Friday, August 3, 2018 5:14 pm
… a collection of queer poems written by Nigerian LGBT persons
By Kehinde Okanlawon
Mounting the Moon contains a diverse collection of poems which captures several themes about the experiences, aspirations, triumphs, faith, struggles, thoughts and tenacity of queer Nigerians. The poems have diverse themes such as resilience, strength, forgiveness, hope, reconciliation, happiness, courage, resistance of anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) oppression, sense of belonging, agency, queer love, perseverance, emotions, intimacy, relationship, sexual pleasure, healing, solidarity, self-acceptance and victory. This collection of poems was edited by two queer Nigerians, Unoma Azuah and Michelle Omas. The primary Editor, Unoma Azuah is a strong voice for the Nigerian LGBT community who has published widely on LGBT issues in Nigeria. She edited a book about the experiences of Nigerian LGBT persons two years ago titled “Blessed Body”.
Queer Nigerians would find the poems in this anthology of LGBT-themed poetry useful in different ways. Some of the poems are entertaining and can put smiles on the faces of the readers. Nigerian LGBT persons can benefit from internalizing and self-reflecting some of the poems. Additionally, many of the poems are insightful, compelling and are a delight to read. The poems humanize queer persons and shows commonalities human beings experience such as emotions, love, desire, which unites everyone. Some of the poems deal with themes that are so frequently swept under the carpet in Nigeria such as sexual pleasure and eroticism of queer people which I find commendable due to the bravery and innovation of the authors in breaking the silence about these themes through poems. Some of the authors deserve to be commended for increasing the awareness of readers about the struggles of LGBT persons in Nigeria through their poems.
There was depth to many of the poems in the collection. Some of the poems were very moving. Some of the poets use language in different ways which is fascinating. Furthermore, it would be easy for many Nigerian LGBT and heterosexual persons to connect with the themes in the different poems in this book because many of the poems are relevant to the everyday experiences of many Nigerians. Besides, the poems are thought provoking. Some of the poems reveal the need for tolerance, love and compassion for queer Nigerians who are fighting for their rights to live, love and be themselves.
The ability of the authors to deliver the diverse thoughtful emotions in their poems is impressive. Nigerian queer persons can therefore draw strength, happiness and joy from reading these poems. Many of the poems have interesting narratives and are straightforward. Some of the poems reveal the importance of love, intimacy, pleasure, emotion and relationship in the lives of queer people. These poems reveal how some queer people have strong emotional bonds for people they love, which is similar to heterosexuals. The way some of the poets write about their challenges, vulnerabilities, perseverance and hope evoke emotions and provide insights
into their lives, wishes and dreams.
In general, I was excited to read this insightful collection of poems. I read many of the poems over and over again. I would specially commend the poets and the editors for adding to the LGBT discourse in Nigeria through these several poems. I was captivated by most of the poems and I would recommend this book to queer Nigerians, heterosexual Nigerians, allies of queer people, poets and literary scholars. Some of the poems have brave revelations and some are very romantic. This book is thus worth reading. These poems reveal the humanity of queer Nigerians and can contribute to correcting the negative impressions about queer Nigerians. Some of the poems undoubtedly capture significant nuances and visualises interesting details which makes it a great collection of poems. The book can be found on this link below:
• Okanlawon, MA, MPH is a Nigerian sexual health and rights educator, advocate and researcher.