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  Femi Osofisan
  Tanure Ojaide
  Brian Chikwava
  Hugh Hodge
  Helon Habila
  Muhammad Jalal A. Hashim
  Ogaga Ifowodo
  Edwin Gaardner
  Harry Garuba
  Toyin Adewale-Gabriel
  Zukiswa Wanner
  Ike Okonta
  Maxim Uzoatu
  George Ngwane
  Ike Anya
  E. E. Sule
  Beverley Nambozo
  Obi Nwakanma
  Matthew Dodwell
  Ikhide Ikheloa
  Afam Akeh
  Femi Oyebode
  Chika Unigwe
  Linda Chase
  Mohamed Bushara
  Wale Okediran
  Niran Ok
  Remi Raji
  Ahmed Maiwada

  Laura King

  Chuma Nwokolo


Tanure Ojaide    


Tanure Ojaide's literary awards include the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Africa Region,1987), the BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Award (1988) and the All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry (1988 and 1997). His published poetry volumes of poetry include Labyrinths of the Delta (1986), The Eagle's Vision (1987) and The Fate of Vultures (1990). He has also published a memoir, a novel and some criticism.


  Aridon, to you I come again.
Who else go to when suddenly tongue-tied

than the divine dispenser of words and voice?
To the proprietor of the house of words I come.

It’s only you who can imbibe into me
the flowing stream of flavoured words,

it’s only you who know all that can
dip my tongue deep into fresh draughts.

Prematurely I started the song to which
all ears are welcome—the flight needs

more than flair of wings to cross the land
mass threatening death from dehydration.

I still have a craggy mountain to climb
into the clouds to breathe free—

these low lands corrupt with haze and dust,
and I need lungs filled with cool draughts.

The task is started but not done
and mocks my inherited praise-name.

Let no connoisseur mock your stock,
you are dispenser of flavoured words;

let no sectarians deride your devotee;
you cover with lavishing hands.

It’s not enough to get people’s silent attention
but not the voice to shatter it with their applause,

it’s not enough to wear the eagle’s feathers
without soaring to over-fly the iroko’s crown.

To you I come sweating from blockage
to open the airspace for me to ride through

along with winds that carry your breath
from gods to men, from sky to earth.

I need your needle to stab my tongue
into a deluge to swamp the alphabet,

I need your thread to lead me to springs
always running from sweet abundance;

I need your lamp brighter than ever
to show where to go and have my fill.

At the crossroads the mountain looks down on me—
lift me beyond the verbiage of a lost generation.

You who have led me so far, know the way ahead.
You must take me through the entire task.

How will the sugarcane from your nursery
not give out juice? You won’t let it happen.

The road you set me on has come to a river—
let me into your craft for a safe crossing.

You are the Ethiope River that embraces the Atlantic—
no creek can match you in overcoming drought

you who calm the jealous seas and consort with Olokun
and yet set them to riot to free you from strangulating love.

How can the ocean for all the austerity of nowadays
not have corals or lavish the beach with cowries? Never!

The king may be poor, my father says, but
weighed down by costly beads on his neck!

How can the offspring of the parrot
be dumb? It’s unheard of, Aridon.

So, let the full moon appear
and relieve the night of its sadness.

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