Reviewer: Nosakhare Collins
Title: There is a Lunatic In Every Town
Author: Bash Sunday Amuneni
Publisher: Sevhage Publishers
Year of publication: 2016
Reviewer: Nosakhare Collins
We cannot remove the professional love of poetry from a poet. Every piece of work should be defined in art and poetry within the conditions of reality. It is only pertinent that poetry should, therefore, speak loud in congregation and communicate to the readers individually. It should be defined and presentable in its quest to communicate to the reader’s soul. Being something of great beauty that brings not only peace but, also, ecstasy, it should be able to speak to the reader and the outside world with authority. This is the pleasure one discovers, in all its full quality, in Bash S. Amuneni’s debut collection of poems, ‘There is a Lunatic in Every Town‘.
Bash S. Amuneni brings in value and purpose to elevate the poems in his collection with the required emotions and openness. His is a confirmation that poetry can be used to address emotion and openness, and bring light to shine on those who encounter it. It is also a confirmation of the truth that poetry, in itself, is not complete when there is no intimacy running the cycle of consciousness of needs and wants.
Billy Collins said in a TED Talk when he introduced his poems to the audience, ‘It’s a good thing to get poetry off the shelves and more public life.’ What brings to poetry ecstasies is that poems should be given out to public places, to see if the readers who see things in beautiful ways will accept and appreciate them passionately.
In “We Would Continue the Conversation,” the first poem that opens the collection, the poet speaks of nature and human interactions. Nevertheless, he has found discomfort in realizing the human effort in actualizing a goal. He speaks of chance and time spent on continuations of human conversations. He speaks of doubts and hurts that can be traced to broken tales and distress:
When the sun settles
behind the hill of doubts
and hurt can be traced
in honest batting of eyelids
carving a broken trail of tears
down your cheeks
that carry with them
a cold clog of an unsettling truce
and we try to beat ourselves
to stalemate, each time
The poet speaks of hurt, prolonged into bewilderment that needs to be prevailed by humanity. His discombobulation overwhelms the spirit, forcing him to cry out, but with hope:
when we attempt
to erase these scars with honey sweet caresses
within few seconds of good emotions
and urges running through our skin
from the nape
as we explode
only to return to earth again
we would continue the conversation.
Bash S. Amuneni’s poems are structured in monologue and are given to his audience who see, in each line, a resonant grandeur. His poems, coming in from varying dimensions, influence the spirit to dwell in the thoughts of them being performed. As a body of art, they come to life. They pore a philosophical and rhythmic flow, meaning and a certain collaboration of virtue. They call for solace and the need to drown out social malaise, thereby embracing felicity. The poems, without also failing to draw forth attention to the collection as a whole, allowing the audience to discover for themselves the excellence and appeal of their themes.
In such poems as “Yesterday in Aba,” “Ghali,” “Ileyi’s,” and “The Man Who Never Died” the persona expresses his sadness over the place of man in life, his conditions and the transitory nature of his existence.
But within the ambiance of this sadness, Amuneni’s poems take on a whole new celebratory look- of love, of the emotional joys of living. And it is more clearer in this section of the collection titled INTIMACY. This is where the voice of the poet grows wider and milder. This is where the poem ‘First Kiss’ narrates the quickness to taste sweetness and intimacy. Hear him as he narrates of how
The first kiss
so supple deep
raped my innocence
captures him with such intensity that bewilders the consciousness
In this poem, the persona is in need of something he has never felt or cherished before. The body language speaks of solace and intimacy, a satisfactory derivative of a quick pleasure given in the most sensitive of ways. The poem reflects the motion and capability to love.
Amuneni’s poems arrive with aesthetic concern. They are here to overwhelm the spirit, breaking it into places of thoughts and meanings, places where ecstasy plays a deep role.
In the poem ‘Mirror,‘ where he says,
Paint me in contrasting shades
nifty and clear
pluck at the underside of conscience
and loop the world to heed
the chilling chatter
beyond this cracked wall
In a long, gleeful way, the persona pushes our consciousness towards an endless chain of thoughts. He derides our psyche, weighted with contradictory — ‘paint me in contrasting shades nifty and clear’ and then asks us, urges us, to go deep and understand it.
Perhaps this collection has overwhelmed the consciousness of many. Amuneni speaks, directly, to the nation already drenched in insanity. He digs into nearly every vista he could to speak about the state of the nation and of individuals. He writes from the heart, from reference and with things seen and unseen, heard and unheard, things around him many would have perceived as common.
In conclusion, Bash S. Amuneni’s debut collection is a measure of his voice, what he sees and feels and his uniqueness towards the thematic effort and style of his writing. Meanwhile, his diction is overwhelmingly easy as he makes words reader friendly. Yet, despite this, this is a collection worthy of its stand in any award. It is a collection that has the language of beauty, aesthetics, and a thematic drift that paints words and insight.