Bassey Ikpi has been referred to as Nigerian’s best poetry secret.
Incase you’re not familiar with her work, Bassey has been telling stories since the 90’s when she was part of the inaugural group of poets who told stories about black life as part of HBO’s poetry Def Jam. She is also a New York Times bestseller, recognition she received for her brutally honest but resonant debut essay collection, I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying.
She’s without a doubt an active voice in the mental health community. She has been open about being diagnosed with a Mood disorder – Bipolar II some years before she started writing, she prioritizes conversations around mental health. She postulates that conversations, be it professional or shared conversations amongst community members, needs to happen. So she started an initiative for the African American community on the importance of Mental health, called #NoShameDay, to normalise conversations surrounding Black mental health with a goal to reduce stigma.
Recently, she premiered exclusively on Audible a new audiobook, titled HOME RARELY FEELS LIKE THIS. Bassey as a well-known mental health advocate jars us back to life, spelling a candid testament & portrayal of mental health & oftentimes the stigma surrounding it.
This 1 hour & 23-minute long memoir is an honest-to-God rendition of the journey one takes with a declining mental health viz a viz trying to live a normal enough life. Be ready to be sucked into a gut-wrenching, brave & pulsating web of poignant narratives.
Her calm & steady voice guides listeners through the gentle tide of her emotions. You can tell that the aim of this audiobook is to push a consciousness of clarity & relatability, where you can see her, feel the emotions seeping through the book and envision pensively what reality seems like for someone just going through life with a debilitating mental illness.
Bassey Ikpi is excellent at mirroring her reality of dealing with a mood disorder to create a safe space for others to feel & speak their truth, her essays are a lesson in empathy & resilience. So if you’re looking to read something unflinchingly honest, vulnerable, evocative, literal, lyrical, fast-paced, heartbreaking & utterly engrossing, you definitely wouldn’t be able to put this down/pause this audiobook.