Title: When Ravens Become Flowers
Author: Nosakhare Collins
ISBN: 978-978-59955-3-4 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-978-60281-1-8 (Hardback)
Format: Paperback & Hardback
Release Date: 07 July, 2023
Publisher: Libretto Publishers
ABOUT THE BOOK
In “When Ravens Become Flowers,” there is a lot of mirth and singing to celebrate the verses. Themes such as despair, trauma, loss, and grief are all present in the collection. The poems in this book demonstrate the fluid spectrum of human emotions, such as uncertainty, which leads to pain and misery, till they become triggers of anxiety. We also see the social effect of bigotry and institutionalized prejudice, which is often designed to silence us.
‘PRAISE FOR “WHEN RAVENS BECOME FLOWERS,”
Nosakhare Collins’ delightful book of poetry, ‘When ravens become flowers evokes images of a transformation of the kindly, gentle, and pleasant sort. Here, a bird whose portrayal in folklore is one of death and destruction takes on the form of one of nature’s objects of beauty – the flower.
Imagery is the core of poetry and there is an abundance of it in this collection. Nosakhare Collins infuses a dose of freshness into this work with his deft handling of poetic imagery. He says in one the early poems: ‘My songs are virgin.’ This line, for me, defines the tone and nature of the poems; as the clever use of novel and exciting word-attributions gives this work its unique appeal.
There are seventy-four poems in the collection, arranged in six sections with such titles as: ‘Incantation’, ‘Tune’, ‘Tear’, ‘Raindrop’, ‘Sweetness’, ‘End’. The poems come with lots of song and dance, and celebration. They also carry a mix of despair, weeping, and scarring. Indeed, the gamut of human emotions is on display here – not leaving out elements of teatime bitterness and senseless xenophobia.
In all, Collins leads us on a journey of hope, through his beautiful poems; whilst engaging us in conversations for new beginnings.
—Bassey Itam Asuquo, Co-founder, Calabar Literary Society (CLS)
“Nosakhare Collins’ poems here pick on social and the spiritual, to address motley themes on gratitude, gratefulness, history and memory, sphere of loss and grief. This voice starting out has some promise.
—Ndubuisi Martins (PhD), Author, Answers through the bramble
Nosakhare’s “When ravens become flowers” is a potent medicine for the mind.
—Ehi’zogie Iyeomoan, Poet, essayist and editor
“When Ravens Become Flowers” is a great collage of emotions that announce its power with the possibilities of language and of the prospects in beauty, tenderness and hope, through prayer like renditions. Collins attempts the “solubility” of songs in times of war and uncertainty through the unification of different perspectives. There are spiritual connotations to the songs that made up the core of the collection, they inquire the body as a space that struggles with loneliness and loss. These poems perfectly uses the prayers and divination to “fondle the memories of survival”. In a melancholic narrative about love, God, and the many spots in between. Collins uses epigraphs to pay homage to the poets before him, the present, and of the memories for which he seeks permission.
—Hussain Ahmed, Award winning poet, and author, “Soliloquy With The Ghosts In Nile”
The voices that populate these poems are crying out, seeking to be heard. In intermittent long, short and precisely written poem after poem, Nosakhare has succeeded in making his readers hear these echoes, drawing great empathy and achieving a remarkable companionship in words. This is such an amazing effort for which he has scored a delicate point.
The poems, largely written in the signature first person, and building on the legacy of the great Kofi Awoonor and other forebears, bear witness to pain and anguish, but also to the agony of redemption, all in the face of the intersections of memory, love (for family and country), loss, the mind and its many micro histories. The people that populate the poems are crying out for salvation, or are witnessing to another kind of singing, like Brecht, in the dark times.
—Chisom Okafor, Poet and editor
Nosakhare gratifies each poem in this collection with every pint of blood in his heart. In clear words, the reader is thrown into a chasm of grief, longing and hope- i feel more of loneliness than the chanted eyes of rapture… & perhaps what it means for the body to heal, to heal is to let the body break open. The persona here has realised that only broken things need healing & he has decided to live above that fear.
—BM Dzukogi, Founder, HCAF
Nosakhare leads readers down dark paths with his lyrical renditions but raises the torch of hope in some parts lest there be some stumbling or fall. The lines are unpretentious and using personal pronouns become an evocation of the author and his community, a communion of sorts broken in the memory of all he is. In many ways, Nosakhare inherits the garb of the social crusader, reminiscent of the values placed on the African writer as a vanguard for change. At the end of this work, there is a prayer that beauty will overcome burdens and become the song of new beginnings.
—S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema, Winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize 2014 and author, Memory and the Call of Waters (Shortlist, NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022)
When Ravens Becomes Flowers is a collection coming at a time and age when contemporary young poets pander so well to how poetry says rather than what it says. It sits fittingly in its place in the growing pantheon of poetry of melody, song, rhythm and sound which navigates every conceivable human universalized emotion and experience. Nosakhare Collins in this collection celebrates minimalism in its poetic fusion of relatable content and fluid form.
—Denja Abdullahi, Poet, playwright , culture administrator & Former President, Association of Nigerian Authors( ANA)
There is a certain rawness, a yearning, that really resonates in each one in this collection.
— Grace Pulliam
Openwork Magazine, USA
“When Ravens become Flowers by Nosakhare Collins plumbs the depths that inform wondrous transformations. With crystalline lines and gently succeeding imagery, the imagination of the poet breaks through unto the reader and effects psychic lift. This is a poet to watch into the future.”
—Tade Ipadeola, , author of The Sahara Testaments
Winner of the 2013 Nigeria Prize for Literature
In When Ravens Become Flowers, Nosakhare Collins uses song as an idiom to reflect on issues that range from the personal to the public with sharp messages wrapped in tender metaphorical lines. Collins’ poetics humanizes us and at the same time bids us to be keen to the critical vagaries of living in a world marked by seen and unseen conflicts. This collection is, indeed, a poet’s visceral response to the poverty of life in contemporary time.
—Prof. E. E. Sule
Writer and professor of African literature and cultural studies
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nosakhare Collins (he/him) is a Nigerian poet, writer, publisher, editor, literary critic, documentary photographer, researcher, and tutor. He is the CEO/Managing Director/Founding Editor of Libretto Publishers Limited, the parent company of Libretto Magazine, a journal of arts, LIBRETTO Publishers, an independent publishing company and Libretto Bookstores, an independent bookstore for booklovers.
He is a fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency. His works have appeared in National and International journals as well as in print journals, newspapers and anthologies such as Salmon Creek Journal, Wingless Dreamer Publisher, Odd Magazine, Journal of erato, Openwork Magazine, Libero America Poetry, Africa vs Latin America Anthology 2020, A Collection of poems; For Ikeogu, For Poetry: Anthology of Poems in Honour of Ikeogu Oke, Songs For The Weaverbird: An Anthology of Writing and Art in Celebration of Christopher Okigbo, 84 Delicious Bottle of Wine for Wole Soyinka Anthology and several others. His works have been translated to French, Italian, Spanish and others.