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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Okigbo's drum elegies
Author:Diala, IsidoreISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures (ISSN 0034-5210)
Geographic term:Nigeria
About person:Christopher Ifeanyichukwu Okigbo (1932-1967)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v046/46.3.diala.pdf
Abstract:This article appraises Ben Obumselu's examination of Christopher Okigbo's conception of his poetry as music as particularly insightful. Okigbo's intent to make a music of words, evident in his denunciation of poetry of denotative statements, and reverent invocation of his favorite impressionist composers, and of Stéphane Mallarmé as models or even Muses notwithstanding, Obumselu discerns an underlying reference in every poem to events of Okigbo's life and even to contemporary Nigerian/African politics. This article extends the examination of Okigbo's poetics by investigating his exploration of funeral African drum music as an absorbing idiom of abstraction consistent with surrealism. Discussing the African elegiac tradition, it privileges in the pivotal drumming event a conflation of lamentation with a rousing heroic tradition that illuminates Okigbo's practice in 'Lament of the Drums' and 'Lament of the Masks' and links many of the last poems in Path of Thunder together in significant unity. Moreover, the interpretation of the poems offered here is linked to the trajectory of the Okigbo narrative and the poet's heroic temper. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]