Born in Lockdown


Release Date: 08 September 2021

Poets have always had the capability to travel inward – to create something out of the chaos of their inner world.

It is why poetry is said to be cathartic, for through it, the poet eases himself of his burdens.


But beyond that, poetry is also a tool for reflection. Oh, poetry cannot be stuffed into a single purpose for it is the expression of human emotions in line and verse, in styles and forms, rhymes and metres. And so, it acts has a way for the poet to transmit what he sees, thinks and feels in his inner world, those abstractions, into something tangible.


Stuck at home in the loud silence inflicted by a lockdown, where does the poet turn to? What does he turn to? His inner world?


Tolu’ Akinyemi’s Born in Lockdown is a collection of poetry birthed in such a traverse. The poems explore the pandemic and lockdown, and the myriad feelings, effects and reactions it birthed.


The collection begins with a declaration of the poet’s utter despair:


There is a pandemic in my head,

raging like boiling water.

There is a war in my mind,

tugging at the deepest part of my soul.

There is a thunderstorm in my heart,

wreaking havoc like it is doomsday.


At each flip of the page, you come across poems that are either personal or reflective, or poems that are querying in tone. On how the pandemic disrupts intimacy, Tolu’ wrote:


Your love in my heart was innocent

and untainted

until COVID crept in 

and the veil of deceit was lifted.


What’s appealing about this collection is the simplicity of Tolu’s style and the softness of his metaphors. His similes and imagery are like the vivid strokes of an artist on canvas; they’re not ambiguous. You read lines like:


The silence in this house is eating me up like termites ravaging wood.


This is poetry – minimalist, yet pronounced in what the poet was able to use simple words to achieve.


In this collection, Tolu’ has proven himself a master of language, using words to weave moods and emotions. You oscillate between the heaviness of loneliness to the grief of a wrecked relationship to the hope of vaccines that will save the world. This collection promises you a titillating experience.