A True Definition of Emotions in Obiageli A. Iloakasia’s Kàmbílí: A Review By Usman Karofi



Obiageli in Kàmbílí has shown us the true definition of emotions, which is plain and raw. The poems are interwoven in a great process of creation. Simple, yet it carries a fire of longing and belonging. The language was devoid of any flowery but rich in aesthetics. 


The collection sounds philosophical with some amused self-centered declarations from the writer. The writer has successfully wielded the bridge between feelings and reality. In the first part of the book, we can see how the writer has detailed the complexities, intricacies, and perils associated with yearning. 


In the poem “we made magic” we can feel the aggression of love when she writes:


“in your eyes, I saw wildfire.
and your rope, drawing from this honeypot.
our souls came clashing
like heaven had fallen on earth.” 


But even with the aggression, we can feel the soft spot of love in the next line when she wrote:


I watched you ease off tension” –Page 7


This has shown how a powerful union with the beloved can alter the mood and psychological well-being of lovers. This particular poem has justified what AJ Berry said in his translation of the book Ring of the Dove.


I have tested all manner of pleasures, and known every variety of joy; and I have found that neither intimacy with princes, nor wealth acquired, nor finding after lacking, nor returning after a long absence, nor security after fear and repose in a safe refuge none of these things so powerfully affects the soul as union with the beloved, especially if it comes after long denial and continual banishment.”


The second part of the book portrays grief in an inspiring beauty that point to hope at the end. It gives a therapeutic massage to the reader that despite the pain, hope will always be a moving instinct to tackle grief. The book has really tried to point out togetherness that no matter what, you aren’t alone in the fight. 


In this collection, Home is seen with rage and fire, hope and belonging, healing and vulnerability yet it is not enough to curb the intricacies of the desire of the author.  


“This city has become my home.
every time I talk to mother,
she cries and says she misses me.” –Page 57


In this poem, we can see how a home can be looked upon both figuratively and metaphorically. Does the home have a definite answer? What qualifies an entity to be home? The writer has let open the meaning of home and is left for the readers to decide what is home to them. 


Finally, Kàmbílí has shown that there is no vanity in revealing your weakness and vulnerability because that also is power.




Usman karofi is a Nigerian poet and literary critic, born in Dutsin-Ma Local government of Katsina state. He had his early and secondary education in kaduna and kano states respectively. He then proceeds to Bayero University Kano to study Botany. He is currently the program officer of poetic Wednesday initiative.


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