Poetry

Heat

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i damage you─ beautifully. late evening nurse. i come with a bloodless adze, glucose meter & a satchel full of thermometers & ice packs. i put my fingers in your mouth & record your temperature. i detect everything; the hot breath of roof pressing heavily against your knee & quiet volcano in the compression of […]

mettle

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today, i am the little crow that gloom has nothing against. lightning bugs find a home under my nails. i choose life, untethered from the clasp of time & existence. the art of living is not so hard to learn. there is beauty in the ephemeral. re-see these familiar elements. embrace the inalienable order of […]

Cloudburst in Jakande

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stormy eid. rain washes the dua off our tongues. old central mosque brimming with bodies the brown of archipelago barks. i witness a crippled boy bum-walk a blind man to the front row of the saf’. & my guilt puckers beneath my skin. cracks in the rusted zinc-roof which used to pour sunlight into the […]

Ní Ayé Mìíràn

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Ní ayé mìíràn mo fẹ́ jẹ́ bàbá láì fojú sunkún àwọn ọmọ mi, láì ní ìrírí ètùtù wíwo àwọn ọmọ mi padà sílé bíi ara tí wọ́n kákò bíi ẹní-ìkírun, láì lo awọn alẹ́ mi pẹ̀lú wọn láti máa sọ ìtàn ìlú tí onílé ti ń di àjòjì tí wọ́n ń wá ibùgbé. Mo fẹ́ […]

The Nigeria Prize 2022: Garlands for New Blood

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If it wasn’t obvious enough that the leading poetic voices on the continent now belong to a new generation of writers bred in the jungles of the internet and raised in the angst of 21st-century dilemmas and preoccupations, the new NLNG prize shortlist has made it clearer. The three writers currently on the shortlist — […]

Saddiq Dzukogi’s Poetics of Grief

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Martin Heidegger in The Origin of the Work of Art describes language as “home of being.” He also describes poetry as a form with powers to disclose “being.” Saddiq Dzukogi’s collection of poems, Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press, 2021), which is occasioned by the death of his daughter, Baha, wades through a […]

Bridge Across the Sea

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 (When words paddle  their way from  English to Korean) A new 240-page book containing the Korean translation of  a selection of  my  poems found its way into my hands a couple of  weeks ago – after waiting for six months in the parcels vault of the Nigerian post office. Long-coming but enthusiastically embraced.  An ample, […]

Bilateral Love Affair

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I love my country. But America Courts me — the man with everything. I love my country: Dark, Black, Gold Yellow teeth & a hunger for me: My country with its abundant rains That loves us to death. I love my country. But America Is big everywhere: Texas. McDonald’s. Starbucks. America Sephora, Walmart, IKEA, The […]

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 […]

The Life of a Poet

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In 2011, Dami Ajayi successfully completed his first collection of poems, Clinical Blues, and it marked for him, the completion of an epiphany which began in 2007, when as a young medical student, a new vision of the world caught up with him. This new vision afforded him the clarity to see the world afresh […]