The poet as town-crier in a nation in conflict: Okigbo's and Ojaide's poetry

Title: The poet as town-crier in a nation in conflict: Okigbo's and Ojaide's poetry
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2014, vol. 40, iss. 2, pp. [5]-26
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

The postmodern/contemporary society is besieged by issues of difference in ideology, personality, sexuality, ethnicity, economy, socialisation, identity, culture, religion and many more. These issues often result into intolerance, terrorism and conflicts. The roots of these issues of difference are in resistance to cultural/ethnic superiority, political domination, and economic control as well as religious purity. These issues of conflict are fluid, spreading like 'bushfire' from one area to another, sometimes resisting interventions through round-table negotiation, thus requiring other forms of reconciliation that must move beyond political analyses. This paper examines how poetry is used as an art of caution in imminent conflict and an act of reconciliation through appropriation of words. To this end, some selected poems of Christopher Okigbo and Tanure Ojaide are assessed to provide insights. Adopting a thematic approach within the apparatus of Postcontact argument of Françoise Lionnet, this study examines how Okigbo's hybridization of Christian religious expression and Ojaide's African traditional mythology raise awareness about looming crises and respond to issues of cultural/social conflicts. However, their poems move beyond culture to man's conscious and unconscious relationship with God and environment. In other words, the intention is to show how the poet as a mediator plays the role of a traditional watchdog or alarmist ("town-crier") and reconciles man to God and his environment.
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