Book Review: A Constellation of Cravings – A Stellar Debut

An Economic Scholar from the University of East London, Oluwaseun Alele’s debut poetry collection ‘A Constellation of Cravings’ was written with a motive to be a catalyst to propagate many issues the world faces today.

To begin, what draws the readers of this poetry collection in is the linguistic prowess exhibited by the author. The language is lucid, crisp and would appeal to both poetry lovers and those who do not normally read poetry. The metaphors and imagery evoked in this collection will keep the readers engaged until the last page. On this note, the author has scored a major win.

The collection begins with the poem ‘The Things I want to do with You’ and the poem oozes the beauty of true love. The alliance between poets and love poetry does not seem to wane and some lines effuse the beauty of perfect love:

I want to get drunk with you, High Spirit.

 When we are together,

  I want the light to stay on;

 to see the stars in your eyes,

touring your body

The arrangement of the opening poem on the page differs from the usual, and the love depicted on this page is a different type of love. The next poem is titled “Unbodied Space,” In the unbodied space, two hearts collide. /On Earth, they call it love. / And this is our undoing–

And the poem finishes with powerful lines about love:

forgetting that love is a wonder that shouldn’t

be caged.

Many times, humans tend to espouse what true love should and shouldn’t be, but a poet’s accounts, reminds us of the wonder of love. How love should be allowed to blossom, how true love should not be caged in prisons of fears. Could caging love truly be our undoing? Should love be allowed to bloom unfettered without the many definitions that seek to constrict what love is?

Reviewing the next poem “Writing to Sadness,” the persona starts with memory, haunting memories:

I used to have a happy song ready on my tongue.

The opening line would stoke familiar feelings in many. How we had happy songs ready on our tongues before life happened and the cloud of misery extinguished our burning light. For some, the twist and turns in their life would make for a sombre read as these stories brood familiarity.

Aren’t tales of woes only a sweet experience when the sadness isn’t ours?

The next lines leave a melancholic feeling on how cheerful stories can suddenly turn grim and nightmarish:

Where do they all go to–these melodies that fill my throat;

these glitters that once made my eyes a home?

Maybe that’s the crux of life, a sad story here and there. Fading glitters and memories that leaves us bitter.

The final stanzas in this poem could be what we all need to do, write to sadness, to our pain and the cruelty that life can sometimes throw our way.

I need to write a letter to sadness—

blame it for all the friends that left me;

for all the scars left by the girls who ran.

I will tell it: Look, sadness:

look what you’ve done.

I’m here alone with these empty cans of beer because of you.

Don’t we always have someone or something to blame for our life’s fail, anyway? An Uncle who did not help us or a friend who was not there for us when we needed the much-needed help. To many who can no longer see the glitters that made their eyes home and the happy memories that once filled their throat.

Maybe ‘writing to your sadness’ can wipe out the aches and haunting memories that have made you a shadow of your once bubbling self.

Oluwaseun Alele’s collection of poems is a stellar debut from a writer whose voice is much needed at this time.

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