Tittle: Brave Up
Author: Bola Oyelakin Ogungbadejo
Publisher: Phoster Solutions
Reviewer: Lolade Ademola
Books do a lot of things to their readers. They educate, inspire, guide or simply entertain them. Brave Up, a collection of poems by Dr. Bola Oyelakin Ogungbadejo does all of the above with admirable skill.
This collection of poetry is made up of diverse themes about life, and each piece is simple in language but strong in its message. As you turn through the pages of the book, you’ll discover to your delight that the author wears several hats.
In “Frenemies”, she’s a psychologist, exposing the blueprint to fishing out the pretenders in her readers’ lives. She writes: “They cry tears and hooray with you/With their minds miles away from you/They hear your worries without listening/Like earphones on a deaf man’s ear/They are stakes that support on spot/Whenever life issues seem wavy/But their hearts pump distance/That drives them so far away”.
Ogungbadejo also brings to shore her advocacy passion. She is a passionate voice in the women and girls right space, and this is very evident in all her works. In “The Girl Child”, she writes: “The girl child/Long maligned and long abused/Longs to become a life saver/Own a bakery for bread winners/And free from society’s fetters”.
2020 has been a very complicated year in the black community. The hashtag #blacklivesmatter has been used across the world to fight the persistent racism in developed nations. In Brave Up, the poet lends her voice to this cause with a few purposeful poems.
In “Racism (and a message of hope)”, Ogungbadejo writes passionately: “Racism! /An excuse to subjugate/Like a beast of burden/Racism! /An excuse to hate/For the heartbroken”.
And in “Unapologetically Black”, she gushes with pride: “I’m unapologetically black/Don’t try to bridle me like horses/Or scare me like scarecrows/I won’t use a veil over my beauty/I’m black and solid as a rock/Before you hastily be my judge/First advocate my potentials”.
The author confidently delves into the personal development space, as through a large number of poems in the book, she charges her readers to shift mindsets, be more and do more.
In “What’s Your Excuse”, she writes: “Do you think yourself too old? /What did Thomas Edison do at 80? /What did Benjamin Franklin do at 81? /And what did Noah Webster do at 84? /Do you think yourself young? /Ask Wolfgang Mozart what he did at age 4/Read how Napoleon conquered at 25”.
And in “Contentment”, she writes: “Do all to escape covetousness’ grip/And its soulful restlessness’ pit/House contentment in you/And escape daily breaking aches”.
In all, Brave Up is a collection of poems that explore diverse topics about life. Irrespective of what you seek for when reading, there’s a poem with a lesson for you.