Arts/ Literature, Book Review.


Reading Time: 5 minutes
Pamilerin Jacob.  Olawala Ibiyemi
Title: Memoirs of crushed petals

Category: Poetry

Author: Pamilerin Jacob

Publisher: Words, Rhymes & Rhythm.

Year of Publication: 2018

ISBN: 978-978-963-998-4

You know when they say books take you everywhere, it doesn’t have to be another country, planet or state. It could be inside another being.

This Poetry Collection is like a peep into the mind of a person, a person who has been spanked constantly by life and each page turned didn’t seal his message with a promise of a light at the end of the tunnel. Well, that made me a little cringy. I’m used to reading poem that says I fell down. I tried to stand I fell again. I will try again. But his sounded like I fell down, I tried to stand and the earth pulled me down harder and then broke my spinal cord.

The author wasn’t trying to paint reality with colours that make you forget how reality really goes.

Memoir of crushed petals is melancholic, blunt and honest, sometimes in a satirical way.

The major themes include Mental Health, Societal Ills, Friendship Religious Blindness and Male Oppression  among others.

WRR Publishing Limited

I was struck by the proficient way metaphors were employed in the book. He compared life to a ‘midwife spanking him for not crying enough’, compared love to ‘a drop of water on the tongue after a seven day fast’ , Birds to trees who learnt to fly’ and Question marks to fragments of a rope binding the legs of answers’.

That isn’t a talent, that is vivid imagination and brillance.


In a poem titled feelings:images of me, Pamilerin wrote:

what if feathers were leaves who refused to die
And birds were trees who learnt to fly

This poem gave me hope, that when ordinary people dream, not just dreams trapped in their heads but dreams they work towards with fearlessness and perseverance. They become extraordinary. Shebi you’ve heard of Martin Luther King ??.


Pamilerin also laced some poems with dark imagination that reminded me of Allan Poe. In this poem titled Song V. He wrote about self perception.  When you look ar the mirror, do you see failed dreams, worthlessness, a gristeque image of whom you would become or do you see the entire universe shinning through you? Self perception is very important, how you see yourself is critical to  what you think about yourself which is crucial to your mental health.

I look into a picture of myself
Hanging on a wall, my mouth missing
My eyes are missing
The image turns its back towards me
Morph into a dog with three eyes, a dog with the tail of a crocodile and then begins to run deep into the pictures.

Memoirs of crushed petals

In Nigeria, and the whole world itself where prejudice is a norm. A poem titled Brain Freeze brilliantly pointed to how we justify our wrongs, forgive ourselves and  intolerant of people whose actions are ‘bad’.

when your child steals from the pot
drag him to the town square
douse him in petrol and tell
a bystander to light a match
because he has committed a great treachery and you
you are spotless, like a cheetah…..

In the world, where certain expectations are placed on the backs of men and we yell at them when their backs scream vulnerability. On Pg 81, Water has a voice. He writes:

We were taught to store our tears
In beer bottles, to break
the head of an emotion with our penis
A man, 27, steps on the eye of a nail
Pain touches him, he shrugs
“I will not remove this nail
Until I show my friends.”

Vulnerability shouldn’t be bottled, we shouldn’t encourage that, trees grow barks because they are vulnerable and they are aware of it so they grow secondary cell walls which protect them more. When vulnerability is bottled, it leads to brokeness, brokeness that can’t be easily fixed like Gintsugi.


Speaking of Feminism and Women oppression alone isn’t going enough to make world more fair if we pretend male oppression isn’t as important. Pamilerin reminded us that a man could be opressed too by the same dictated society that oppresses women. It’s high time we started talking about male oppression too.
In page 28, a poem titled Real Man. Pamilerin wrote satirically:

..that real men eat poison and don’t die
Real men willl never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever cry
Even when you crush their testicles.
I will tell my lover to buy a pair of scissors
Instead, why crush my testicles
When we can cut them off
And make eggrolls with them
When we can stuff the eye of my penis
With many broomsticks
To test the limit of my manliness.

Have you ever wished to enter a poem because of how lyrical it sounded. This is how I felt reading most of the poems in memoirs of crushed petals.

This poetry book is unusually beautiful. If you are in love with something different, something not cliche and striking from the first page. Then, this is for you.
I realised that although being a poetry book even people who don’t love poetry would love it in the way each line read like prose.
As a person who is concerned about the future of poetry in Nigeria. I’m glad to say Pamilerin exists and he wrote this book not out of boredom or the need to be referred to as a poet as many do. But the need to convey a message, the need to reach into people’s mind, the need to help people question illusioned reality and the need to make vulnerability and mental health a important discussion among Nigerians just as much as we discuss Buhari and Jollof Rice.

Divorce is a sin
Even if he fondles you with sharp needles

I’m in awe of this debut collection. I’m in Awe and I’m proud of it as though we had written it together, as though I had lent him my pen, because deftly, painstakingly and bravely , Pamilerin wrote about his pains, my pains and your pains.

This is Genius, Special and Magical, it’s the kind of book you beg other people to read.

Pamilerin Jacob

I got mine from @thebookdealerng for #1500. Get yours here.

Also available on amazon, click here.

And for just 250 naira, you can get it on Okadabooks. Here.

A peep into Pamilerin’s Instagram Page where beautiful words live here.

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Azeeza Adeowu

Azeeza Adeowu is the curator of The Zyzah.
She's a Blogger, Storyteller and a Ranter.
If you don't catch her reading, writing, seeing movies or listening to a podcast, you will definitely catch her fangirling or stalking beautiful people on Instagram.

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    Now you’ve whetted my appetite with these eye candies. Can’t wait to get mine. Interesting review as always.

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