#POEMS: OUT OF THE SILENT BREATH

OBY 8

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha’s poems portray images that stare us right in the face. Images of love, joy, death, pain, challenges, violation, and freedom. She writes in a language that’s rich in imagery, earthy, honest, vulnerable, yet full of the promise of hope, of loving and of Grace. A collection of light and dark soulful prose. 

Somewhere, sometimes, life takes us through difficult, unexpected pathways that bring us to the edge of a precipice. These life-lessons that knock us down to our knees also become turning and redeeming points in our lives. They open our eyes to the important things and make us to question or find our purpose.

They drive us to wake up, to make the conscious choice to rise and step out and to live fully in the present moments that life brings us. It is the things that we deeply love that saves our sanity in these moments and gives us reason to hope, to open the doors and to fly.

Out of the silent breath is a vivid compilation of joyful, melancholic and hopeful prose through different walks of life.

The Author

OBY 6

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha is a fellow blogger who is originally from Nigeria.  Her blog is A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales.  She uses this platform to support fellow bloggers and to raise awareness of the many  ongoing cultural inequalities and problems in the world.  Here is Jacqueline’s story in her own words:

I like to describe myself as a Jacqueline of all trade and a mistress of nothing. Everything is work-in-progress in my life, including me. Nothing is finished for, there’s always room for more improvement.

If all is finished, then that means that I am done on this side of the great divide. I believe that I still have a pretty long way to go with hammering myself into a worthy state before toddling off to sing angelic lullabies.

I was born in Nigeria in the mid 70’s, to a family with one of the best parents that I could have ever asked for.

My growing up years was in University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus. A close-knit community where everyone knew what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner and pretty much any shenanigans that you got up to. Back then, an honorary auntie could feel enough righteous indignation and would help to straighten you out before sending you home to your parents who will cement the straightening with their own dose of reprimanding.

As a young lady in High school, I was involved in a number of social and community activities. From Church work to participating in dramas at the local theatre, speaking at regular debate contests and contribution to the young writer’s club. At the initial stage, these artistic flairs propelled my interest to further my university education in Theatre or Communication Arts, however, due to the general inclination back then, that artists in Nigeria had no bright future, I leaned towards studying law.

My education in law was closely followed by several professional courses, in Public Relations, Chartered Secretary, and Administrators, an associate degree in the French Language as well as a Diploma in Translation. French is a language that I find not only romantic, but everything just sounds decadently delicious in French even when they are shouting.

Fast forward to my career path and like I had indicated right from the onset, I have done so many things.

I started my working life at The Embassy of Tunisia in Lagos as the Personal Assistant to the Ambassador and after a brief stint in France, I returned and joined the Embassy of France also in Lagos.

My position working with the Cultural Attaché to the Embassy of France paved an opportunity to join The Delegation of the European Union in Abuja, Nigeria. It was a job that offered a lot of training and travel opportunities and during this point in time, I met my dear husband, who whisked me off to the altar after a six-month whirlwind courtship. Our union will turn 16 years in November and we are blessed with three beautiful children.

The natural process of having babies with a stillbirth and several miscarriages in-between meant juggling family life along with my career, cycling through different jobs as I sought to find that which suited my family lifestyle a lot better.

I held job positions ranging from Archivist, Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant, Public Relations Officer, Administrative Manager, Records Manager to School Registrar.

http://www.amazon.com/Out-Silent-Breath-Jacqueline-Oby-Ikocha-ebook/dp/B01EYN38ES

 

20 Young Writers Of Color Share Their Favorite Poems

Colour 2

Article originally published in  The Huffington Post by Priscilla Frank Arts Writer.

“The vulnerability and realness I’ve witnessed within the poetry world is unlike any other medium in my mind.”

In December, The New York Times invited noted writers, actors and public figures to share their favorite poems, reaching out to people like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Elena Ferrante Tavi Gevinson, Lena Dunham and Junot Díaz, among others.

After reading the published list, Tabia Alexine, a Los Angeles-based curator and creative, was disappointed. “It was a compelling group, but not as diverse and intersectionally colorful as I’d hoped,” she explained to The Huffington Post. Soon after, Alexine embarked on a project of her own, reaching out to young writers of color she admired to bring the original list the multiplicity both readers and writers deserve.

Alexine collected the perspectives of 20 new voices, each explaining the power of a single poem. “The responses reflect a spectrum of experience among the writers,” she explained. “But I did notice that several poems discussed discovery, social justice, and resistance through existence and survival.”

Looking forward, Alexine hopes future articles in outlets like The New York Times will represent a wider range of backgrounds and perspectives. And that the cultural landscape at large will follow suit. “I hope to see poetry and art by talented persons of color more widely distributed via TV, film, in commercials, at events, galleries, and conferences,” she continued. “I love seeing books like The Breakbeat Poets sold at major retailer, Barnes & Noble. I also believe performance poets and writers deserve increased honorariums for their work. I want to be a catalyst, pushing all of those things forward.”

Right in time for Black History Month, Alexine’s diversified anthology speaks to the importance of poetry to voices too often marginalized or silenced. “It can be such a powerful platform for truth-telling, disruption, affirmation, and empathy,” she said. “The vulnerability and realness I’ve witnessed within the poetry world is unlike any other medium in my mind. These 20 individuals are unapologetically taking up space and making noise as writers, activists, performers, educators, literary editors, students, and so much more.”

Learn about their favorite poems, and the stories behind them: 

http://goo.gl/jZQGlp

Things You Won’t Say

In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting.
sarah

How far would you go to save your family?

Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There’s been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn’t hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured.

As weeks pass and her husband’s insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting—but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.

But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie’s world. It’s about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike’s flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike.

And Jamie’s younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.

In her characteristic exploration of true-to-life relationships, Sarah Pekkanen has written a complex, compelling, and openhearted novel—her best yet.

The Author

sarah 2

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels CATCHING AIR, THE BEST OF US, THESE GIRLS, SKIPPING A BEAT and THE OPPOSITE OF ME. Sarah is the mother of three boys, which explains why she wrote part of her novel at Chuck E. Cheese. Seriously.

She penned her first book, Miscellaneous Tales and Poems, at the age of 10. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece (hey, all the poems rhymed!) Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery.

Sarah still has that letter, and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true. At least some dreams – Brad Pitt has yet to show up on her doorstep wearing nothing but a toolbelt and asking if she needs anything fixed. So maybe it’s only G-rated dreams that come true. Please visit www.sarahpekkanen.com

http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Pekkanen/e/B002FYZBVM

Please find her on Facebook and twitter @sarahpekkanen!