Another Tale of Two Cities: Contestation of Globalization in Odia Ofeimun’s "London Letter and Other Poems"
AbstractGlobalization, as a process and not yet a state, in all its social, economic and cultural aspirations, coupled with its trappings of contradictions, depends largely on the centrality of the city. Whether from London to New York, the Asian Tigers to Lagos and Johannesburg, the image of the city looms large in such a way that suggests how the conceptual agenda dates back to history, reminding us of the roles of various cities as veritable sites of operation for the various previous Euro-American imperialist activities, be they in the form of colonialism or neocolonialism in the Third World. However, the current postmodern agenda does not only implicate the cities, but also critically operates in such a manner that creates a split between
them; that is, the deviation between the global and non-global cities. This paper, therefore, seeks to study London Letter and other Poems (2000), a poetry collection by Nigeria’s Odia Ofeimun, as a direct response to the challenge of globalization, as it contextualizes the challenging experience of Lagos migrants in a global city like London, is against Lagos, their non-global city of nativity. It also examines the implication of this for the emergent concept. It will specifically explore the contradictions and odds against the operation of globalization, besides the fact that it impoverishes some cities to enrich others in terms of financial and human resources. Beyond this, the paper will highlight the devaluation of the status of the migrants in the global city of London as they operate from the fringe as a result of such issues as capitalism, race, nationality, identity and nativity.