The works of four Nigerian poets have been chosen for inclusion in a forthcoming publication titled The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry. The poets are Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Obari Gomba and Ikeogu Oke.
Wole Soyinka and Obari Gomba will contribute a poem each, titled “A Vision of Peace” and “The Ghost of a Country” respectively, to the anthology. Uzor Maxim Uzoatu will contribute three poems titled “Bonding,” “Tropical Lore” and “Regenerating Lines”. Ikeogu Oke has four poems slated for inclusion in the anthology, titled “Being Black,” “A ‘Savage’ Writes Back,” “The Tree” and “A Gandhian Prayer”.
The anthology is a project of the Academy of raite(s)* And World Literati (A.R.A.W.LII) based in Ajmer, India, and will feature works of poets from fifty eight countries and all the seven continents.
The roll-call of poets from other countries include the South African poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile, Aerdinfu Yiren and Zhu Likum from China, Elizabeth Adams and Katherine Gallagher from the UK, and Charles Fishman and Elizabeth Johnson from the USA. Others include Jayanta Mahapatra and Rinkoo Wadhera from India, James Charlton from Australia, Enrique Sacerio-Gari and Mireya Robles from Cuba, Maria Alekhina from Russia, Luis Raul Calvo from Argentina, etc.
The project manager of A.R.A.W.LII, Dr. Moizur Rehman Khan, conveyed the decision to feature the works of the four Nigerian poets in a recent email to the poets dated February 28, 2014. “I am pleased to inform you that the final MSS of the proposed anthology is ready to go to print. This I write to let you know the final selection of the poems sent to us for the volume,” he said.
For half a decade, ARAWLII has been working to promote literature and creative writing and strengthen cultural ties between India and other countries.
“I’ll be delighted to see my poems in the anthology. I consider it an honour. Gathering such an expanse of the world’s poets in the anthology conforms with ARAWLII’s cardinal goal of strengthening literary and other cultural ties between India and the rest of the world and deserves commendation,” said Oke, author of several poetry collections for adults and the recent Song of Success, a musical book of children’s poems, whose poetry has received high praise from Nadine Gordimer, the winner of the 1991 Noble Prize in Literature.
“It’s crucial to cross boundaries in our poetic intercourse. The transnational sharing elicits the loftiest grains in poetry. The knowledge that there are kindred spirits in the wider world lends cubits to the engagement in rhythm and metaphor,” said Maxim Uzoatu, a 2008 Caine Prize nominee whose poetry collections include the highly regarded God of Poetry.
In his reaction, Obari Gomba, whose poetry collection, Length of Eyes, was long-listed for the 2013 Nigerian Literature Prize, described the anthology as a great project for global literature. “This anthology is a great project for global literature. It is a platform for voices across cultures and generations,” he said. “I am happy that Soyinka, Ikeogu Oke, Maxim Uzoatu and I have been chosen to represent Nigeria’s poetic tradition.”