Title: Never Play Games With The Devil
Author: Tolu’ A. Akinyemi
Publisher: The Roaring Lion Newcastle
Reviewer: Lolade Ademola
Never Play Games With The Devil is a beautiful and intellectually riveting mosaic of beautiful words, exploring diverse topics that are relevant to us.
There are poems focused on damaged societal beliefs and practices like “Broken Men”, “Petulance”, “Stigmatization”, “Kill Me Slowly”, and “Eddie”, which unravel the holes in the very nucleus of widely held beliefs.
He uses diverse angles to humanize some cold subjects and succeeds in making the reader question fundamental fabrics of society.
The author is unapologetic about his desire to make the reader act better as poems like “Hustle”, “Growth”, “Finding My Feet”, “Never Play Games With The Devil” “Twitter Street”, and “Onye China” all pick on different topics in personal growth and development. We are taught on habits, behaviours and choices with the clear aim of leading better lives.
He also pens some delicious poems about self-acceptance like “Chocolate Skin Man”, “Angry Poets”, and “Mave Waves”, which see him write letters to self, society and the universe about very personal but public subjects.
A passionate artivist, Tolu addresses several core issues that plague Nigeria, his country of birth. With poems like “Western Hemisphere”, “Sarz”, “RUGA”, “Where Are The Cows?”, “Northern Hemisphere”, “The Pastor Has Lost His Voice”, “Bad Governance”, “Homecoming”, and “Eastern Hemisphere” he unapologetically tackles perpetrators in the society by calling them out on all the ills they have enjoyed performing.
He moves on to a lighter note with “For Asaba”, but with “Lazy Youth”, “Another Precious Candle Dimmed” and “Southern Hemisphere”, his goal is crystal clear: the government needs to do better.
Love, heartbreak and romantic relationships aren’t left out as he explores the holes in the concept of love and toxic relationships with deliberate poems like “Sparring”, “Love Language”, “Cheating Chromosomes”, “Rebellious”, “True Love”, “Combustible”, and “Fly To Eternity” among several others.
By the end of the book, readers can truly resonate with the title, Never Play Games With The Devil, because we are shown with his rich meal of poems the devil in our world, which can be said to be ills and mistakes in all aspects of our society. We close the final pages feeling a strong desire to do better and to ensure everyone else around us follows suit – whether our leaders or friends who are involved in toxic relationships.