While I don’t get into the more triggering material in this review, the arrival of rain includes material about war, gun violence, child death, parental abandonment, semi-explicit sexual scenes, references to assault and racism.
It’s been a while since I got this particular book of poetry, but the anecdote around me getting it is still worth sharing. Adedayo Agarau shared a piece of poetry from it and linked the purchase link for the arrival of rain, which was retweeted onto my timeline, and – well, I love poetry, and I know that when I see something that grabs at me IMMEDIATELY, I want to buy the book. So I went to buy it.
And found out that it did not ship to Canada.
I usually don’t stress too much about this. It’s annoying, sure. But this time around, I actually went to the trouble of getting a friend to buy it and ship it up to Canada for me, because I WANTED this book! (Thank you very much to the friend in question, haha.) I was well rewarded, because the arrival of rain is phenomenally gorgeous. Agarau’s poetry is heavily visual and imagistic, criss-crossing religious concepts with those of the body and trauma, grief howling behind free verse.
It’s hard to pick out favourite poems. Each functions as a snapshot (some are actually titled as portraits) but a few definitely stick out. “i will one day grow to love you with my presence” is a standout (see quote below),
i am still the screamer & the voice. the echo that never made it home. i am still the shadow of a whole body or perhaps, the song dying along the pews of the cathedral. i am still the one with a pungent mouth. do not remind me that i am from a lineage of men who do not wait.“i will one day grow to love you with my presence”, adedayo agarau, the arrival of rain pg.21
Visually, the book is also a treat. With a gorgeous and lush cover and a typeface that feels both readable (for me, anyway; I can’t comment on readability for others) and artful, it’s worth owning! I also really appreciate Agarau’s use of slashes and backslashes to shape his words, making every paragraph, period, etc. very deliberate on the page. Some imagist poetry can feel gimmicky (it’s a poem about a bird, in the shape of a bird!) but the imagism here is more abstract, more about the flow of each word to the next.
the arrival of rain is published by vegetarian alcoholic press; check it out over here!
An excerpt from “the wooden cross is enough prayer” is used as an epigraph in Ghosts in Quicksilver: Book Two: Sulfur, with permission from Adedayo Agarau.