Society of African Journal Editors

Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies

Poetics and Subjectivity in Contemporary Nigerian Poetry: Afam Akeh and Abubakar Othman

Authors: SE Egya

Journal: Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies

One of the features of contemporary Nigerian poetry in English is the clear thematic space it maps out for itself, namely a concern with the travails and triumphs of the ordinary people in the society. This amounts to displacing poetry and poetics from a certain level of esotericism. Since the 1970s Nigerian poets writing in English have consciously sought to make poetry less esoteric, to subject it to the service of the society, and to regard it as an artistic arm of cultural struggles in a nation often embroiled in socio-political uncertainties. Afam Akeh and Abubakar Othman, as this essay attempts to demonstrate, are two recent poets on the Nigerian literary scene who have pursued this people-oriented poetics. They have sought to use their poetry to (re-)situate themselves, and those they consider victims of a repressive establishment, in what they see as a better subject position for a proactive stance in a narrative of nationhood.