Nigeria

The Poetry of Soccer Commentary

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My first interpretative encounter with poetry began with Niyi Osundare’s ecopoetics in the poem “Ours to Plough Not to Plunder,” included as one of several works to study for the year’s pre-university exam. But it was William Wordsworth definition of poetry, which I came across in an English lecture on the subject of British Romanticism […]

Let there be no death

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Ganaja sits at the mouth of the river. As some arrived on one boat, other people prepared to begin their journey across the river on another. A few unoccupied boats sat side by side at the river bank. It was on a Friday afternoon. The place bustled like a typical motor park in any part […]

Looking Through Ẹlẹ́ṣin’s Hourglass

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Or How to Render Metaphysics in Film There is now the quartet, in film, of Ernst Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal), Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter), Cary Joji Fukunaga (James Bond, No Time to Die) and Biyi Bándélé, (Ẹlẹ́ṣin Ọba), who in my opinion, have brought something special to the understanding of the human condition, […]

Are God’s Children Little Broken Things?

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In writing the nine stories in God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, Arinze Ifeakandu spent time with each character, keenly observing, asking the right questions, and learning their pleasure, history, joy, and rage. He delicately brought them to life in shops, clubs, bedrooms, and in the streets as they moved through spaces in their unapologetic […]

The Happiest People on Earth

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We are H-A-P-P-Y We are H-A-P-P-Y We know we are We are sure we are We are H-A-P-P-Y Happppppy! I I come from the country Of the Happiest People on earth, Where death sells at ten for one kobo And the Living envy the peace Of the hastily dispatched. Living every day on the edge […]

 Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike’s Double Wahala

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In Nigerian popular culture, ‘double wahala’ is a Pidgin English phrase that was made popular by ace Afrobeat musician and activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. To repeat it by adding ‘double trouble,’ the English variant  emphasizes the severity of the troubles. Nigerian literature has repeatedly featured the disorder and troubles that characterized postcolonial Nigerian life. Double […]

Questions for My Ailing Country

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A young police officer is standing with a woman I assume to be his mother. She is praying for him loudly, at a major junction on the streets of a Lagos suburb; speaking in tongues unashamedly while passers-by stare, some in admiration, others, not so much. The young force personnel is shy, hiding his face […]

A Nigerian Poet’s Dangerous Amorous Episodes

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In the traditions that established earlier voices in modern Africa poetry, sociopolitical maladies have remained an arch theme. In the words of Omafune Onoge, what rocks African poetry most is the crisis of consciousness. And it is expected. Given the social political terrain of postcolonial Africa and the disillusionment that followed. Most African poets, ranging […]

Where Are the 287 Poets Contesting the 2022 NLNG Prize for Literature?

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Let us start with a confession — mine, at least: I don’t know where the poets are. Or I don’t read them because I hardly hear their names and haven’t seen their books, because no one is reviewing them in magazines or talking about them, not even at a gathering of writers drinking beer. Or […]

Where Is Our Government?

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“We have a lot of insecurity in Nigeria. By road we are not safe. By train we are not safe”. (From a survivor of the Abuja-Kaduna Train bomb; Mon., March 28, 2022) Too many ills do a nation kill Ills just as many as the corpses That clutter every gutter Of our callously mis-governed country […]