Book Review: Becoming A Whisper by Joe Odey

Becoming A Whisper is a full-length collection of poetry by Joe Odey, and left me with all of the feels. Rating: 5/5. 

In his first full-length poetry collection, Joe Odey takes us on an absolutely exhilarating journey through a myriad of emotions from the first page turn all through to the end. Each poem feels like a story, channeling your emotions with as few words as possible and helping you bring meaning to feelings you have always had bubbling under the surface. This collection weaves its way thematically through emotions we can all connect with – love, loss, heartbreak, death, exhilaration, triumph, commitment, rebellion, regret, nostalgia, despair, loneliness and renewed hope. At times, it almost feels like a conversation with one’s self…gently pondering the things that your heart holds dear and finding that, in the end, the whispers from your heart have all the answers you’ve been longing for.

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I have always enjoyed poetry in its many forms. Reading it, listening to it, writing it. To me, there are no rules to poetry, though some believe you must rhyme or follow a certain count. When I am the most caught up in my feelings, especially the negative ones, I turn to a book of poems. It’s like taking a look into someone else’s mind, or opening up someone’s diary. I find the most intimate parts of people have been left on these pages.

I find it harder to review poetry than books, because it’s such a subjective opinion. With a book, there’s an arc and a plot, and character development to base an opinion on. With poetry, these are standalone works of art that are either appreciated or not. Joe Odey does a beautiful job with his collection of poetry in “Becoming A Whisper”. I found each emotion under the rainbow detailed inside, and each was written in a way that left you feeling it with him.

Stylistically speaking, Becoming A Whisper is the way I like my poems to be. They’re not too long, each telling their own beautiful story. They’re captivating, immersive, and relatable. One of my favorites, was “The Loudest Whisper”.

She embraced silence
Not because she had nothing to say.
No. Far from it!
She embraced silence
Because the world wasn’t ready
For what she had to say.

As I look at my copy, I see several pages with little post-it note flags, reminding me to come back and re-read them when I am having one of my days where I am caught up in some feelings. To me, that is how I guage how to review poetry. The impression it leaves on me. So, I would consider Becoming A Whisper to be a winner.

Author Bio:

Joe Odey is a Nigerian-born poet who lives in Lagos, Nigeria. He has independently published two poetry collections; a chapbook titled “Everything I Didn’t Say” (2017) and a full-length poetry collection titled “Becoming A Whisper” (2018). He is an Engineer and is happily married with two daughters.

Rating: 5 star book review

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