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Book review: Why this brigadier general writes uncoventional poems

Book review: Why this brigadier general writes uncoventional poems
January 11
07:49 2021

BY SEUN AKIOYE

In his second collection of poems, Dele Arogundade, a poet and Brigadier General in the Nigeria Army reaches outside himself to find the hidden meanings in Something About Everything.

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Nothing is more complex than interrogating the complexities of life and its long and winding mysteries, using the instrumentality of the written words in poems. For Poets strive to bring out the hidden nature of the world around us and the people and the vagaries of life, but for many masters, they end up shrouding in mysteries, the very facts they wished to expose to the light.

Dele Arogundade, a poet, soldier, and engineer seemed to have found the way out of this. In his second poetic offering titled Something About Everything published by Aqua Publishers, Arogundade has finally made a statement: He would not merely follow in the footsteps of the masters, but will carve his own discoveries, open his own path and become a master therein.

Though a lot has changed in three years since his first collection of poems “Perceptions Unabridged”, he has become a more mature poet, and “Dele has grown”. However, he did not attain this new height without the masters’ help.

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“I can say a lot has changed since my first book, Perceptions Unabridged,” Arogundade said. A peruse through his new work reveals a deeper and bigger collection of works, a testimony to his growth.

“Just like a child, I can say confidently that Dele has grown. I’m not there yet, still a work in progress but I’ve learnt a lot in the last three years through reading other people’s works, attending workshops and mentorship,” he revealed.

Arogundade chose to begin his discussion about everything by interrogating the “Cloudy Matters”. Though the title gave this away as a poem of the discourse of celestial bodies and times and season, the poet’s very first poem would prove a contradiction.

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“Dark clouds, announcing imminent downpour,” he writes. Then kicks in the metaphor “All things speak, everything has ears, if you listen hard, you will hear, the heartbeats of ants.” The poet went on to revere and eulogize the seasons, rainfall and droughts, planting and harvest in different ways using simple, yet slightly disguised words.
In conveying the raindrops, he said: “Masquerade trees, swaying romantically to divine blues. As celestial drumsticks, strike terrestrial surfaces.” However, the majority of Arogundade’s verses are easy and simple to comprehend, it also is worth noting that he had a unique gift of turning everything, no matter how simple, either into a eulogy or an object of great curiosity.

This style he said has been his own essence and he had no apologies for it. “ I think I do more of free verse. I’m a contemporary poet and I feel comfortable in my skin. My poems come straight from the heart and I think that is why a lot of people connect to my works.”

He is also an artist who feels comfortable in his own method of passing his message: “ I feel comfortable in my skin, my works and I are in love,” he said with a smile, the sort that conveys satisfaction. “ If you read my works, it’s like reading Dele’s biography. They are expressions and my views about life and they are largely my experiences. I don’t write like a conventional poet who studied and want all the rhymes and meters to be in place. I try to adhere to poetry rules but I don’t want to force the lines to conform.”

So what is the message of Something About Everything? “The message I plan to pass across in this work is for my readers to find their uniqueness in life and be happy to be themselves. They can learn from others but they should be free to carve a niche for themselves as an individual that was created different from all other creatures,” he said.

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The Army General though fulfilling the offices of a poet never shied from his background of guns and wars as he finds every means to return, in whatever way to his roots in eulogies for fallen soldiers like Adanu Gabriel Ochai, an Air Commodore who “lived and died with his wings” or the robust and unassuming General Ibrahim Labbo.

Others are to the unknown soldier, who “clad in his camouflage, his uniform of power” but “incapable of moving a finger to pull the trigger.” He was a soldier who “came in search of peace, but had to rest in peace.”

In Signatures of Emotions, if one listens hard, you will find the poet tearing up his emotions while his child is born, about women, his wife whom he dubbed as the “Co-Dreamer”.

In Random Vibes and Motivation, Arogundade interrogated the essence of man and encourages his readers to see the better of themselves thereby achieving more and reaching for the peak. “You have the choice to see yourself as an ant, or as a giant; to do right, or to do wrong,” he said.

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Arogundade has enjoyed tremendous support from the military as well, proof that the leadership appreciates talents and encourages its personnel to be their best. “The leadership of the military has been very supportive of my work. The present chief of army staff in 2017, approved the publication and public presentation of my first book.
“He went ahead to approve my exclusive interviews with media houses.

He didn’t stop there, he purchased some of my books and distributed them to command secondary schools. Additionally, he gave me a letter of commendation to appreciate the good work I’m doing in the literary field despite the fact that I’m a trained engineer with no formal training in the literary arts.”

Arogundade said he still has many more grounds to conquer, not just in the theater of war but also in the arena of literature. And he has found the secrets to this victory in life: “The core of my message is related to destiny fulfillment. That is why some people refer to me as a destiny enabler. I see a strong link amongst these tripod – potential, passion, and purpose. Anyone who is able to align these three Ps in his/her life is destined to be a success story,” he said.

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