New Nigerian Poetry

Meanwhile, across the ocean, a group of African poets is attempting to secure reputations outside its native land. Nigeria’s political upheavals throughout the ’90s, its military governments and the too-little publicized tragedy of the execution of environmental activist Ken Saro Wiwa, suggest a chaotic society of silenced or stillborn voices, but publisher Ishmael Reed discovers consistent literary activity. Twenty-Five New Nigerian Poets collects these voices into a small but thoroughly enjoyable volume. These Nigerian wordsmiths write an English transformed by their indigenous experiences and oral literature.
„Like a cloud, like a shroud/ In a grim, blurred dream/ Came the drift in my mind/ The images and hush memories/ Of this wobbly, goblin year/ Now astride the path to the past,“ writes Abubakar Othman in „This Year.“ There is little in this book that could be thought of as shrill protest poetry, and even the darkest poems have a strange, mythic beauty. / Washington Post 10.3.02

25 NEW NIGERIAN POETS. Edited by Toyin Adewale. Ishmael Reed. 67 pp. Paperback, $9.95

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