Rooted in poetry

A Season of Tenderness and Dread

Abu Bakr Solomons


Review: Chantel Erfort

Struggle, politics, death and everyday life. These are some of the themes explored in Abu Bakr Solomons’ anthology of poetry, beautifully titled A Season of Tenderness and Dread.

Similar to the contradiction and tension alluded to in the title, there exists in this anthology, a tension between time, space and a sense of peacefulness; and a feeling of frustration with injustice and the slowness of change.

I’m naturally drawn to lyrical poetry – the use of alliteration and assonance. While few of Solomons’s pieces overtly use these literary tools, I found myself really enjoying the slow pace of some of his work and the sincere, authentic descriptions of everyday life and the proverbial man on the street.

Also included in this anthology are photographs, but I found the use and layout of these to be inconsistent. Some of them are also out of focus, including the one used on the cover – a beautiful image, let down only because there’s no discernible point of focus.

As a writer and reader of all kinds of poetry, I find it encouraging that small publishers like Botsotso are creating a platform for writers of poetry to have their work released, and it’s even more encouraging when exciting works like Tyehimba Jess’s unconventional poetry collection Olio wins a Pulitzer (2017).