We are excited to present to you, YOU by Keem Tunde and see what you do with it. YOU is Keem Tunde’s debut collection of poetry with a foreword by Funso Oris and cover design by Busari Omotola A. (Tolagrafik). Find below, the foreword and download the chapbook!
Writers have a mission: to tell a story to serve a purpose. The medium often matters as prose narrates details while poetry unveils the hidden nuances in the mind of the writer. But when the writer is a fine blend of prose and poetry, the product is often a profound treatise of the human condition. It becomes more existential when the writer is exploring a plethora of experiences that are not just typical to many, but they form the very bedrock of our humanity, and collective social construct.
Keem Tunde provides the platform for the reader to explore something human. His approach to begin his collection by touching on the theme of death and comprehension thereof is symbolic. What is life and living? How does one really fathom and explain existence? This real life narrative forms the framework with which the author wants to communicate with his audience. Tunde deliberately avoids making artistic assumption by telling the story of his pain and loss as real life as is. Of death. A central theme in this collection.
But does death begin and end with the loss of another individual? Does death not begin with forgetting, as “we become bodies compressed into memories”? Do we not forget our humanity and breed wars and darkness, by building walls against our collective existence? Do we not forget our humanity when some peddle rhetoric of disintegration and deliberate rewrite of history, a history that is a figment of antiquated memory, a centric memorialization of past events, reinvented for a particular conceit? Do we not die when we willingly allow others to define us, delineate our relevance and constantly determine if we are mere codification of gender, shape, size and object meant to satiate the lustful crave of the mob? Tunde masterfully weaves his conceit and shows us the many ways we die; many ways we allow our humanity to disintegrate into the pit of nothingness.
As it is the prerogative of poets to conscientize and sensate their society, this poet’s mission is beyond an artistic cataloguing of societal ills, he has a lofty but unassuming ambition – that of making each man and woman see himself or herself as desired. YOU gives the reader the opportunity to find his/her fate and faith and face in the phases of life. In the “Fat Girl”, the poet demonstrates how others’ perception should not define our personal perception of beauty. He beatifies self by choosing a presumably societal nadir of moralism in “I am”, by deconstructing how a society which dehumanizes an “olosho” also creates the avenue for finding meaning through her art and act. The theme of self-beatification remarkably contrasts with the themes of death, darkness, and depression.
The beauty of this collection lies in the author’s ability to utilize simple expression to create a masterpiece with such class, grace and mastery. The poems interact with the reader so aptly that one can readily feel their import, impact and importance. The absence of overburdened metaphor, the presentation of issues in a way that the reader comprehends and appreciates art stand the poet out and presents him as a distinct voice of the emerging art.
This collection of poems is about you – the reader. It is the poet’s way of inviting you to share in our common humanity. But more importantly, for each reader to find his/her voice. To un-forget what makes us die and find beauty in ourselves. To understand that, as we celebrate individual uniqueness, to make the world a better place, we look at “Genesis” to be reminded “that all men are kinsmen – indifferent / parts of a greater whole.” YOU is a mirror of the individual who desires to be relevant in a world which celebrates blind collectivity and jaundiced acceptance.
Poet, Anthologist, and Co-Author of State of the State: Sordid Beatification, Chicago, USA.
Don’t forget to DOWNLOAD the Chapbook!