‘Ode to Delirium’: social issues as poetry

Georgia State student Oluwatemilorn Enemuwe spent her quarantine writing a book to express her innermost feelings about the pandemic and racism. Photo Submitted by Oluwatemilorn Enemuwe

Oluwatemilorn Enemuwe, a sophomore at Georgia State, decided that she would not be spending her time in quarantine being unproductive. Instead, she took all the feelings she repressed and expressed them via a poem book published in December 2020. 

The book “Ode to Delirium” is a tribute to Enemuwe’s feelings of loneliness and isolation during the pandemic. The book also touches on pressing topics such as racial injustice, anxiety and depression. 

“I wrote this book last year,” she said. “I’ve always loved writing, and I’ve always felt like a good writer. I wrote a little every day until I had a product I wanted to publish.” 

The book features a collection of poems written in a confessional style, telling stories personal to Enemuwe. Each one has a different theme, and the poems work to describe the feelings of life like a rollercoaster of ups and downs. 

Enemuwe writes in a way that allows for satirical laughs while also bringing the audience a thoughtful look at life through a college student’s eyes during a pandemic. 

“This book of poems carefully crafts a delicate balance between sweet and bitter humor,” Enemuwe said. “I think this is a book that matches the current tone of society: sad but hopeful.”

Apart from the actual poems themselves, the book also features a collection of drawings from Enemuwe’s friend Tasnim Chowdhury, a native of Sydney, Australia. The two worked together to create the book during quarantine, working long nights and sharing laughs while writing it. 

As Enemuwe’s mother is Nigerian and her father is Australian, the young author spends most of her life traveling between the U.S., Nigeria and Australia. These experiences rounded her into the person she is today and molded her writing style to fit several different cultures. 

“Last year was just really intense,” she said. “I wanted to write about all the things I was feeling. One of the poems I wrote was called ‘Being Black,’ and I just feel like it captures a lot of how I was experiencing movements such as Black Lives Matter.” 

Enemuwe feels that these poems could be beneficial to Georgia State students because many of the writings resonate with today’s youth. College-aged students often deal with anxiety, stress, depression and trying to find a sense of belonging. Enemuwe’s poems touch on all of these topics. 

When the book was first published, Enemuwe expressed feeling terrified that so many people would be reading her inner-most thoughts. However, these feelings subsided when she realized that her writing might help those who felt as she did. 

“I feel like reading these poems might be helpful for a lot of people. Many people feel like they are not enough, and I just want to let them know through my writing that it’s okay. There isn’t anything to worry about, and it’s going to be okay,” Enemuwe said.