The Sahara Testaments


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In a quick succession of imagery, he highlights metaphors of his remembrance and tries to ascertain his knowledge of the abstract. The tone, mood and voice in the second stanza is changed in a dramatic force. The poet empathises with the persona and he, the poet, shares his contemplative, frustration, exasperation. In the third stanza, he continues his monologue; he assumes the being of a poet and turns to writing to capture that clarity which eludes him:.

But that does not yield much either. By the last stanza, the persona has gained tranquillity and insight, sure of his intuition. The poem breaches the fringes of imagination and it is an introspective read.

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It yields the consciousness of self in the art of living. Poetry is, of course, never final in composition. I should like to make few comparisons between the earlier draft of this poem, which I found in an online Oxford literary discussion forum, and the final version published here. Perhaps we should consider the first stanza of the earlier draft of the poem:. I knew you at once without words I knew you as the elusive scent of fruits I had yet to encounter, not as leaf roughage, Or herbal essence, texture of petals Not as curatives of barks, knew you Solely as the inviolate of the unsought, As distant aftermath of rain on thirst, where The tongue is caked, the lips unslaked.


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And the first stanza of the final version: This much I do remember — I knew you Easily, on the instant, and without words, Knew you despite the clutter of the mind In quest for that yet undefined. I knew you as the elusive scent of fruits I had yet to encounter. Or leaf or bark, Or flower, or blend of latent senses, knew you Solely in that purity of the unsought As aftermath of rain on passive shrubs.

For a run-of-the-mill or poetaster, the first verse would have been a delightful perfection. But the poet laureate, who is no ordinary, easy poet, sought for allusions, in succession, that would imbue clarity to his vision.

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And what results in the refinement is challenging precision. It shows that metaphors and allusions are not just for adornment and intertextual referencing. They should contribute meaningfully to a poem, line by line, such that it would be difficult to separate any part of it. One thing is obvious. In the later form, the diction is disciplined to run a poetic errand. The poet has mastered his diction, or rather, his diction has mastered him and with ease it runs his poetic errand.

In conclusion, the collective poetic oeuvres in Ake Review , from the new and young poets alike, indicate and illuminate the maturity and richness of contemporary poetry in Nigeria. The readings here have informed me of the great expectations to be harvested from contemporary Nigerian poetry. It is defining its own trends. He is an editor, literary critic and poet from Ibadan, Nigeria. He enjoys travelling and cooking. He is presently experimenting with poetic forms, including mathematical poetry, but does not know when his debut poetry collection will be ready.

LiteraryGansta is his alter ego on Twitter. Categories: Magazines , Poetry , Writers. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


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As the editors write in the introduction to the journal: None of us can discount the power of encountering selves and other in literature, a process that encourages empathy and compassion as we suspend ourselves in the worlds and lives that novelists and storytellers invoke The page journal features an eclectic mix of creative works from the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka; his contemporaries of international repute such as Niran Okewole, Jumoke Verissimo, and Remi Raji; emerging and precocious young writers such as Adeeko Ibukun, Bura-Bari Nwilo, Hymar David, Jite Efemuaye, David Ishaya Osu, and myself Tope Salaudeen-Adegoke , amongst others; it features, also, photography and art from Tyna Adebowale, Andrew Esiebo and Victor Ehikhamenor.

Perhaps we should consider the first stanza of the earlier draft of the poem: I knew you at once without words I knew you as the elusive scent of fruits I had yet to encounter, not as leaf roughage, Or herbal essence, texture of petals Not as curatives of barks, knew you Solely as the inviolate of the unsought, As distant aftermath of rain on thirst, where The tongue is caked, the lips unslaked. Please do kindly elaborate. Actually, in my case it is a pertinent question as I have been known to be extremely assimilative in my praxis, if such a notion has any validity.

The separate influences I had imbibed over the course of some thirty years sometimes blend like claret.

But sometimes they quarrel like white wine and red. There was a teacher in my elementary school in the village who would recite Kofi Awoonor's Song of Sorrow to our hearing in class. I was about nine years of age then and those words moved me very strangely indeed. I was made to perform Wole Soyinka's Abiku as my contribution to my class-graduation party from primary school into secondary school at age ten.

The Sahara Testaments written by Tade Ipadeola

After that I read J. P Clark and my father, who taught literature, would make me recite J. P Clark into a recorder. As I grow older, the formalists seem to have me. The Sahara Testament is a paean to the continent, a triumphant and charged celebratory dash across its wide expanse and open landscapes. What inspired this dance and how long did it take you? A concatenation of events, I think, eventually led me to write the book. Human engagement with the land, our victories and defeats within this conundrum of a continent. The history of Africa, the prehistory of Africa and the human geography of the continent all move me.

I remember writing the first four quatrains of the Sahara Testaments in an airplane going from Lagos to Delhi. It was a daytime flight and flying over the Sahara in daytime gives you an idea of just how vast the space we are talking about is. And then to think that this is not just wasteland but a theatre in which significant human history has occurred. Here is where mankind first discovered how to reckon the calendar. Ancient rock art from the Cave. There is a lot to say about the pressures on the planet and the fragile hope we can still entertain and pursue. I felt that the seizing of the days could be done with sobriety as it could be done in a spirit of celebration - of human triumph over materialism and crass planetary exploitation.

How would you describe the form of the work, what aesthetic goals did you set yourself and do you think you reached those goals? I settled for some sort of compromise between the approach that Pablo Neruda took in his Canto General and the approach that Derek Walcott took in Omeros.

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My subject dictated that. I could go from country to country but the boundaries we have today, it must be recognised, are new and arbitrary boundaries. I could strive after a master-narrative around which sub-narratives weave in and out but the space I had to contend with has polyphonic and equally pertinent narratives - to privilege one above others seemed dishonest. The quatrain comes fairly naturally to me.

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Each stanza, and we do well to remember that the stanza is really etymologically a room, served as refuge for a thought or two. I set out to build a thousand such rooms for The Sahara Testaments. The biggest aesthetic challenge was to engage reader interest in what is prima facie difficult terrain over which difficult language and subtle thought has to be deployed.

The Sahara Testaments The Sahara Testaments
The Sahara Testaments The Sahara Testaments
The Sahara Testaments The Sahara Testaments
The Sahara Testaments The Sahara Testaments
The Sahara Testaments The Sahara Testaments
The Sahara Testaments The Sahara Testaments
The Sahara Testaments The Sahara Testaments

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