Tomi Adegbayibi – Colors & Tea (Human)  (Muscaliet Press)



Judges’ Comments

The cover of Tomi Adegbayibi’s Colours & Tea (Human), published by Muscaliet Press, is fuzzy black; this is followed by a pine-green fibrous endpaper. Both choices are made by the author. We open the first poem and we are in a forest; next we come home and make tea. “We are born and we die. Everything else is hazy, human, and hazy.” What comes in between these forest green and deep black brackets is a poetic journey in which the delicate attention with which one brews and sips tea is unflinchingly brought to the situations of human terrors and agonies. The syntax uncurls as a tealeaf and the images whirl; Tomi Adegbayibi’s voice comes through blazing with sympathy and vigour.




Bring the water and ginger to boil.

Simmer. A lemon slice to breathe.

The same treatment for a man’s mind, for a gentler brew.


The zest reduces the bitter tannin.

Citrus and its fruits are scarce here,

Nothing organic can grow from the floor of prison cells.


To prevent before a cure,

catch a child before he is something else. Strain the root.

Frustration to leave through the kettle spout.

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