Theresa Lola

Ceremony for the Nameless

Ceremony for the Nameless


In Yoruba culture, newborn babies are welcomed into the world, and ushered into the social fabric, through naming ceremonies filled with songs of praise. The names bestowed are communicative both of where the baby has come from – the circumstances of its birth, the atmosphere in the home – and of where its future will take it. Both are forms of destiny.

Far-reaching and musical, Theresa Lola’s second collection explores the act of naming and its role in shaping our identities, our aspirations, what we carry and how we belong. Lola conjures and questions the realities of her dual Nigerian-British identity; traces the lineages of names; asks why some deserve to be named while others are treated as though invisible; and explores the ways our journey through life might require us to cast off old expectations – both others’ and our own – just as at other times it can bring us back, strangely and unexpectedly, to where we first began.

In lyrical, joyful and moving poems, Lola breaks down the complexities of the diasporic experience and the way it is woven through family life, history and memory. Ceremony for the Nameless is an exquisite collection from a thrilling contemporary voice, described as among “the ranks of an exciting new wave of young female bards who are widening the appeal of poetry for a new generation” (Sunday Times Style Magazine).