Poems covering love, life, heart and home.
Aidoo’s new multigenre collection of verse and images provides no introduction, instead dropping readers into the deep end of his fluid poetry. Readers don’t know what’s going to happen next, but that’s part of the fun in this lively, bursting compendium. Most of the book consists of poetry, a musical free verse that’s even better spoken aloud. The rest is respectable paintings from a variety of artists, including competent oil paintings, some of which depict scenes from Chicago. But the real draw is Aidoo’s poetry. The author has many talents, most impressive of which is his remarkable versatility. In the hands of a lesser poet, the range of topics—the joys of loving a large woman, the anticipation of waiting for a new video game, the beauty of the pop star Shakira—would feel forced or even absurd. But Aidoo seamlessly weaves these and more together in a gorgeous, unexpected tapestry. His ability to integrate pop-culture references into serious verse without seeming flip or too clever is truly impressive, calling to mind Michael Robbins’ work in Alien Vs. Predator (2004). Aidoo’s style is equally strong: Diction is conversational without being casual, easy without seeming lazy. He catches the rhythms of speech—no small feat. One of his best moments arrives in a late poem called “The Grievance”—“So the deceased can rejoice that they are forgotten for hours, days, or even weeks at a time. They’d want the flower-givers to keep on walking…and begin that work on their own headstones.”—in which he subtly evokes our odd ambivalence about death and dying, all in approachable, unpretentious language. This book is the last of a trilogy, but let’s hope Aidoo isn’t done yet.
Raw, affecting lyric from an assured poet.