Inside the flower room is a journey into Saddiq Dzukogi’s soul. Like a tree, it has different branches in the way it encompasses his family life, grief, and parental challenges. In beautiful ways, Saddiq evokes the death of his grandmother, who he writes about as an angelic presence in his life, and the birth of his daughter to ignite the power of hope, life and genetics.
The first poem is a welcome ceremony. In it, the poet comes to terms with his past. The poems after that lead us into a flurry of emotions driven by body, time and place. They as well, bring a sense of optimism in the way he links death to birth in The Pigeon which is a eulogy to his daughter. Here, he praises her birth as a balm on his grief, and relies on the power of genetics to show that there is no end as long as family still stands.
The Last Time my Father Hit Me draws the unseen link between parents, children, grandchildren, and all the bits of history they carry. A Wonderful Place brings us into the realm of Saddiq’s happiness, the hope and joy of family life. He talks about loss and silence in Time. Here, he paints his grandmother as a guardian angel, someone who calmed and eased him through the pains of life.
He molds the sadness of his life in the most delicate ways like clay pots. Though the poems also explore the resilience of women in his life as expressed in Widow’s Smile, My Sister Sings In Twilight and Aylan Refused The Skin of Water, the damages of abuse captured in Father’s Demise and the horror of conflict in The IDP Camp and Child Of War are indeed perfect mosaics of grief, love, pain and hope. Unseen is a succinct gaze into his family. It describes the relationship between Saddiq and his parents.
As we have seen all along, the titles of the poems are like windows into the heart of the poet. The reader feels the poem before they begin to read. Saddiq Dzukogi digs into the experiences we are too afraid to confront in our lives. It is remarkable the way he bares it all in this beautiful collection. The writing immerses you in its biographical bend. I particularly feel as though I have already met him since reading the book. How wonderful it is for the poet to create bridges that connect him to the reader.
The poems remind me of the power poetry has to reflect and cleanse us of our emotions. I recall a quote from a writer on twitter “Poetry is not the voice of our thoughts but the light from our souls.” Essentially, poetry serves as a catharsis, a way to confront the demons of our pasts–exploring our souls, reaching deep into the darkness that’s within, and pouring it out on paper. Doing this takes a great amount of courage. For a poet, this is a milestone.
Title: Inside The Flower Room
Author: Saddiq Dzukogi
Publisher: Akashic Books
The Reviewer, Aisha Muhammad has her bio in the members’ profile section.