Title: Thin Line Between Love & Hate
Author: Damilola Popoola
Pages: 186 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Date of Publication: November 22, 2017
Reviewer: Oyindamola Shoola
BOOK REVIEW: The Thin Line Between Love & Hate by Damilola Popoola
The first time that Damilola Popoola’s work really stood out to me was in the Sprinng Literary Movement July 2017 Poetry Contest. When I came across Damilola’s submission for the contest titled; “Of Mother Africa’s Mothering,” I thought to myself, that some kings do not need expensive praising and hailing before they are recognized. The subtle but majestic meanings that Damilola’s poems hold are highly effective and outstanding. Damilola Popoola, just like Pyrokardia, the author of “A Beautiful Mess” and “Broken Wishbones & Empty Spaces” is a writer whose subtle words create imageries, discoveries, and meanings that a reader can easily connect with.
I and Kanyinsola Olorunnisola; the founder of Sprinng Literary Movement, while deliberating on the potential winners for the Sprinng Literary Movement July 2017 Poetry Contest, concluded that the contest was made for Damilola Popoola’s poem and that his poem has no competition.
So many poems stood out to me in Damilola Popoola’s debut anthology titled “The Thin Line Between Love & Hate.” The poems in this book are like a round trip ticket from earth to heaven and then earth again. Damilola is skilled at carrying a reader on a journey and bringing them home. Recently, in a class named; Foundation of the Creative Process, I had the opportunity to meet Mitchell Jackson; the author of “The Residue Years”. One of the questions that I asked Mitchell was;
“How do you know when you are at the end of a story?”
Mitchell responded that he believes “a good story is one that ends where it starts.” The poems in “The Thin Line Between Love & Hate” prove Mitchell Jackson’s words to be true. An example is a poem titled “Quake” on page 19. Damilola writes;
“Maybe if I shook the
Heavens a little more
You might free fall into my waiting arms.”
The ending of the poem answered the inferred questions created at the beginning of the poem. Questions like, “why would he shake the heavens?”
This poem is short and simple, and the themes in it are love, longing, and goodness.
Another prominent style that I admired in this anthology is Damilola’s code-mixing with Yoruba language and the Nigerian culture. In a poem titled “Love like Jollof” on page 22, Damilola writes;
Love Like Jollof
“You, like owambe Jollof rice on
Any given Saturday noon are
What the boys long for.”
Besides the message, this poem is witty and I am patiently waiting for Korede Bello or one of those Nigerian love artists to borrow these lines.
The ideas in many of the poems are also well thought and calculated. Apart from being like round-trip ticket, a notable lesson from “The Thin Line Between Love & Hate” is that “What goes around, comes around.” An example is in a poem titled “Escape Route” on page 132. Damilola writes;
“Me chasing after you
Was the only way
I could run for my life.”
With this anthology, Damilola proves to be a man of his words when in his Sprinng Literary Movement biography, he writes that;
“He is someone who continually masters the art of micro poetry so as to combat the notion that poetry is disconnected, long and boring.”
I was engaged all through while reading “The Thin Line Between Love & Hate” and I connected easily with Damilola’s words because they were simple and concise. This is a book that I am thoroughly enjoyed. With writers like Damilola Popoola, there is hope in that many people who hate poetry will fall in love with it again. Damilola Popoola is a testimony to the revival of poetry, particularly in Nigeria and among Nigerian writers.
I am very proud of Damilola and this anthology and I hope that he continues to explore more forms and styles of poetry writing.