Ushie, Joe (2018). Yawns and Belches. Kraft Books Ltd, Ibadan

About the Book

Yawns and Belches is confirmatory! It endorses the international award-winning poet and Bette-Bendi-born scholar, Joe Ushie, in literary memory as one of Africa’s best-famous, versatile and prolific poets. He has demonstrated a sustained proclivity in presenting the “social-political” themes of his world with a stylistic signature reminiscent of Niyi Osundare, Susan Kiguli and Eaman Grennan. Fourteen years is a long time to wait. But we have not waited in vain, for the master-poet has compensated us with a splendid collection of poems that comes with a kind of newness and freshness that reminds one of dews in the morning. A reading of Yawns and Belches shows that Ushie has deepened his concern about the fate of the common people. Oscillating like a pendulum between hopefulness and hopelessness, Yawns and Belches addresses failure in leadership as manifested in a democracy that has elected to remain infantile. Apart from marking the entry of a finely written collection of poems into Africa’s largest literary space, Yawns and Belches illuminates the poet’s continuous strengthening of his craftsmanship and poetic vision.

Yawns and Belches, even at a glance, presents Ushie as the people’s poet, the spokesperson of the yawning majority
—Rome Aboh author of A Torrent of Terror and Above the Rubble, academic and Fellow, American Council of Learned Societies (AHP)


Letters on the streets
Yawns and belches
Worldeclass democracy
Climate change
One with the beasts
Tree and crane
Lame gods
ln vitro fertilization
Africa today
Paternoster of African rulers
Weird harvest
Ballot season
Message to my congressman
Transition lights
The farm hut
The big man
The season has come
At the national cemetery
Roadside shit
Tasmanian devils
Homage to haram
Early menopause
This poem
My oppressors
My umbrella
lf words
The tethered
The “Sir” pendulum
Walking with the sun
The rags on the floor
Fridays and Sundays
New year day
My happiest
To you, who stole my phone
To my students
The good landlord
Song of the first wife

Name not your fees
Perfect rhyme scheme
Hidden verse
A salute
Sour flower

Wounds of the heart
The quest
Master punctuation mark
In rnemoriam: Mike Akomaye Yanou (Jolly)
Another big fish has left the river
Another silk tree has fallen