Book Review: A2: A Scholarly Poetical Science Discourse

Book Cover Images image of A2: A Scholarly Poetical Science Discourse

by Ayo Sekai

    Publication Date: Mar 20, 2024
    List Price: $42.00
    Format: Paperback, 240 pages
    Classification: Nonfiction
    ISBN13: 9780974226934
    Imprint: Universal Write Publications
    Publisher: Universal Write Publications
    Parent Company: Universal Write Publications

    Read a Description of A2: A Scholarly Poetical Science Discourse

    Book Reviewed by Ahmad Wright

    Afrocentric themes find themselves cast through an academic lens of creativity, analysis, and cultural criticism in this revised, second edition of A2: A Scholarly Poetical Science Discourse written by Dr. Ayo Sekai, a social scientist and scholar. In 218 pages, Dr. Sekai has bookended thirty-eight poems from 1991 (“South Africa”) to 2018 (“The Evolution of My Child” [formerly titled “Happy Birthday, Cheyanne”]) into this academic text with the addition of prose analysis and conversation. The poems represent a span of twenty-seven years from this period of the author’s life and experiences. The pieces themselves engage topics such as racism, climate change, friendship and love, impact of social media, history (bridging past and present), Black hair, the rights of women, misinformation, social media and much more, all funneled through a perspective that is “African-centered” in the way her poems are reviewed. It is through this lens that allows for perspective to be analyzed though a gaze that is not altogether a European aesthetic; it is not enlightenment, but “endarkenment” to formally represent “a positive transformative process [that] is to align my ideas…” minus whatever structural conventions linger in the poetry format.

    To this end, each of the first twenty-five poems are the tethered to a “Scholarly Discourse” section complete with a mini references page. Here the works are examined within broader textual themes, carving and fighting its way through what Sekai calls “linguistic imperialism”—a way in which weaponized language is used “as a means of subjugating other races and cultures….” After Dr. Molefi Kete Asante’s foreword, a well-positioned introduction continues to explain the overarching framework of these poems, and the “Afrocentric Paradigm” in which they exist in tandem with the scholarly discourse. No doubt, this section of Part 1 is the heaviest part of the book to tread, though necessary to understand A2’s format. In the introduction, the author is using her treatment of endarkenment, the Afrocentric perspective as a “tool used to realign subjectively and in conjunction with racial biases and discriminatory practices and provide a new way to assess the consciousness of the American culture….”

    Quickly, it becomes clear that this is not just a book of poetry. Dr. Sekai is a Fulbright specialist, a scholar, and a publisher whose mission and work aim to examine and change the ways language is used to impact political agenda, policies, and rhetoric.

    The second half of the book presents a completely different exercise of the text whereas the scholarly discourse is replaced with what the author describes as “Poetical Science Discourse Analysis.” The reader may experience this as a methodology that includes practical instruction on reading poetry and using it within the broader context of introducing more controversial themes. The writing is clear, insightful, and straightforward. One can see the bold connection between Sekai’s knowledge and respect for all incarnations and structures of poetry as well as her concern for the prominence of a “Westernized lens” for poetry that ultimately leaves out a lot of what is rich in “music, movement, dance…tone, and tenor…” evident in creative work from an “African-centered framework.”

    This “Part 2” also provides the greatest practical insights of the book: “instructions/questions one can ask on how one may read a poem.” A list of ten items is included here; there is commentary on how historical Eurocentric interpretation, cadences, etc., do not need to be automatically validated; in fact, Sekai insists that instead there is a “global attitude that should be in conversation with all the topics addressed in A2.” Also, in “Part 2,” lined blank pages are available to use as a workspace for the reader to reach their own conclusions for “Poetical Analysis” after each of the additional twelve poems just as a student would. The utility here as an academic instruction manual and teaching tool is powerful for anyone looking to add poetry to their higher education syllabi.

    Read Universal Write Publications’s description of A2: A Scholarly Poetical Science Discourse.

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