Official Review: Shitolian by O Persaud

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sarahmarlowe
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Official Review: Shitolian by O Persaud

Post by sarahmarlowe »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Shitolian" by O Persaud.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Reviewer's note: Asterisks were placed in the title so that the automatic editing program would allow the word.

Sh**olian, by O Persaud, is a collection of poetry with a bold tone of self-examination and identity. Apparently, a “sh**olian” is a person who comes from an undesirable place. (I learned something new!) This author writes from the perspective of someone who has had to scrabble for livelihood and respect, and I enjoyed reading the processes narrated here.

There are four sections of poetry including a total of 49 poems. The subjects are varied, but most of them come back to the central theme of “identity.” Some of the topics discussed are slavery, AIDS, domestic violence, and blood diamonds. The poems travel through examining racial divides, using hurts as motivators, and laughing because we need to.

In the first section, there are 14 poems dealing with racial inequality. Persaud calls out racial issues and experiences specifically between black people and white people. For example, in the poem “black and white drinking fountains” the author points out that although the water fountains in the text are separated, the water comes from the same pipes.

Then there are 18 poems in the section, “the Creator,” which discuss God, our experiences, and how we react to our circumstances. Persaud suggests that our hurts and disappointments are motivators given to us to allow us to refocus ourselves. In the poem “worry,” he declares that worry is wasteful because “worry doesn’t fill up anything/ especially in your mind.” Many of these poems serve as an encouragement to let go of bad things that happen in our lives, framing a strong identity. He says, “it is adversity/ that makes us appreciate/ what we have/ or what we had.”

In the next section, called “the colony,” there are nine poems concerning insects and animals. The author examines ants, bees, mice, and other animals, comparing their traits to human behavior. In the last section, we get to see the fun side of Persaud. This section is called “writer’s block: a book of shi**y poems,” and the author includes eight poems that dance around with the word that lends itself to the title of this book. I enjoyed seeing the playful and sarcastic sides of this author.

I loved that Persaud creates vivid pictures with his words. For instance, these lines are from the poem “cold.” “when the wind/ had blown/ frost scattered/ across the dead grass/ like the dust/ off a dirt road.” Those lines allowed me to see and feel the place he was describing. Most of the poems do not have a rhyme scheme, reflecting their stark subjects and straightforward views. The poems that do rhyme have a sing-song rhythm to them. “the soul of music” is one of my favorites. The first stanza reads, “I had paid my dues/ in fields of cotton/ then sang the blues/ so it would never/ be forgotten.” Many of the poems end with a final line that is brief, yet profound. More than once, that final punch took my breath away.

The book is professionally edited, and I found no errors. I found the use of lowercase letters used mostly in the work interesting. I wonder if the author used them to emphasize the low station of some of the subjects in the poem, or if he was making a statement about the poems themselves. Either way, they are used for a purpose and are not errors. Obviously, prospective readers can expect from the title that there is some coarse language in this selection of poetry. I am not a fan of tossing around profanity, especially when it is unnecessary. However, Persaud most often uses it to make a point, and it didn’t take away from his work. I rate this beautiful collection of poems 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this title to poetry fans who are looking for modern evaluations of subjects old and new. However, if you don’t like profanity, pass on this one.

******
Shitolian
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sarahmarlowe
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Post by unamilagra »

Wow, it sounds like the author is able to cover quite a lot of ground in this collection, from very heavy themes to some witty banter. I'm glad you enjoyed the book!
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Post by Fazzier »

It seems this book has a lot to offer as it covers some of the pertinent issues in the society. I'm also glad that the author's diction is capable of creating mental picture in the minds of readers. Thank you for this wonderful review!
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Post by Nisha Ward »

Oh. This sounds delightful. Poetry often is a succinct yet profound way to convey a message, so that the poet chooses to use this medium to talk about those in low stations is good. I look forward to reading it.
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Post by Rachel Lea »

Great review! I especially liked where you quoted Persaud's "Worry" poem, "Worry doesn't fill up anything especially in your mind," and also when he says, "It is adversity that makes us appreciate what we have or what we had.” Both statements are quite profound. Thank you!
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Post by ElizaBeth Adams »

The poems sure do cover a variety of topics. It is neat that the author's final punch in his poems repeatedly took your breath away. Pulling a strong emotion out of a reader is a good sign of effective writing, especially in poetry. This one isn't for me at this time. I am glad you enjoyed it and that it is well done. Thanks for an excellent review.
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Post by Miriam Molina »

I reviewed this author's other book of poetry, but he'd rather keep my review to himself. I agree with you about his ability to evoke vivid images, creative humor, and expertise in speaking French (not the kind spoken in Paris).

I enjoyed your review of O Persaud. I wonder why he dropped the rest of his name (Omar).
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Post by Janelle Juncos »

This sounds like a good, fun book of poetry. I like a book that can discuss serious issues without taking itself too seriously. Wonderful review!
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Post by kdstrack »

The wide variety of themes lend themselves to reflective thought. The title of the book is a new word for me too. So I learned something new also! Thanks for your insightful review.
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I don't normally read poetry, but, from your description, I think I would enjoy this book. Thank you for a great review!
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Post by Bluebird03 »

The term "sh**tolian" is also a new one to me. All of the poems that you mentioned sound interesting, especially the section on insects and animals and how their traits compare to ours. How creative! Your insight into the lower case letters is also intriguing. Thank you for a most insightful and engaging review!
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Post by centfie »

Your review has made me curious to read this book, especially the profound last lines that took your breath away. I am adding it to my bookshelf straight away.
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Post by Quickstudy »

This book is very interesting. Your review , sparked a desire in me to read this book.
Great review.
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Post by T_stone »

The poems in this book sound interesting and engaging. Sh*tolian is a very catchy title. I kept reading his name as "persuade"
:doh: Great review though
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Post by sarahmarlowe »

unamilagra wrote: 11 May 2019, 15:11 Wow, it sounds like the author is able to cover quite a lot of ground in this collection, from very heavy themes to some witty banter. I'm glad you enjoyed the book!
I was glad to be able to read a book of good poetry. Thanks for stopping by!
sarahmarlowe
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