Umar Abubakar Sidi and the Mysticism of the order in the Poet of
Title of Collection: The Poet of Dust
Name of Author/Poet: Umar Abubakar Sidi
Type: Mystic, Surrealism
Year of Publication: 2023
ISBN: 978-978 59473-7-1
Book Reviewer: Salamatu Sule
The Poet of Dust by Umar Abubakar Sidi, is the summation of the literary understanding that Poetry as a genre of literature, is the most technical in the sense that the Poet is compelled to narrate his tales in few stanzas unlike other forms of literary creativity. My first encounter with Poetry was that of hate at first sight! I never imagined that I would one day mend fences with this genre of literature not to talk of loving it effortlessly.
Reading Sidi’s the Poet of Dust is one that is quite bewitching. The contemplation of whether to doubt or not to and the self–surrender of the Poet Personae through rascality to uncover certain phenomena as well as the spiritual self-attainment to the existence of the absolute is what has informed my review.
The Poet of Dust is set against the background of Sufism and the Dervishes of the Levant. Or simply put, it is a collection that is heavily rooted in the tradition of “Islamic mysticism and the role of the Sufi Order.”
The poet personae here becomes a Dervish and a Sufi isolated from the society while communicating his thoughts and experiences in Poetry to the audience in a combination of style and mastery. Many readers of this collection have often described Sidi as a “master Poet and a rascal”.
In fact, he deploys the nested story narrative technique; a sort of layers upon layers with symbolic characters who are themselves “the great geniuses”- propagating their “poetrylosophy” if I may craft the coinage.
As he expressed himself in an interview with Umezurike:
“To seek the transcendental, I immerse myself in the Pool of feeling which I imagine to be fluid, fully immersed I court delirium, ecstasy, hallucination, drunkenness, illumination and bliss. After emerging out of this Pool, I try to recount this experience on paper”.
Thus it can be seen that Sidi’s Poems as quoted, Umar Abubaka Sidi’s poems are products of obliterating his person to become one with the other through which he can express his thoughts. It is only when you are adorn in the garb of a Poet can you talk real Poetry. As the Dervishes and the Sufis we’re the early Poets to assume an independent identity in the Levant by turning inwards, Sidi took also on their identity to express his thoughts.
The Poets of Dust is set in the traditions of the early Poets of the Levant who obliterate their identities to communicate their experiences.
The opening poem is striking, as it shows a student vs masters of the art relationships as well as the restlessness of the Poet Personae. He illustrates this vividly in the Peninsula Poet:
Martin Espanda welcomed me with a slap
On my left cheek, he pulled my ear
And tossed me into the Academy of Poetry where Gogol
An ancient ape, the Peninsula’s poet laureate
Sat me up and taught me:
Hukku yyakku huhhu huk
The ABC of poetry & the 7 articles of a poet’s faith
(Pg3, 1ST Stanza, POD)
DARWISH led me through the absence of presence-(Line 4, Stanza 3; POD)
Umar Abubakar Sidi in this collection, defines Poetry as the genre that will remain after every book has gone extinct. Metaphorically, this can be likened to emphasizing that the “Quran” as the holy book authored by God Almighty to mankind and it therefore supersedes every other books and will so remain so until the end of time. In fact, when you hear the recitation of the holy book, the musicality and rhythm is something that remains marvelous; no one can explain it.
In the Testament of Sand, which is the heart of this entire collection and as so subtitle; Genesis or Book of God takes us back to the beginning of time when Adam was created and how Satan the cursed became the first witness to Majestic art of God. The word ARSHAD and the rhetorical quest to finding the meaning of ARSHAD, the invisibility of the letter or the code of ALIF, LAM, AYIN, RA, SIN, HA AL HAMZA what restlessness, what mad pursuit into the journey of Arcardy?
No one reads this collection without probing or investigating who the poet is. To read any of the poet’s works ie. Like Butterfly Scattered About by Art Rascals (Published by MASOBE, 2022) is to to study the Author/Poet, Umar Sidi Abubakar.
I want to sum this up by observing some of the thematic preoccupation of this collection.
First, the theme of Spirituality is obvious from start to finish. Poetry is a religion for the poet personae and only geniuses like Rumi Martin Espanda and all others mentioned therein have the capacity of making the poet a real poet.
Theme of restlessness. The poet personae is seen wondering around and about to fine and discover
The quest for knowledge and meaning is another important theme that Sidi explored in this collection.
In conclusion, this collection is a tribute to ancient poet laurels who were deep into the debt of knowledge, especially those who have master in Sufism.
Who should read this collection? The Poet of Dust is not for everyone. First, it appeals to those who wants a taste of good poetry. Secondly, the diction of this collection is age classified and should be read by those who truthfully understands it.
The book is highly recommended for lovers of the early Poems of the Levant.