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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The language of post-war Nigerian poetry of English expression
Author:Nwachukwu-Agbada, J.O.J.
Year:1991
Periodical:African Literature Today
Issue:17
Pages:165-175
Language:English
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:literature
English language
poetry
Abstract:The texture of postwar Nigerian poetry of English expression has been mediated by both the events of the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970) and the alienating linguistic structures of prewar poetry. There is a noticeable hiatus between the language of the prewar poet and that used by his postwar compatriot. Even where a poet has written during the two periods, there has been a considerable softening of the oracular tradition of Nigerian poetry before the civil war. Among the younger poets there is a tendency to demystify the language of poetry. In order to realize the desire to be understood by a majority of the Nigerian verse readership, the postwar poet has had to return to the local speech pattern. Many Nigerian poets make extensive use of modes of linguistic articulation rooted in communal traditions: the tradition of exchanging verbal insults and the subsequent name-calling and personalization of the issue at stake; the use of the proverbial form; the recourse to humour; and the playing with words. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from these linguistic features of recent Nigerian poetry is that there is a hiatus between what was practised as poetry in Nigeria before the civil war and what is now regarded as poetic articulation. Bibliogr.
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