Even Silence is a Voice: A Review of Unashamed by Bisola Bada

Book Title: Unashamed

Author’s Name: Bisola Bada

Publisher: ACEworld Publishers

Year of Publication: 2022

Like the Holy Bible, this collection of poems begins with genesis. On seeing the first poem’s title, a curious mind may wonder if this book would follow a similar title-naming pattern, like the Bible. However, that’s not the case here. Bisola unashamedly invites the reader to feast on her debut, Unashamed. As the title suggests, the reader should expect to plunge into 29 seas of shameless poems. There’s a popular slang on the internet that says, “you can’t shame the shameless.” I think it’s safe to say that the author, Bisola Bada, prettily wears that crown in this book. Do you think otherwise? Reading through this review until the end may make you change your mind.

In genesis, Bisola clarifies that, like every being, she’s not without origin. She traces her descent to an ancestry of women bold enough to carry tomorrow in their wombs, even in the face of adversity and abuse. 

Bisola writes with simple and daring language. If the world hears her voice through being shameless with words, she doesn’t mind plying that route. This is evident in the poem titled bold.

these lines on my thighs

stretch themselves

in the language of water


the river is without shame

Bisola’s audacious language is further revealed in the poem titled her royal majesty.

this kind of poem

will not kneel

to the ego of a man

like this poem itself

the girl in this poem

does not take orders

Unsheathing inference from Bisola’s scabbard of words, one could draw up a list of questions. Is the persona a feminist? Is the author seeking a sort of equality for men and women? What did men do to the persona to instigate her being unapologetic?

A further read sheds light on the conundrum of questions rushing through one’s mind. In the poems, girl as you grow, and but, we can see the persona admonishing girls growing into womanhood to only seek validation from themselves and not fall for the flattery of men. This could be to save them from the trauma of heartbreaks and abuse. The author’s compelling words could also be from a place of experience. This could be seen in the poem titled endangered.

but how do I

write this on paper

when this poet

& her gender are

endangered species in

the fist of patriarchs

& misogynists

The themes of abuse and rape can be seen in some poems. In the first man to love me, the persona says she’s the messenger of the gospel of her stepdad. Reading through the poem, one could deduce that the persona’s stepdad sexually abused her. What a crazy world we live in! This poem nearly brought tears to my eyes because someone dear to me was also molested by her stepdad as a teenager, and nothing happened. This poem is one of the reasons the author lends her silence a voice and that of many abused and silenced women out there. In bad sms to a rapist, the persona expresses her grievances towards rapists. In her words, ‘the hoe seeks permission from earth before it unearths’. In other words, men should seek consent before making any sexual attempt and NEVER make sexual advances to minors as they are young and don’t understand the language of consent.  

In humanity, and I want a world where…, Bisola knifes the egos of patriarchy and matriarchy. She craves a world where everyone can be themselves without fearing being eaten raw. The humanity poem brings to mind Dike Chukwumerije’s line in his spoken words poem titled “The Wall and The Bridge.” The line says, “no culture is older than being human”. Bisola’s poem is a clarion call to everyone; that people should strive to become better humans, as a world of patriarchy, matriarchy, misogyny, and misandry only causes division and inequality. 

In this collection, Bisola skillfully hands over the baton of self-love and pride to women. That they should run from men who treat them like elements of silence and love themselves genuinely and unashamedly. Bisola reveals this in the poem, not a doll.

you said i was wrong

to ask questions

because to submit means

to speak only in silence—

the dialect of acceptance

I admire Bisola’s assertiveness in this poem, not a doll. Especially the line a god needs no consent to walk through earth. As a Nigerian, I can relate. Society has silenced many women under the guise of submission. The concept of the biblical stance on submission has been bastardized in today’s world. Today, submission equals silence. And the more these women are silenced, the more they draw nearer to their graves. Silence kills! And that is an underlying essence of this collection–for women to know they aren’t alone and to lend a voice to their silence.

Bisola speaks with self-assurance and rigor. She directs her pen toward men who think a woman’s body is to satisfy their cravings. In the poem to a man, she voices her silence.

even silence 

is a voice &

i am not ashamed

to speak it 

In the poem, clouds, Bisola sees poetry as an escape, as an opening to release her exhaust of silence. She shows that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to let out the pain. What’s not okay is to remain silent.

as usual, i am

finding escape

from my pains

in poetry 

this time, 

unlike other times,

it is a search of 

teardrops in a sea

In a word, Bisola’s debut, Unashamed, is daring! She skillfully addresses the themes of womanhood, abuse/rape, humanity, patriarchy, and matriarchy. To Bisola, even silence is a voice, and she’s not ashamed to speak it. I look forward to reading more of Bisola’s work in the future! 

Brief Biography about the reviewer:

Funminiyi Akinrinade, fondly called Esv_Keks, is a Nigerian realtor and writer with works appearing in Olney Magazine, The Global Youth Review, Writers Space Africa Magazine, Mag 20/20, Praxis Magazine, Word Rhymes and Rhythm (WRR) Anthology, and elsewhere.


  1. We live in a world where men believe they can do whatever without consequences. We need more writers like this who can stand out and take a stand.
    Unashamed is one of the most interesting collection of poem I’ve read.

  2. Haven’t read the book yet, and this review make me want to grab a copy and read for myself. These poems will resonate with a lot of girls and women. These are real issues affecting the girl child in our world. Just yesterday I was watching a Judge Judy episode about a man who has seven wives, with most of them married when they were minors. Surely society can not continue to be silent. Women can not continue to be silent. And the victims definitely need to speak up. Science has a voice!

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