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#LiterallyWhatsHot – Love, Heartbreak, and Everything Between: A Review of Olanrewaju Oranyeli’s “Caricature of Colours”

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I like poetry that seeps through my skin and burrows deep into my mind. I adore warm words with a side of emotions enveloping me in intimacy. Poetry should be a mirror into a poet’s heart, into their fears and joys. It should be true. I want to see naked souls when I read their words.

Olanrewaju Oranyeli has successfully taken me up a cliff and showed me his kingdom. His book, “Caricature of Colours” is full of glistening towers and monochrome-coloured rooms. His poems are deep, often dwelling on the fragility of love and reckless feelings. Other poems walk a path that leads through dark roads and wasted dreams, but there is also a huge mix of optimistic poetry between.

A regular theme running through Oranyeli’s poems is the fact that there is time for everything: birth, youth, loss, love, and death. One such poem is the aptly named “Time“:

“You cannot be 34 always,
Finding many gods in life’s philosophy.
painting movements with careful brush
solving life’s illusive equation
and biting your tongue to show subtlety.”

With the passage of time winding its way through this book, we’re faced with the fact that nothing is as it seems, the world does not give a rat’s arse about you, and the rat race is almost trivial if we look at the big picture. However, it’s not all gloom and doom as poems like “Living”, encourage us to find little pockets of happiness and hope in the darkness life sometimes blinds us with.

Oranyeli threads the theme of love through his poems by delving into various manifestations of the mystery that lies beneath emotions. Emotions that often run from pure manifestations of love to unrequited yearning to doomed love. “Mint Aroma“ examines crossing the line between friendship and love and the things that happen after. Few people ever change states and go back unscathed. The last few lines of the poem are life and truth:

“…but I learnt that, in the recipe of friendship,
clear instructions must be understood before
cooking ever commences.”

Oranyeli is smooth. His women are beautiful Amazons with “child bearing hips” and “silken skin”. In “Grace” he extols his lady’s beauty:

“Her branches, oh her branches
they spread above the earth and sprinkle pollens into the universe
we call them stars but those things are really made of her
and even if I told her, she’d smile and say it’s nothing
only if she knew, only if she really knew.”

Oranyeli’s poems explore the voids within most of us which we seek to fill with love or material things or thoughts. According to him, we’re all “trying at living”.

His book is divided into sections, all colours: yellow, mint, grey, blue, and orange. Poems in the grey section deal with more practical issues. Yellow poems are lighter, more emotional. He integrates the use of all the senses in his poems: beautiful yellow birds, soft voices, the feel of fabric, spicy smells from homemade meals, and delicious cups of tea. Imagery is excellent in this book, and the poet’s expressiveness makes it easy to fall into his poems.  With his ability to project his thoughts easily, I wager he’ll go a long way in his journey to stardom.

Olanrewaju Oranyeli’s Caricature of Colours is available on the OkadaBooks store for only N1000. Want one? Get a copy here.

Chiamaka Onu-Okpara is a freelance book editor with experience editing fiction, creative non-fiction, and academic documents (Social Sciences and Humanities). Her stories have been published in Ake Review, Apex Magazine, and The Kalahari Review amongst other places. Her first poem is forthcoming in Strange Horizons.

25 Comments

  1. Tomiwa

    September 20, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Lanre is a brilliant mind * I call him the beautiful mind *I recently just randomly encountered his page on Instagram and I was like who is this guy ?and since then I have been glued , I read and re-read almost every write up he posts . he is beyond his times in thought processing yet I Feel we are blessed to have his kind in the midst of us at this times .. his indepth expression and how he is able to tanslate his personal experiences into an inspiration for others is definitely remarkable .
    You can tell he has had his share of ups and downs highs and lows through his writings ..yet no hint of bitterness .. that alone is Epic

    Being a writer myself .. I am deeply inspired by his works
    He is definitely to be watched out for !!!!

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 22, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Hi Tomiwa, Thank you for the kind words and all the support. I really do appreciate it.
      Thanks again. stay blessed.

  2. TENNIE

    September 21, 2017 at 12:50 am

    LANRE is a unique Poet with so much knowledge and content to share with the world. I’m privileged to know him personally and he’s a book of knowledge. Always something to learn. He has beautifully put this amazing book together. Over time I’ve never admired or had interest in poetry cause of its complications but with this poet it has been different. I strongly agree with the review. Well done.

