Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies

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An Ethnographic Reading of Nigerian Migrant Autobiographical Poetry in English

Ayodeji Isaac Shittu


Literature, poetry in particular, has generally been marginalised in discourses on social history. While literature is seen by many critics, particularly social scientists and historians, as essentially fictitious and literary autobiographies as self-aggrandising, poetry, as a sub-genre of literature, is scarcely discussed as autobiography. Very few works have considered the possibilities of Nigerian poetry as auto/biography. Using ethnography of communication and postcolonial theoretical perspectives, this study, examines two purposively selected collections of Nigerian migrant poetry to establish their qualities as autobiographies. It also discusses the ethnographic qualities of Nigerian migrant autobiographical poetry and underscores its quality as not a mere self-aggrandising narration but a blend of self and the culture/society within which the self-narration is constructed.

Keywords: Nigerian migrant poetry, ethnoautobiography, social history, self-writing, cultural construction

AJOL African Journals Online