By EDO ODUME
AN anthology of poetry, Reverberations Abroad, a 107 page book with a lovely gloss paper-back recently published by Authorhouse, United States of America, is a collection of poems which echoes the voices of some Africans who live and work outside the continent.
Annotated by Dr. Chimdi Maduagwu, senior lecturer in the Department of English, University of Lagos, whose earlier works include Amnesty to Garbage, collection of poetry, the recent effort is an attempt to document through the vehicle of poetry, Diaspora experiences from blacks in the America.
Maduagwu said of the publication: “The experience of putting together this anthology was challenging, but all the same it was, however, very interesting getting responses from these Africans who live and work abroad. The fact that he sought to use this book as an experiment that will open up a more elaborate venture into the sensibilities of African intellectuals, outside Africa.”
In addition to documenting the “sundry temperament in the poetic art” of these relatively unknown African poets, the editor also attempts to investigate how Africans have responded to the continued Western influence and their intellectual and economic dominance of the world in general and in Africa in particular.
In his Editor’s note he writes: “I have deliberately decided to shift towards the writers who have not made obvious impact in the public literary arena but who have great creative talents. It is also my considered opinion that the West has continuous influence on Africans, and at each period of human development, the West has renewed her intellectual and economic dominance of the world. The question is how is Africa responding to this?…”
There are a total of nine poets whose works are explored in this anthology, Reverberations Abroad, which the author says talks about all immigrants from the different regions of Africa and America except for two of them – Nigerian-born, Cyril Obi and Chinwe Azubike, who he says live and work in Europe.
Some other contributors include the Kenyan-born research analyst, Rhoda Gathoga, who now resides and works in Philadelphia, USA; Jane Musoke-Nteyafas, the daughter of Ugandan diplomat parents living and working in Toronto, Canada, who the author describes as a prolific writer and a performer; Alfred Kisubi, a co-member of the Executive Working Committee of the U.S – Africa Literary Foundation, – all from East Africa.
Others are FannyTamagnon, Republic of Benin-born and Canada-based young African female poet whom the author says write with emotional intensity; Jekwu Ikeme, Nigerian-born Environmental chemist /Economist and Public affairs commentator turned poet whose writings the author describes as tight and compact, which he also says explodes like a dynamite in the minds of readers; Dipo Kalejaiye, a Nigerian-born Professor of English, Poet, Playwright and Theatre Director who has won several awards in the United States of America for his publications.
Maduagwu says that although none of these writers have yet become towering in the chosen vocation of poetry, but that all of them have had poems and other forms of writings published in one form of media or other. He acknowledges and praises their diverse and versatile interests when he says, “their poems are rich in personal and collective experiences and artistic devices. While some are urbane, some still exhume the rural qualities of African life and yet others achieve a blend of both the urban and the rural”.