Poetry

Orality, Nostalgic Sensitivity and Cultural Nationalism in According to Sources

By Nureni Ibrahim 


  • Title: According to Sources 
  • Editors: Martin Egblewogbe and Mawuli Adjei
  • Publisher: Woeli Publishing Services
  • Number of pages: 85
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

‘For the African people, oral tradition is linked to their way of life. Most African societies place great worth in oral tradition because it is a primary means of conveying culture. It is also a mode of transmitting feelings and attitudes. For centuries, African people depended upon oral tradition to teach the listeners important traditional values and morals pertaining to how to live. Oral tradition delivers explanations to the mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life on earth’. – Sharon Wilson, ‘African Oral Tradition’

According to Sources is an anthology of poems by Ghanaian poets. It engages the reader on the themes of cultural nationalism, nostalgic sensitivity and the underlying principles of orality in postcolonial literature. The anthology is a projection of African customs and traditions. The poems are not only models of African culture, they also build a bridge between the precolonial and postcolonial African identities. ‘Libation of Blood’ and ‘Abracadabra Adabraka’ are two poems that treat precolonial and colonial African experiences and identities.

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Martyrdom and Immortality in the Poems of Ogaga Ifowodo

By Ekemini Pius


  • Title: A Good Mourning
  • Author: Ogaga Ifowodo
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 78
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Poetry

A Good Mourning is a great attempt by Ogaga Ifowodo to immortalise people and events that have shaped history. With his superb ability in using imagery, he reopens old wounds and unearths the works of people who sacrificed themselves to make our world a better place. More…

The Modern African Woman in Francine Simon’s Thungachi

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Thungachi
  • Author: Francine Simon
  • Publisher: uHlanga Press
  • Number of pages: 63
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Poetry

‘You have to read my poetry to understand my culture better and how complicated it is. I also had a lot of influence from the schools I went to. I was competing with the cultural effects of school and cultural effects of home, so I feel like I have mixed influences’. – Francine Simon

As a poet and a PhD candidate in the Department of English, Stellenbosch University, Francine Simon certainly has her fingers in more than one pie. Born in Durban in 1990 to Indian Catholic parents, Simon is ‘one of South Africa’s most unexpectedly excellent poetic débutantes’. Her poems are famous in South Africa and she is widely published in South African literary journals such as New Contrast, New Coin, and Aerodrome. More…

The Pursuit of Happiness

By Timi Odueso


  • Title: feeling and ugly
  • Author: Danai Mupotsa
  • Publisher: impepho press
  • Number of pages: 70
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Poetry

I want to dream of love that is tempestuous
That doesn’t come to me from behind
With badly formed cleverness and brokenness… (p 61)

In recent times, the art of poetry has become a symposium for sciolism, to wit, superficial pretension to knowledge. Modern-day writers have taken it upon themselves to re-invent the forms and structures of poetry, to create scribbles they title ‘Modern Poetry’. Often characterised by irregular sentences and non-existent rhythm or pattern, such poems are frequently written by writers who would rather impress than express, and thus they end up using big words and complex sentences instead of simple, short ones; for instance, ‘superfragalisticexpialidocious’ instead of ‘fantastic’, or ‘discombobulated’ instead of ‘confused’. More…

Poems of Authorial Expressivity, Realism and Ecocriticism

By Nureni Ibrahim 


  • Title: Fire Drought Water
  • Author: Christine Coates
  • Publisher: Damselfly Books
  • Number of pages: 65
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Poetry

One kind of poetry that resonates with readers is the one that recounts the lived experiences of the poet. How believable the words on a page are can make a collection more alluring, that is if the poems are constructed not from imagination or mere hearsay but, rather, from personal experiences. A number of African poetry volumes – Niyi Osundare’s Tender Moments: Love Poems, a collection of poems about the poet’s experiences with Hurricane Katrina in the United States, and Wole Soyinka’s A Shuttle in the Crypt, a collection that depicts the poet’s imprisonment in Nigeria and revolves around the theme of inhuman isolation – have sourced their inspiration from lived experiences. More…

Personal and Social Beliefs in Jijana’s Failing Maths and My Other Crimes

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Failing Maths and My Other Crimes
  • Author: Thabo Jijana
  • Publisher: uHlanga Press
  • Number of pages: 65
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

Every literary work has the ability to depict certain experiential realities. This is because writers are embodiments of both personal and social experiences; hence, in their works, they portray the past-cum-immediate sensibilities of their age. In this regard, Thabo Jijana’s Failing Maths and My Other Crimes is a concise depiction of his personal beliefs and the social beliefs of his time. More…

Live Life before You Leave It

By Omotola Otubela


  • Title: Matric Rage
  • Author: Genna Gardini
  • Publisher: uHlanga Publishers
  • Number of pages: 88
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

‘Trust the fact that it is alright for you to be telling your story if it is not hurting anyone who did not hurt you in the first place. In addition, I think that when you write something, you need to hear what it sounds like to see if it works. If you do not hear the rhythm of it then it’s dead. It’s flat’. – Genna Gardini

Genna Gardini won the 2012 DALRO New Coin Poetry Prize. She was also chosen as one of Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2013. Her plays, WinterSweet (2012) and Scrape (2013), both won the Standard Bank Ovation Awards. Her poems have also been published widely. More…

Poems of Despair, Love, Laughter and Death

By Timi Odueso


  • Title: A Parliament of Owls
  • Author: Adipo Sidang
  • Publisher: Contact Books NRB
  • Number of pages: 286
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Poetry

With 193 poems spread over four sections, Adipo Sidang’s A Parliament of Owls offers the prospect of universal inclusion with several poems that readers of every class or gender can connect with. More…

Beyond Writing, Poetry Also Speaks

By Nureni Ibrahim 


  • Title: With Pens that Shout and Mouths that Shut
  • Editor: Rhymers Club, Nabisunsa Girls School
  • Publisher: Bonacraft
  • Number of pages: 105
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Poetry

With Pens that Shout and Mouths that Shut is an anthology that celebrates the rich vein of literary expression to be found amongst the young student-poets of Rhymers Club, a literary club in Nabisunsa Girls School, Uganda. The fifty-two poems in the book are divided into the following sections: ‘Prologue’, ‘School Life’, ‘Culture and Lifestyle’, ‘Politics’, and ‘Love’. The sixth section, ‘Epilogue’, has no poem under it. The poems are well-written in simple and straightforward English, though there are indigenous words in some poems which venerate the hybridisation of language in African poetry. The anthology touches most of the major thematic issues in African poetry: language, embracing African culture, the political maladies of the state and the astounding feelings of love.
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The Effect of African Culture on African Literature: A Review of Tosin Gbogi’s locomotifs and other songs

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: locomotifs and other songs 
  • Author: Tosin Gbogi
  • Publisher: Noirledge Publishing
  • Number of pages: 95
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Poetry

Africa being a continent that is inhabited by a large percentage of people with dark skin pigmentation, the continent is also one that is rich in cultural norms, values and traditions. African literature, without a doubt, is deeply rooted in African culture. This is because the people’s customs, values, norms and traditions are basically the issues that form the content of African literature. More…