In fifteen poems that nestle in-between the experimental and the lyrical, and which are, at the same time, radiant with literary grace, the poet draws portrait after portrait of horrifying human tragedies in a world of growing displacement, wars, injustice and death. As one starts to journey into these works, they’re, at once, mercilessly plunged into days whose faces are incognito pages, almost without prior notice. At one point, the poems are riddled with songs of bullets accompanied with prayers of the wretched, at another point, an interviewer, ever inquisitive, asks: What does escape taste like? But there is no escape from the orgasm of smoke for us and for the boy in his poems, in whose voice we hear echoes of our own voices; this boy in Buni-Yadi, searching for his soul in the body of wind sprayed with bullets. Here, death hangs in the air; a putrid letter is drawn out of a pool of blood. Elsewhere, the Nigerian Leah Sharibu is remembered from a church whose throat is the Armageddon of Christ, escapees from the troubled Nigerian town of Bagga as bloodstains and poor children robbed off their mother’s breasts, a girl’s vulva has now grown hands, and here is this dutiful poet, with great resourcefulness, collecting these memories into an anthology binded with the lost Essence of God, and reminding us too, that pain is a genderless whore.
The poems in this collection give dignity to the human experience, and even, as we journey along these dark lines, point us to the direction of hope, of transformation and eventual rejuvenation, for even though tongues of walls are not too heavy to memorize the dialect of fear, there is, hidden somewhere in the background, a little dirge of hope.
And so, it is refreshingly exciting to see a skilled poet, weaving their way into language (as a force field of the heart) and memories, dark and gruesome, as this poet has done, for ‘even in the dark times,’ wrote Bertolt Brecht, ‘there will also be singing about the dark times.’
– Chisom Okafor, poet and editor
good poetry, political meanings, social relevance.
– Francis Annagu, author, Our Land in the Beak of Vultures.
Reading these poems is tormentingly gratifying, it is equivalent to falling in love then setting the lovestruck soul ablaze. Abdulbaki is bold and brazen. Like Adonis and Almutannabi he is taking the path less taken: to magnify and investigate the metaphysical necessities of being. This poet came fully made.
–Umar Abubakar Sidi, author, The Poet of Dust.
In this daring chapbook, Abdulbaki offers a haunting history of ruined places. His profound use of language attests to the power of being a passionate poet, of being a keen observer of happenings in our society, and of the love for the preservation of stories and events concerning humanity. The poet exhumes and narrates untold stories of war and its traumatic consequences. He paints the portraits of people whose lives are haunted, displaced, and lost to explosions. Indeed, Abdulbaki has come to stay.
–Rasaq Malik, author, No Home in this Land.
Here’s a collection that gives us a tour through the remnants of war, in a rich, metaphorical and imagery- laden marriage of poetry and prose. In it are poems that bring to our consciousness the gruesome reality of victims of terrorism, in a mixture of the divine, the mystical and the physical.
–Naseeba Babale, columnist, Konya Shamsrumi.
Silence is the Beginning of Hell without a doubt showcases the author’s creativity and his ability to transform contemporary issues into carefully molded poems in an empathic and sympathetic-cum-remorseful manner. He brings sophistication and a sharpness of perception to his work which beautifully and eloquently demonstrates his mastery of the art.
–Adamu Usman Garko, author, When Day Breaks.