15. The Third Wave

Wie anderswo haben es auch in Nigeria neue Stimmen schwer. Obu Udeozo, Dichter, Maler und Klinischer Psychologe an der Universität Jos (Nigeria) veröffentlichte ein Buch über die „Dritte Welle der nigerianischen Lyrik“ unter dem Titel  „Gardeners of Dream“ (Traumgärtner). In einem Interview mit McPhilips Nwachukwu in der Zeitschrift Vanguard sprach er darüber, wie erschrocken er über die Widerstände war und wie sehr die jungen Poeten unter den Maßstäben von Klassikern wie  Christopher Okigbo (1932-1967), Wole Soyinka (* 1934) und John Pepper Clark (* 1935) untergebuttert wurden:

I was worried at first – then later alarmed by what I witnessed. There was a reluctance by the Establishment to validate the new voices in our literary firmament.

In Nigeria poetry lots of new works were being published but did not seem to fetch the respect or recognition that will turn them into cultural products in the long term. Simply put; I wondered who was going to save the worlds of Uche Nduka, Ogaga Ifowodo, Esiaba Irobi, Amatoristero Ede, Remi Raji, Izzia Ahmad and say Promise Ogochukwu Okekwe … who were releasing works that accurately portrayed their own seasons: but with a near tragic backdrop!

Constantly, I noticed that the authorities in the field kept evaluating these young persons with other critical parameters and values totally different from their world view and experience. The monotonous comparison with Okigbo, Soyinka and Clark – kept being invoked against the performance of these youth- regardless of what they were saying and against the source of their inspirations.

Great scholars lent stature and prestige to such conversations. And because of my own preparation and familiarity across other forms of the creative process; I easily saw the shortcomings of that kind of mindset- and where it was dragging Nigeria literature.

I decided to do something about this by volunteering to document the emergent poetry by the usual métier of critical appraisal across time. I think it was Monet who said that he wanted to turn Impressionism into the art of the Museums. He was aware the new art form was different from the establishment taste of 19thCentury French official art. I desired for the kind of Nigeria poetry which has the stamp of our national experience – as a biological community of men – with advancing and varied experiences over time!


The Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka had described theirs as a ‚wasted generation‘. For the Third Wave of Nigeria Writers, the malaise had deteriorated more grossly and perhaps more hopelessly. It was as if, Life itself had stopped: only to continue in DREAMS. Thus: Gardeners of Dreams.

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