setting the entire mood for the entire collection with its closing verse:

“you won’t write 
a single word this night. 
you will cry, stare 
out the window, watch a bat skin
a mango, & leave 
it dangling. 
naked.”

Leaving an intricate image of loneliness in the mind of readers. The gothic image of a bat skinning a mango is not one you see every night, which makes this night standout for the poet and the reader.

In poems like Letter from a deceased poet, Poetry, Dirge for the beautiful ones. The poet tries to plays a role that didn’t fit into the entire collection but still showed the poets’ prowess with words. The poet’s constant shift from dark and reflective to optimistic and uplifting left me in a state of confusion regarding the entire collection but still excites me enough to keep reading.

One of the most successful pieces is Burying the hyacinth. In this poem, the poet’s amazing storytelling was on display in every line in the way he describes the pain of loss, presented in a sincerity and regretful prose style, the poet takes readers through the funeral procession for a hyacinth. The symbolic nature of the flower and the strong images presented by the poet with lines like.

 “Its time to say goodbye, and I taste dust in my mouth. The coffin 
makes scraping sounds on its way down, and I just know it will join the 
many sounds that haunt me at night. 

I want to cover my ears, 
beg them to stop. 
I feel a scream take shape in my throat. 
Yet, all I can do is stand and watch the earth belch, satisfied”

 made this poem the crown in the jewel of this collection.

As I complete this review, the entire collections take shape In my mind with pieces like “letter from a deceased poet” “the morning after death” “elegy for dead flowers” “interviewing my best friend’s ghost” “praying to a dead girl’s mouth” “burnt offering/conversation with a  drunk writer” “burying the hyacinth” “the anxiety of existence”, entrusting me with the secrets they hold.

I come to understand the poet’s state of mind, his inspiration, the reason he sat beside a window on a cold night watching bats skin Mango. Grief, the entire collection at first appears to be a tribute to a fiery soul no longer tethered to this plain but EHIOROBO Derek’s Elegy For Dead Flowers is a much more than a tribute or a memoir for the poet’s pain in print, what it is – with its unorthodox font and genius use of metaphor – a brilliant poetic interpretation of pain.

In what is a beautiful blend of prose and poetry, the relevance of this collection is striking in what I can liken to a rollercoaster ride. In a generation plagued by the pain of youthfulness, sometimes underestimated, and existentialism preached and idolized by artists, Elegy for broken flowers in its final poem leaves readers with something to ponder upon as we journey through this trap called the in-between upon currents emptying themselves in the same hungry, bottomless ocean.  

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