Poor by Caleb Femi
POOR by @caleb.femi
The best poetry for me consists solely of the ability to have intense impact with the least amount of words and this is a masterclass. I regularly had to stop and re-read a single line that was more profound than most books.
Every page felt like I was simultaneously being punched in the gut and given an immediate, heart rendering insight. A former young poet laureate with the skill of one ten times his age, Femi distils into lyrical prose the anger, grief, torment, frustration and joy of growing up on a council estate in Peckham. The use of photography assists in bringing the words to life, weaving an intricate tapestry. It’s more than poetry, it is the highest form of art, raw, fervent, aggressive and tender, holding a mirror up to society and giving a voice to pain.
His observations are utterly devastating, his use of language breathtaking. This is groundbreaking, landmark writing and mind bogglingly it is a debut, albeit one that has won countless awards and been lauded universally for the achievement it is.
Caleb’s words are so powerful, his ability so compelling, I don’t think I can articulate how moved I was and I defy anyone to read this and not be. By page 20 I abandoned the tabs as every poem is more important and memorable than the last.
The use of concrete throughout, representing so much, ensured this collection was inextricably linked and felt like one experience which will stay with me for a very long time. At times I wanted to cry, particularly as I work within the Criminal Justice system. @caleb.femi I applaud you. You are an absolute sensation. The hype is real, in fact it isn’t enough. Reading this was a privilege. Even if you don’t usually like poetry this is unmissable.