By Tunde Oso
In Everybody Don Kolomental, author, Tolu Akinyemi states that everyone deals with mental health struggles and could be “a god in a human body”, as he explores themes of spirituality, divinity and the enormous power that we possess while we traverse this earthly passage, in the collection of poems.
Akinyemi weaves his exuberant latest collection of poems around the themes of depression and mental health problems. With candour and verve, he captures the pain of living with mental illness in “Mental,” as he writes: “How do I find healing in tranquillity? Without being judged through a blurry lens.” “Mood Swings” explores the protagonist’s struggle with a maniac and depressive phases that relentlessly wreak havocs in their life.
“Therapy” examines the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health problems. These poems are unforgiving in their portrayal of mental health sufferings (“Checkmate,” “Burning”), envy and bitterness (“Best Friends,” “Bitterness”), and violence (“A Single Story”); yet there is hope and self-awareness, a wish to get out of depression and do better, even if it feels like the odds are stacked against you (“No Pity,” Self-Doubt,” “My Girls,” and “Don’t Snap It yet”).
In “People of the World,” the protagonist contemplates the futility of passing friendships and fleeting attachments. “Gone with the Wind” exudes melancholy as the protagonist remembers a long-dead friend. Crafted on similar lines, “Conversation with the Dead” is replete with longing. “Therapist in Need of Therapy” studies mental health professionals’ struggles with mental illnesses.
The book’s title poem, “Everyday Don Kolomental” conveys resolve while maintaining a sort of crude optimism. The final poem, “The Tenth Chapter” is a congratulatory nod to self. Most poems suggest despair, sadness, and loneliness, that accompany depression, but moments of hope permeate others, making sure the overall mood never stays dark for long. This is an impressive addition to Akinyemi’s compelling body of work.
Tolu’ A. Akinyemi (also known as Tolutoludo & Lion of Newcastle) is an award-winning Nigerian author in the genre of poetry, short story, and essays, which include: Dead Lions Don’t Roar (Poetry, 2017), Unravel Your Hidden Gems (Essays, 2018), Dead Dogs Don’t Bark (Poetry, 2018), Dead Cats Don’t Meow (Poetry, 2019), Never Play Games With The Devil (Poetry, 2019), Inferno of Silence (Short Stories, 2020), A Booktiful Love (Poetry, 2020), Black ≠ Inferior (Poetry, 2021), Never Marry a Writer (poetry, 2021), Everybody Don Kolomental (Poetry, 2021) and a god in a human body (Forthcoming – Poetry, January 2022).
Tolu’ has been endorsed by the Arts Council England as a writer with “exceptional talent”.
A former headline act at Great Northern Slam, Crossing The Tyne Festival, Feltonbury Arts and Music Festival. He also inspires large audiences through spoken word performances, he has appeared as a keynote speaker in major forums and events and facilitates creative writing masterclasses to many audiences.
His poems have appeared in the 57th issue (Volume 15, no 1) of the Wilderness House Literary Review, The Writers Cafe Magazine- Issue 18, GN Books, Lion and Lilac and elsewhere.
His books are based on a deep reality and often reflect relationships, life and feature people he has met in his journey as a writer. His books have instilled many people to improve their performance and/or their circumstances. Tolu’ has taken his poetry to the stage, performing his written word at many events. Through his writing and these performances, he supports business leaders, other aspiring authors and people of all ages interested in reading and writing. Sales of the books have allowed Tolu’ donate to charity, allowing him to make a difference where he feels important, showing that he lives by the words he puts to the page.
He is co-founder of Lion and Lilac, a UK-based arts organisation and sits on the board of many organisations.
On his personae, Tolu Akinyemi said, “As a writer, my goal remains unchanged, to inspire as many people as possible through my writings to always strive for the best. I infused my poetry collections with humour, wit and doses of inspiration to a great extent in the collection of poetic wisdom for the Discerning series, which includes Dead Lions Don’t Roar, Dead Dogs Don’t Bark and Dead Cats Don’t Meow.
As a poet and creative, my works thrive on originality and its ability to wake up the lethargic in spirit. In Unravel your Hidden Gems, I provided practical steps to help people fast-track their growth in all areas of life and in my poetry collection ‘Never Play Games with the Devil’ I address societal ills without fear and varied themes on love and Personal Growth makes the collection a classic.
Proud of his roots, Akinyemi explained: “My works find their roots in Nigerian culture and heritage. I view writing as therapeutic and the only way I can escape from the chaos that clouds my sanity.”