Book Review

Title:                           WHISPERS OF DAWN, (A Book of Cherita)

Author:                      Celestine Nudanu

Genre:                        Poetry

Publisher:                   Self-Publishing

Pages:                         100

Publication date:       April, 2018

Reviewed by:                        

 

For the past couple of years, micro poetry forms, especially the Japanese short form, haiku have found their way to Ghana from the continents thanks to disciples and devotees like Agyei Adjei Baah, Nana Fredua Agyeman, Kwaku Feni Addo and Celestine Nudanu. Similarly, finding its way to the shores of Africa is another minimalist poetry form, the Cherita (a Malay word for storytelling) created by ai li, an evidential medium in 1997. A Cherita consists of a single stanza of a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse, and then finishing with a three-line verse. Cherita is no idle art form. It is elitist in that it requires the mind of a philosopher, a wanderer, a dreamer, an adventurer, a literary enthusiast, a lover, a realist, an idealist but sadly not the simple-minded. Cherita is miserly with numbers but opulent with meaning.

Becoming Africa’s first committed practitioner of Cherita is Celestine Nudanu whose artistic prowess puts her in an enviable place among the few seasoned poets of this genre. Cherita, a story in just six lines, but a complete story nevertheless, and when Celestine’s muse wanders, readers will be amazed at what she can come up with, strung together and compiled in Whispers of Dawn, (A Book of Cherita).

Whispers of Dawn, Celestine’s second poetry collection is once again, historic. The author’s debut collection of poetry, Haiku Rhapsodies, which won her the coveted Atukwei Okai Award for Best Poetry Book in 2017, under the Ghana Association of Writers’ Literary Awards, distinguished her as a trailblazer among her contemporaries. Most notably Whispers of Dawn is also a first in that particular genre to be ever published in the country.

Whispers of Dawn is a startling collection of unassuming verses that unpretentiously capture the intricacies of this existence called life. Celestine shows her mastery of English Language by weaving a beautiful masterpiece in this collection. One is awed and humbled at the same time as she weaves her story with dexterity from such themes as Whispers to Making Love and ending with a big bang with the Saving Grace and her Random Thoughts. Celestine is unafraid to share her personal truths about love, betrayal, abuse, loss and ultimately of faith in her life. When she writes about love, she transports the reader into a realm where anything is possible, and the sky is the limit when things are going smoothly. The beauty or otherwise of love is poignantly described, through the use of elements of music, colours, the weather and food, catapulting one through various levels of feelings one so easily identifies with, bringing one to tears and fulfilment.

see me

fall to pieces

as you strum

on the breeze

andante

andante

Celestine takes the reader to her dark side where the harsh realities of failed love start to bite, and we are now transported into her intimate world of where there are three people in a relationship, and that number is always a crowd.

in bed with you

I only think

of you and me

so when you reach out

for her

I’m at a loss

 

The subject of death is also adeptly handled, from the sanctity of the last moments to the taking of the last breaths. This is an experience that removes the ‘ominousness’ of death by breaking it into colours, scents, clouds and breaths.

they say

the colour of death

is grey

but in dying

you exhale

only clouds of silver

 

Saving Grace lightens the heavy moods of failed love and death giving readers a peep of God’s love and presence.

stillness of night

rustle of silk, silvery whispers

draw me to the window

I peep

God’s presence

amongst the stars

 

Random Thoughts is all about the muse wandering in far-away places to reveal the mysteries of life:

when all is done

life is a but a mystery

hazy

and yet the ink

writing our stories drip

drip and drip…

 

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts is also about the beauty of nature as well as the peace that comes with it.

August rains

strong winds

droning and so cold 

but I hear music too

a soft tempo

of the breeze

 

Celestine’s forte is the use of vivid imagery and words that bring rare poignancy to her poems.

 

my tears flow fast

the rivers of Babylon

when I remember our nirvana

the echoing shell

of broken promises

now our legacy

preying mantis

you sink into ancient ritual

branding me

not even dreaming of death

and dying, will free me

from this macabre dance

Whispers of Dawn (A book of Cherita) is a brilliant, beautiful and daring addition to anyone’s library or book collection. Buy the book and you won’t be disappointed. I therefore recommend Whispers of Dawn for all, especially lovers of poetry and micro poetry.

Whispers of Dawn (A book of Cherita) will be launched on Saturday 21st April 2018 at PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra at 1.00 pm