For the Love of Flight is Lola Shoneyin’s third collection of poems and it goes a long way in cementing what is, already, a well deserved reputation.
The collection extends what is a trademark confident sure footedness, underlined by and reflected in poetry that is at once sassy, saucy, engaging, literary and also wickedly playful.
Some of the poems present a literary dilemma especially in the deeply reflective personal poems, those collected in the early sections of the book, “Nesting” and “The Beak Generation.” As you read the poems, the question persists seeking an elusive answer, whose voice are we hearing? Is the poet persona Lola Shoneyin; poet, mother, wife and teacher or a literary doppelganger, an invention set forth on paper to mess with our minds?
Others are easy to decipher as they detail extremely personal incidents, family milestones if you wish, in Lola Shoneyin’s interesting life. There is also what I regard as the standout poem of the collection, For Kiitan, a painfully, evocative narrative poem recalling the loss of an unborn child.
Reading “For Kiitan” is akin to watching a woman undress and lay herself bare, but there is nothing sexual or physical, it is rather a psychic unravelling; a true spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility and set down in lyrically evocative verse.
Lola Shoneyin’s poetry evinces the makings of a sensitive and accomplished poet who tackles serious domestic and topical issues of the day with literary aplomb. Her subjects can be both deeply and intensely personal and at the same time political.