MY THOUGHTS ON ‘CLINICAL BLUES’ BY DAMI AJAYI — a review by Shoola Oyindamola
TITLE: CLINICAL BLUES
AUTHOR: DAMI AJAYI
NUMBER OF PAGES: 88
PUBLISHER: WRITE HOUSE
DATE OF PUBLICATION: October, 2014
REVIEWER: SHOOLA OYINDAMOLA
In CLINICAL BLUES, DAMI AJAYI presents an epic mockery of the Nigerian political system. He portrays a rare literary smartness with his mixture of medicine’s tools and poetry’s delicacy.
Dami falls into the category of a few writers I have seen or read about that successfully mixed work with pleasure. His use of words molded by his knowledge, experience, and symbolism related to medicine is very well established in this collection.
While reading CLINICAL BLUES, I was finally glad that I took Biology in school and was able to define words like “erythrocytes” (page 49) and other medical terms infused in the poems. I particularly love the section of Hospital Poem. This is a part where the title of this book truly comes to play. It is a sweeping description that identifies the value of health and the sorrows of illness.
In another section of this chef-d’oeuvre, he wrote about Fela’s music. Without the interference of my feminist intuition for the original song by Fela, my best piece by Dami Ajayi is titled “Lady.” This section is a witty tribute to one of the world’s best musicians.
I can relate Dami’s CLINICAL BLUES with R.D Liang’s KNOTS, another masterpiece that mixed human psychology with poetry. Although Dami and Liang have different styles of writing, their similarities dwell more in the realities described in their poems.
It is interesting to note that Dami and Liang did not have choose between the talent – poetry – and their aspirations as professionals, unlike many young people are pressured to do these days. In that regard, CLINICAL BLUES speaks to the reality of many youths in Nigeria who, unlike Chimamanda Adichie who had the guts to drop out early of a pre-med major to solely pursue her desire in writing, are often threatened and told that they have to study courses like medicine, law or accounting, not ‘unserious’ majors like writing or literature – many of them tend to abandon their talents and passion for the “serious pursuit.”
I admire CLINICAL BLUES more because Dami chose an unexpected route. He did not think inside the box or outside the box, instead, he thought without the box. He studied medicine and now writes brilliant pieces of poetry about medicine.
I therefore recommend this book to all, especially young and aspiring writers. Kudos and well done Dami!!!