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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Thoughts on African Poetry (2)

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Being the second part of the blog notes: Thoughts on African Poetry.

WHAT are your thoughts on Poetry? More writers share the subjects of their deepest motivation, their purpose in the art of writing and poetry appreciation. Here are more of the serious and humourous insights they share, and the illumination of their thoughts.

The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility. -William Wordsworth

The record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds. -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Prose; words in their best order; – poetry; the best words in the best order. -ST Coleridge

Me and poetry, Haba! by Obinna Chilekezi posted 24//04/2018 by kizibran

Before nko, what is poetry?

Ehn, na life.

Poetry is life — the beauty of life.

It is life wherever we go and whatever we do. It’s life static and life dynamic.

Look! do you see? At the market square: that dark woman carrying on her head her burden to Orie Ukwu market. Yes, do you see the poetry? That is life.

I love life, so I love poetry.

This is the reason, my reason for writing poems. To take a snap of my environment, the landscape, the beauty of the early morning songs of birds at that Gambian tree; the rain falling on the Gambian river, that evening, at the spot that the Gambian river kisses the Atlantic.

Beauty extravaganza.

Hence, for me, poetry is Art, an Art for life and not for Art’s sake.


A poem is discovering. -Robert Frost

The priest of the invisible. -Wallace Stevens

At bottom, a criticism of life. -Matthew Arnold

Its own sole freshly-created universe. -Philip Larkin

Like a piece of ice on a hot stove…rid(ing) on its own melting. -Robert Frost

The Celestine Glow by NN Dzenchuo posted 11/01/2015 by admin


POETRY came to me like one stumbling onto gems. I have always had great admiration and awe for poets. In preference for the sciences, I had stopped literature in high school third grade although I truly excelled in the subject. But after prospecting in the sciences I made a swift turn back to the arts: history, geography, economics and religion. Yet I never stopped being a prolific consumer of literature materials with great reverence for poets and poetry. My conventional education ended at high school for lack of funds to continue to college and I started researching in almost every medium to becoming a writer, starting with prose, then poetry.

Poetry to me is like a vent for my frustrations in life or for bringing out beautiful moments in black and white. It was the very deep love I had for my father, Abun Tom Dzenchuo, knowing he hadnt long to live among us.

It actually started in 2003 when I heard of my fathers death. My life has been that of hardships and hurt by rivalries in a polygamous family. Confused by the natural order of life I self-exiled to Nigeria, researching and writing prose (my whereabouts unknown to my relations). I had to return home when I heard of his death conceiving My Sky Is Left With No Sun, Dark Was The Night, Lie Thee In Sleep Transient Might Aghem Prince, et cetera.

I took to solitude, lost in the world of my own making especially when communing with my past: those beautiful moments from the memory when I went to farm with my father; the late night into the early morning debates we always had about African Nations: Arise O Africa, Prince of Peace -for Hammarskjöld, Flame Over Lumumbas Ashes, Bobe Juas Golden Age, the reunification plebiscite of West Cameroon on whether to merge with East Cameroon: The Reunification Seams; Little Fonchas Might, Unsung Hero.

My father had also enlightened me much about the Cameroons North West culture (pristine people and cultural purists) and the confederacy of clans that make up the Aghem Fondom polity.

His death left a huge gulf in my life as if the smoldering light suddenly went off my bamboo splinters leaving me in deep darkness. My fathers memory is the main reason behind most of my poems as sort of consolation. Though unlettered, he always told me Africa would be a tool in the hands of the neocolonialists if we do not stand up as one people, citing the Ancestral Broom the might of many splinters.

My life’s dreams started unfolding when I read The Atlas of Africa prepared and published by Jeune Afrique under the direction of Regine Van Chi-Bonnaedel with publishing director Danielle Ben Yahmed. The Atlas of Africa reveals the historic, geographic, political, economic and religious position of Africa vis-a-vis the world powers.

My poems are a reflection of my thoughts, vision and goal for life: that of seeing Africa Unite – a resurrection of the lost vision of Kwame Nkrumah, Bob Marley, Muamah Gaddhaffi, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Abdel Nassar, Nelson Mandela, Augustine Ngom Jua, Pa Abun Tom Dzenchuo, Manu Dibango and other African luminaries.

The African continent is the richest in mineral and natural resources, second to none but, ironically, the most impoverished on the planet.

And the problems are corruption and the self-centeredness of her leaders, using tribalism and ethnic nationalism, lack of transparency and accountability and the complete absence of democratic standards in the management of her affairs.

If the entire African countries GDPs of less than US $2 trillion can not match that of Great Britain or France or Germany (let alone China or the US)and with the highly industrialized Europe integrating into a powerful economic block, how can the fragmented African economies compete with such megalithic ones when she is highly involved in internal wars while her resources fuel the industrialisation of the world!

In this respect the poetic medium is a most convenient for me as a Griot visionary to transmit this dream to fellow Africans. It might defy reason to our detractors but man should know that Creator (and there exists a Supreme Being) does not smile with the sufferings and incessant deaths of Africans shipwrecked in the Italian Island of Lampedusa migrating to Europe for a better life, when back home there abound enough mineral and natural resources for their livelihood.

Africa needs to industrialise and must be given a permanent seat in the UN Security Council to participate in decisions affecting her destiny. Further still, she has to sell to the world finished products not primary commodities, refraining from AID packages by Europe, America, China, Japan – (help that kills).

The Celestine Glow shall illumine our path to this great providence, a single republic, a destiny beyond the reach of mortal eyes.





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