By Seun Ajijala
A chartered accountant, Oiwona Andrew, is a stammerer. This is definitely not a trait that anybody wants to flaunt in the public. What with the stigmatisation that those who stutter suffer, especially in the hands of comedians who mock them in wicked jokes.
But for Andrew, a creative person should be able to turn an ugly experience into something meaningful. As a result, his first collection of poems, entitled Heavy Tongue, is built around his experience as a stammerer. The collection of 19 poems is something that really gladdens his heart.
He says, Heavy Tongue is an imagery of someone who stammers. The title was taken from my personal life as someone with a stuttering tongue. This actually happened as a result of heredity. Nobody has control over the circumstances surrounding his birth. Therefore, whatever life throws at one, one can handle confidently with faith.”
Prof. Olusesan Oliyide of the Faculty of Law, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, also in the foreword to the book, notes that the poet has an exceptional talent, saying the gift compensates for his being slow in speech.
Oliyide adds, Heavy Tongue covers and touches several areas like one’s personal experience, women, traffic jam, elegy, nature, apartheid and religion. This makes the targeted audience for the book to be large. The poem, Mandela, is suitable for international journals and worthy of international recognition. In that poem, he dwells on racial discrimination which Mandela fought and won in South Africa.”
The title poem, Heavy Tongue, is a nine-stanza piece that bemoans the inconveniences of being a stammerer. Featuring paradoxical statements, among other devices, the poem paints the picture of the problems a stammerer faces.
The hidden part of her candidly talks about the struggle of an impotent man in intercourse, thoroughly describing the privates of a lady and making use of imagery, rhetoric, similes and metaphors.
Woman’s Chapters describes the phases of a woman’s physical and mental development from adolescence to adulthood. This poem richly employs rhyme, imagery and pun, which make it very humorous.
On the whole, Heavy Tongue is an inspiring collection. However, the image of the tongue on the cover of the book seems unnecessary, as it can affect the maturity of the work. Besides, the description of sexual organs in The Hidden Part appears to be too overt.
· * Courtesy, PUNCH