Everybody Don Kolomental
by Tolu’ A. Akinyemi
The Roaring Lion Newcastle

"Are waiting to chew on your grief like hungry lions and spit
out the carcass when the stomach no longer rumbles."

Rarely has a poetry compilation brought emotions to life with such ferocity and candor, juxtaposing despair and hope by seemingly deploying every figurative device with seamless precision. Recognized for his poetry compilation, Dead Lions Don't Roar, Akinyemi's ability to advocate for mental health by evoking emotions through potent imagery, metaphors, and stunning similes is unparalleled.

Undoubtedly a philosopher-poet, Akinyemi's wisdom lies in his approach: he doesn't preach, instead opting for readers to achieve their awakening by connecting with various presentations of life circumstances that can erode one's mental health. Whether it is the silence being an earthquake or mood swings being compared to "flickering fluorescent bulbs," the poet has an uncanny knack for painting just the right image to strike a chord with his audience.

Mental health is considered a taboo topic in many cultures, but Akinyemi's poetry impels audiences to ruminate over his words. In "Men Don't Cry," for instance, the speaker juxtaposes a past of holding back tears with crying "a river beneath high walls" to emphatically suggest that men must tear down the tough guy persona and ask for help or risk losing themselves in a deeper void. Though numerous selections dive into the reservoir of despair, the overlying mantra is one of healing and tranquility, an acknowledgment for struggling individuals to keep pushing because "tomorrow is pregnant with hope."

At its core, the work is simply authentic and resonates both for its content and style. Delivering an almost lyrical sensation with the combination of smaller stanzas, the author's poetry references a multitude of life circumstances, including but not limited to middle school, therapy, and bachelorhood. Filled with poems that unveil a new gem of realization upon each subsequent reading, Akinyemi's poetry is a surefire must-read.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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