I Am You

A Book of Poetry

Poetry - General
130 Pages
Reviewed on 07/22/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

I Am You: A Book of Poetry is a beautifully penned poetry collection by Osamase Ekhator. Divided into four parts, Ekhator's poems delve into every aspect of what it means to be a black male in America. Cool Kids Table of Malcolm recounts the story of a young boy standing up for himself in front of his crush in middle school. Virgin is about innocence, and how young black kids navigate their way through racism and adversity. Know My Name is a powerful statement about being unique to oneself regardless of the consequences. Rent Free is a poetic rant about one's lost love. To The League is a nostalgic look back at growing up with their friends. Hash Tag in Heaven is a striking critique of how black victims of police brutality often find themselves relegated to becoming a caption on social media.

A poignant and thought-provoking piece of work, I Am You is a fascinating glimpse into the living experience of a young black man in America. Osamase Ekhator leaves nothing out and lays bare his soul, drawing from personal experiences to craft some mesmerizing verses that stay in your mind long after you've finished reading. Some poems are traditionally structured, while others feel more experimental and post-modern in their organization. Ekhator's poems speak of lost love, religion, and systemic racism prevalent in contemporary America, painting a vivid picture of the aspects that impact a young black man's journey through life. If you're a poetry lover who appreciates well-incorporated social commentary, you shouldn't miss out on this gem.

Jennie More

I Am You by Osamase Ekhator is a collection of poems about a young boy's journey to becoming a man in America when you're black. This refreshing collection tells the story of this young boy's journey in school through dating, and into adulthood. He talks about his first love, A.M Erica, and another girlfriend, Nala, and their expectations, his family's expectations, and the world's or lack thereof of a young black man in America. All these different expectations and the negative stereotypes people have versus the hopes and dreams that his parents and grandparents have for black men. There is a stark contrast between the world's perception of black men and the black man's reality, and he is trying to make sense of his place in this world.

I Am You by Osamase Ekhator is an absorbing, bold, and insightful collection of poems, a display of admirable vulnerability that gives a preview into the mind, heart, and experiences of a black man in America. I was awe-struck by Ekhator's honesty in making sense of perplexing emotions and experiences. Some poems that stood out for me included The Bight (Nala & Cousin), Nala's Lesson, To The League, Hop in the Water and Pray that it Works. My favorite poem was Mr. Brown in Boston. His grandfather explains that after Brother Martin's assassination, Mr. James Brown continued to perform as a voice of peace, and he challenges him to be that voice. I Am You by Osamase Ekhator is an enlightening, profoundly thoughtful, and well-written book.

Maria Victoria Beltran

I Am You: A Book of Poetry is Osamase Ekhator's second book of poetry. The sixty poems center on love, religion, and social inequality. This exceptional collection consists of four chapters: Childhood ft. A.M. Erica, Black: Love It or Hate It, Live: Breaking, and Get Up. Osamase Ekhator captures life in America through the lens of a black man with all its eloquence, power, and peculiarities. Written in free verse, there is a certain musicality in the statements of the poems emphasized by the unique stanza and format utilized by the author as effective literary devices like In "Know My Name/For the neighbors to hear/let’s make an R&B song/I don’t care". The last line is repetitive with the succeeding lines being written from right to left.

Osamase Ekhator’s I Am You is in some ways a clash of pain and poetic form. I Am You might not convince you as a title but there is an embattled appeal here to which readers may find themselves drawn. The third chapter opens with Black Commandments. A piece of advice is given by an older brother to the author on how to be a man: "The almighty J-Hova once said/Me give my heart to a woman?/Never happen I'll be forever mackin". The poem ends by insisting there is no point in being a man because you’re already a god. This poem and some others are flamboyant in content, but its technique serves as healing. One of the reasons why this collection is a very compelling read.

Astrid Iustulin

Some poetry collections describe reality without filters. For this reason, they deserve all the attention that a reader can give to significant texts like these. I Am You is Osamase Ekhator's second poetry collection and includes 60 poems that tell what it means to be a Black man in America. By dealing with issues such as relationships and social inequality, I Am You will show you the author's thoughts on these themes and will make you reflect on the situations he describes in the poems, thanks to his original way of writing.

I Am You is a collection that will leave its mark. Osamase Ekhator has found a way to describe what is dear to him in words that cannot fail to impress those who read his poems. The choice of words and expressions is such that readers will immediately understand the topic and message, and the layout of the pages is also very significant - more than in any other book I have read until now. I liked how Ekhator chose the disposition of the most important words to strike the sensibility of the reader. This happens very often in the book, but I think the best example is Go Back to Africa, where the words are arranged in such a way as to represent the continent. I believe that all readers who are interested in the themes Ekhator deals with in these poems will realize their impact, so I highly recommend reading I Am You to them.

Michaela Gordoni

I Am You by Osamase Ekhator is a reflection of an American Black man’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences. It is written from a deeply personal perspective; the poems within are not meant to be relatable to everyone. In a way, it is Osamase Ekhator’s diary of poems. The poems range from reflections of his time in school and childhood to subjects of romance, religion, and relationships. A lot of them highlight social injustice. The collection of poems has variety, and many are not written in the same styles. I Am You also includes bits of images throughout and even a song written by the author. It also features poems about grief, and many of the poems give reference to “A.M. Erica,” creatively referring to America as if “she” were a person.

I love to see Black voices shine in all formats but it is especially insightful to hear one come through in the power of poetry. My favorite poem in I Am You is perhaps the briefest and is titled “A Missing Shadow.” It is about Osamase Ekhator's memory of looking into a large history book and finding very few people that looked like him. A few words can say a lot, and “A Missing Shadow” certainly does. I thought this was an enlightening book of poetry designed for adult readers. Osamase Ekhator has a powerful voice and a creative mind that I believe many people will want to pay attention to. I appreciated the opportunity to read his thoughts and feelings.