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Adam by Gboyega Odubanjo
Poetry Book Society Recommendation Autumn 2024

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‘On 21 September 2001, the torso of a black boy was discovered in the River Thames, near Tower Bridge in central London, clothed only in an orange pair of girls’ shorts. Given the name “Adam” by police officers, the unidentified boy was between four and eight years old. What comes next cannot without a story of water and offering. The sun shines and we gather because the river allows it. Na from clap dem dey enter dance. We enter with, and as, Adam.’ – Gboyega Odubanjo

Haunted by the discovery of the remains of a young Black boy in the River Thames in London, 2001, Gboyega Odubanjo’s Adam builds from the Genesis myth and from Yoruba culture to examine with an unflinching eye the disappearance of a child and its implication for all Black lives, and for the society in which we live.

Praise for Adam:

‘Odubanjo’s Adam simultaneously explores beginnings and endings/the ends, birth, death, the made and unmade. Drenched in religious ceremony and allegory, haunted by British and Nigerian colonial history and enlivened with Yoruba myths; all constructions of the poet’s East London manor-made sound, syntax and perspective. Think of Fred Moten’s theologies, D. S. Marriott’s Duppies, Fela Kuti’s Zombie and Puck’s mischievous dialogue in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Here is a heavy, mystical, humorous and lyrical Black British voice that will live forever.’
Raymond Antrobus

‘Adam is a watery chorus, spirited and kinetic. These poems crackle with love and risk, submerging us into rivers, backstreets, bedrooms, playgrounds, and other underworlds. They stride, swagger, linger, nudging under the skin. Odubanjo was a singular voice in British poetry, one which will endure. Adam is his full-throated legacy.’
Momtaza Mehri

‘A poetry collection of deep reverence, offering moments to mourn, and moments to celebrate life. Gboyega’s gift in storytelling probes and interrogates, drawing attention to much-needed conversations, past and present. Adam is an anticipated debut, from a poet rooted in community. A poet whose name and charm will continue to live in our hearts and minds for generations.’
Yomi Sode

Published 4th July 2024 by Faber.

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