The Eye of the Earth: Niyi Osundare as a Poet of Nature
AbstractIt can be said with considerable justification that Niyi Osundare is one of the
most fecund poets writing in Africa today. A Nigerian of Yoruba extraction,
his poetry is richly coloured by common expressions of traditional life (like
proverbs and songs) which reflects the world view of his people. Besides, his
poetry is accessible because in it he assumes the voice of the unlettered
peasants and villagers ‘who speak plain without feigning sophistication’
(Ohaeto 7). His themes are many and varied. They range from a
preoccupation with the poor and down-trodden in society to an engagement
with Africa’s socio-political problems and a revolutionary vision that will
bring about a new Africa. In all these Osundare is not blind to his physical
environment. In fact most of Osundare’s poetry dwells on the impoverishment
and decay of the rural communities. His fourth collection of poetry The Eye
of the Earth is entirely devoted to mother-earth and other forms of physical
nature. It is the object of this piece to ascertain the extent to which Osundare
qualifies as a poet of nature in this collection.
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