Reading poetry can sometimes feel like taking a journey through the sound and form of language. But when poetry itself becomes about travel, something magical happens.

Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún’s debut poetry collection, titled Edwardsville By Heart, is just that: a magical meeting place of travelogue, memoir, and poetry.

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The poems are essentially travel stories crafted out of recollections of the three years he lived in Edwardsville, teaching Yoruba as a Fulbright scholar at Southern Illinois University.

Túbọ̀sún is well-known as a linguist and works as a lexicographical advisor for Oxford University Press Dictionaries while studying for PhD in Linguistics at the University of Ìbàdàn.

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This passion for language transcends a scholarly interest in the science of words and meaning. It frames his poetry and accounts for the fascinating things he does with form and texture.

As Nigerian poet Chris Abani points out, Túbọ̀sún’s writing has a Yoruba texture that gives the poems in the collection a distinct “linguistic flavor.”

The poems are as much about traveling in a foreign land as they are about home and the deeply personal journey that connects the two.

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