Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo

I am not a regular poetry reader and neither am I a fan of it but I did enjoy this particular collection. This is the first I have read since my days in school. My first thoughts on this collection was that it was a breath of fresh air and a beautiful work of art. The collection had two types of poems: long ones with an unfolding story and short ones.

My favorite poem and one that stood out for me was:

Chewing Flowers

I am writing for the women

Who were once girls

 Judging themselves

Through the eyes

Of souls

Who couldnt comprehend

Their light

I am writing for the women

Who stammered

Just to speak


Who forced themselves

Into silence

When ugly words

Were once thrown at them

I am writing for the women

Who keep kneeling

Screaming at their phone
as lovers leave

As friends depart

I am writing for

All these women

Who still show up

With a smile

After battling their demons

The night before

I am also writing

For the women

Who do not smile

The next day

Women who


A day or two

To recover

From the brutalities

Of the world

The book brought out heavy themes some of which stood out for me were:  love, trauma, and family, life in the diaspora, culture and heritage. As you read along, one thing that comes out clear is women experience the same issues, they may not be happening to them at the same time but their experiences are similar.

This was a book club read for the month of February. I chose to read it in advance so as to prepare the discussion questions for the club members. Some members of my book club are very skeptical about discussing a poetry book. I guess they will never understand until they explore. I however cannot wait to discuss it as it is so fresh and packed with so many issues and themes to discuss.


2 thoughts on “Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo

  1. I look forward to this review. I have read a few of the poems. They are good but I can’t describe them as memorable so I wonder how the review will be or if we will reread the poems. That could be just me though. Glad to see that you enjoyed the book.

    1. Thanks! I am also looking forward to reviewing a poetry book. I have read it twice and the review will focus on the themes and the style. We’ll see how it goes.I am glad you read some of the poems.

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