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 22, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Thanks so much Tennie. Your comment is an affirmation that I’m on the right path. Thank you.

  3. Emeka Dele Oranyeli

    September 21, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Need I say more Ms. Chiamaka Onu-Okpara?…Your review is as apt as it can be….Thank you so much !!!

    My Dearest Brother Lanre,

    I am incredibly happy you wrote this book ! Well Done and KUDOS !!!
    You have always been deep with your thoughts and at the same time you also try to simplify these thoughts as best as possible. Interestingly life is not as simple but we have to keep trying to keep it simple…That is the recurring theme in the book…The complexity of humans and life is beyond our comprehension. Your ability and capacity to try to simplify it demonstrates the active thinking that rises to your consciousness. Keep at it.

    This book is now a part and a fraction of you and your life that completes who you as human…Again KUDOS !!

    MUCH LOVE BRO !!!!

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 22, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Bros, I have no words; just tears. it has been a long journey and you have been there through it all. I cannot thank you enough. much love.

  4. Ugo

    September 21, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Your review is so apt. You totally capture the essence of how one feels from reading the book. I must say Lanre uses words as brush strokes painting a very vivid mural. It is always thought provoking to read his work and it helps that he is an amazing human being. This right is definitely a triumph. Kudos

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 22, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Thanks Ugo. You words are ever so encouraging. thanks again. lots of love.

  5. Koyin owoeye

    September 21, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Great review, that’s my “eje” right there… Still reading the book, and loving every moment of it… More grease to ur elbow Bro, nice one….

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 22, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Blood, you too try men. thank you for believing in me always. lots of love. bless

  6. Olu

    September 21, 2017 at 9:12 am

    This is a great review. It’s just too perfect! Amazing effort. Keep up the good work.

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 22, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Thanks Olu. your words are greatly appreciated. I’ll keep pushing. stay blessed

  7. Funmi kelar

    September 21, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I would like to thank you for the effort you have made in writing this book. Your creativity shows a lot in your writing abilities and I’m hoping to see more good work from you in future. The writer (Lanre) really articulates a realistic guidance to live a loved and happy life regardless your ups and down! It’s a perfect book for all especially for the young. A lot of experience in just one book, each section with different feelings and emotions. I must say that the writer is of a very high emotional intelligence!!!

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 22, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Hi Funmi, thank you so much, i am glad you have read the book, that in itself makes me happy. stay awesome

  8. Akin Williamson

    September 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    What can i say, It’s simply the best!!!.

  9. Zandile Vilakazi

    September 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Lanre is one of my closest friends and I’m always in awe of how he puts words and thoughts together. One evening while we were together, I started reading him a few of his poems from his book and he was blown away by how we marries words together. He was genuinely surprised by his own work, it was simply beautiful to witness. He is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. Lanre, your work is amazing and it was only a matter of time that you FINALLY published your work.

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 22, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Thanks so much for the kind words. you are forgetting to mention the fact that you created the cover. Talk about being humble, lol!!! thanks for all the support. i appreciate it. we will keep rising. stay awesome!

  10. Olanrewaju Oranyeli

    September 22, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Hi Tomiwa, Thank you for the kind words and all the support. I really do appreciate it.
    Thanks again. stay blessed.

  11. Olanrewaju Oranyeli

    September 22, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Hi Chiamaka,
    I want to thank you for the review. it is as though you were sitting there and going through the process of creating it.
    Thank you for conveying the words I couldn’t muster in explaining what my intentions were with the book. I feel honored.
    Stay blessed.

  12. misimi

    September 22, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    This is awesome!!You have a very brilliant mind. The sky is your limit dear.

    • Olanrewaju Oranyeli

      September 23, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Misimi, thanks you for the kind words. I appreciate the positive energy. Thanks again

  13. Lucas

    November 10, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    If I was stranded on an island… the one person I would love to have with me to wait it out until rescue comes will be Lanre. The stories/poems we’ll write during the wait wilI keep us alive before rescue comes. God bless your mind bro!!!

    • Olnrewaju Oranyeli

      November 29, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Thanks so much Lucas. I appreciate your kind and genuine words. You have effected a lot of great things since we became friends. i pray that i can also have a positive impact in your life. thanks again. Bless

  14. Bolaji Banjo

    December 30, 2018 at 1:11 am

    Nice one Lanre, read it @ Flapo’s today, fantastic.

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