Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Unravelling the Poetry of Sisterhood in Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu’s ‘Sister’

Sister” is an evocative and emotionally charged poetry collection by Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu, a Nigerian poet and essayist. The collection delves into various themes, including sisterhood, identity, family dynamics, emotional struggles, and the complexities of human relationships. Through vivid imagery, emotive language, and raw vulnerability, Nuhu weaves a tapestry of experiences that resonate deeply with readers. This critical literary analysis aims to explore the themes, imagery, language, and emotions depicted in “Sister,” providing a comprehensive understanding of the collection’s impact and significance.

At the core of “Sister,” Nuhu explores the theme of sisterhood and the bonds that tie women together. Through powerful poems like “TONIGHT” and “PORTRAIT OF A SISTER AS A SISTER,” the poet examines the complexities and nuances of female relationships. In “TONIGHT,” Nuhu presents an intimate portrayal of love, sisterhood, and vulnerability. The speaker’s heart swelters with love for her people, expressing a profound connection to her inner circle. The imagery of an empty room signifies the emptiness experienced when love is not reciprocated, echoing the sense of longing and emotional pain that can accompany sisterly love.

In “PORTRAIT OF A SISTER AS A SISTER,” Nuhu explores the multifaceted nature of sisterly relationships. The poem portrays the complexities of the speaker’s interactions with her brother, unveiling the struggle to comprehend and communicate with a loved one in pain. Nuhu skillfully weaves imagery of films and memories, juxtaposing the brightness and darkness of her brother’s self with the turmoil of their present relationship. This poem delves into the emotional terrain of sibling dynamics, emphasizing the importance of understanding and empathy in nurturing familial bonds.

The poems in “Sister” delve into the intricacies of emotional struggles, unveiling the internal conflicts faced by the speaker. In “UNRAVELING,” Nuhu explores the aftermath of a wedding party, where the speaker witnesses her brother’s emotional turmoil. The imagery of dancing and the use of dance steps as metaphors depict the speaker’s attempts to cope with her brother’s pain. The poem touches on themes of self-harm and the challenges of helping a loved one battling addiction and depression. Nuhu’s use of vivid imagery and emotive language evokes a profound sense of empathy, highlighting the complexity of supporting someone in distress.

“Sister” also examines cultural identity and heritage, reflecting the poet’s Nigerian roots and experiences. In “AND SHE GLIDES AND GLIDES,” the speaker encounters a woman in a club, sharing a sense of cultural familiarity through dance. The poem captures the power of shared experiences and traditions as the speaker and the woman connect through music and dance. The imagery of shared wind and recognizing a familiar dance style emphasizes the strength of cultural bonds that transcend borders and unite people.

Identity and culture play pivotal roles in “Sister.” Nuhu delves into the experience of living between different worlds, navigating the intersections of her cultural heritage and the complexities of contemporary life. In “PORTRAIT OF A SISTER AS A SISTER,” the speaker grapples with the weight of a city’s trauma and its impact on her relationship with her brother. This poem embodies the struggles of reconciling cultural expectations with individual identity and the challenges of understanding and supporting a loved one amidst collective hardships.

A recurrent theme in “Sister” is the struggle to express emotions and communicate effectively. In “WHY?” the speaker questions their actions and inability to fully understand and support a loved one, leading to guilt and remorse. The poem reflects on past actions and missed opportunities for connection, evoking a sense of self-blame and longing for understanding. Nuhu’s use of raw imagery and emotive language powerfully conveys the speaker’s internal turmoil, highlighting the complexities of human relationships.

The poet also explores the path to healing and redemption. In “THE FIRST RULE OF RESCUE,” the speaker reflects on their father’s protective and loving actions, recognizing them as a model for their own attempts to save their brother. The poem celebrates the transformative power of love and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of challenges.

In the captivating drapery of emotions, experiences, and reflections woven by Hauwa in “Sister,” the themes of sisterhood, identity, emotional struggles, and cultural connections intertwine to create a profound understanding of human relationships. Nuhu’s masterful use of vivid imagery and emotive language draws readers into the depths of her poetry, eliciting empathy and introspection. “Sister” emerges as an exploration of the complexities of love, pain, healing, and redemption, leaving an indelible mark on its readers. Through her evocative verses, Nuhu invites us to explore the intricate threads of sisterhood, the struggles of expression and communication, the significance of cultural identity, and the transformative power of love. “Sister” becomes not only a poetry collection but a profound journey into the human heart and soul, resonating with readers far beyond the pages.


Ibraheem Uthman is the author of the poetry collection “Mind of a Bard”, a two-time recipient of the National Library Prize and the secretary of the Northern Writers Forum (NWF). Although he majors in the sciences, he considers himself first and foremost an artist who the mechanics of literature and art inspired in general. In his spare time, he enjoys reading & writing poetry, programming, and contributing to open-source technology. His writings have been published and are forthcoming in various literary magazines and journals. He takes great pride in belonging to the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *