The Sunday Mail
Adolescence can be a nightmare. The transition to adulthood is often not easy. As teens try to figure themselves out, there is need for intervention at various levels, and literature can play a major role in giving them helpful pointers. Although teen culture these days is shaped by social media and popular television perceptions, books still play an integral part in educating.
Francis Emson Dakwa is among the poets who have been using their talent as a tool to assist in this regard.
A senior lecturer in Special Needs Education at Great Zimbabwe University, Dakwa’s poetry reflects on developmental phycology, human problems and their existence.
His new anthology, “Poems for Teens”, explores various needs of teenagers, artistically weaving various scenarios which they encounter.
The 50 poems shed light on teens’ need for love, independence and parental guidance among other things. The author depicts adolescence as a turbulent period in which youngsters query about life, love, sickness, and the desire to achieve.
The children in these narratives graduate from adolescence to adulthood, needing role models among peers and adults to assist them. At the same time, the poet aptly describes the children’s need for fun, so they can face life with dignity and enrichment.
The anthology is subdivided into five themes: Our Happiness, Our Needs, On HIV and AIDS, Our Problems and Our Views.
In these narratives, young people are calling for recognition and communication with the outside world, which includes parents, siblings and friends. But at the same time, they want the world to understand their teenage identity and not disturb their freedoms and peace.
This is not Dakwa’s first book, he has written two other anthologies; “Poems for the Young” and “Poems for Couples”.
“Poems for the Young” also consists of 50 poems that are dedicated to children from age zero to 12.
The author’s lovely prose is a mirror of how young children express themselves as they share their joys, expectations and sorrows. The poems are thematically displayed and present vivid interactions of the children and of the community around them.
In “Poems for Couples”, the poet chronicles lovers’ journeys from courtship through to marriage. The lovers depicted in these moving poems express their love for each other in honest, earnest and indeed ecstatic language.
However, in so doing, they also reveal to the reader that love is not always a bed of roses. Problems often arise, needing correction and the attention of each one of them and as children are introduced to their love and marriage, how does the couple cope?
The lovers’ interactions in these poems are a true reflection of the stages undergone by a great many of us, as we delve deeper into the realities of love, marriage and life. Dakwa’s work is not just entertainment but constructive as well, exploring all aspects of families from toddlers to parents.
His latest offering — “Poems for Teenagers” — is a great read for young people who are still on the journey to adulthood.