Poetry, over the last few years, has started to make a big resurgence within our communities, allowing the written word to address modern concerns and issues.

Jessica Heron, a prolific reader of poetry, recently stumbled across a relatively new release from a fresh author, Abimbola O. Alaka. Here she reviews the short but impactful collection named The Things Father Did Not Teach Us.

“What originally struck me about the cover of this book was the beauty of the young child on the cover, and that it was a collection of poems specifically aimed at young people. I wondered what could be different about the style or content of writing for it to appeal to younger generations.

“So, I eagerly turned the pages (on my kindle) and started to read.

“Alaka is keen to use her poetry to reach out to teenagers dealing with one or more societal pressures. From the word go, she addresses that very quickly. As a female poet, I expected to be able to feel her gender in her writing, but happily, it is not there. What is there is a clear voice, a voice that tells a story and delves into labels, actions, childhood, and pressures of life.

“The book’s namesake poem is one that can be read and interpreted individually, depending on your own experiences prior in your own life, on what you have taught yourself and what you change to make something happen. I read it three times, and each time applied it in a different way.

“The Self-Declaration poem should be taught by every parent – strong words and affirmations that the author encourages you to read out loud. Actually, it should be a recital that all women use to remind themselves of daily of self-worth at any age. Simply beautiful.

“There is then a series of poetry all worth spending time with and rereading for the depth of meaning time after time. I came across There’s Nothing. And it stopped me in my tracks – with recent news articles reporting on the death of a young boy at the hands of a parent and step-parent, it resonated deeply. We have such a responsibility as parents, and this, from the child’s perspective, shows the hurt our words can cause. It touched me to my heart.

“Gathering myself together, I picked up pace again and continued to read creative, emotive, beautiful stanzas that are modern poetry personified. Enjoying all the content on the journey of this book, I came across another page that is worth an individual mention – The Next Time You Get Lost, Find Yourself. This may not be a poem, but is poetic in its message. It is clearly about drugs, but the end message can be applied to any challenge that a young person faces where there is peer pressure. Powerful!

“To conclude, The Things Father Did Not Teach Us is a beautiful, roller coaster of a read that plays on emotions right to the last motivating and affirming pages that remind us as individuals we all have our worth and need to not give up, but to rejoice in that.

“Well done to Alaka. I am not young, but I took away the key messages and your work had an impact on me too. A book well worth investing in to add to anyone’s collection, especially those with teenagers in tow.”

Available on Amazon as a kindle download or paperback.