Manorism by Yomi Ṣode

Yup, poetry …

I don’t read a lot of it, and the little I do read, I understand about thirty per cent of it.

So, I opened an early Christmas present, discarded the note that said, “Yeah, I know, poetry. Just bloody read it, will you?”

And I read it …

And thought, Ah, okay … poetry.

I think calling it a collection of poems is probably over-simplifying things a bit. Poetry and short essays then, centred around the Black-British male experience of family and justice.

The pieces are varied, connected, definitely thought-provoking and instantly relatable. The poetry struck me as pretty free form (but what do I know) with a sharp flow that doesn’t sacrifice the message for art.

Some of the pieces are uncompromising, talking about the killing of Damilola Taylor from a rather unique perspective. Others are strange, but weirdly deep. There’s one poem that, on first blush, seems to be about a coat left on the floor in an office. But as you read about the people tripping over it, walking around it, ignoring it instead of just picking it up – you realise that you’re reading about a wider social theme: the idea of walking by, not getting involved, not helping out. I liked it – even if it didn’t rhyme.

Manorism is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a long history in poetry. There is a story here, told in snapshots.

Well worth reading, even if you think you’re not a poetry fan.

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