Sarmakand and the Labyrinth of Soyinka's Language and Thought

  • L Bamidele


In 2002, Soyinka published a collection of poems titled Sarmakand and Other Markets I Have Known. The collection more than any other writings of his shows a catholicity of feeling beyond the personal. It adds more to our understanding of Soyinka's politics and statement on religion at local and global levels. The intention of this paper is to do an intensive scrutiny of the passages through which we can extend our understanding of the rhetorical, psychological, political and religious context of the collection. This collection is very engaging in its style and language and in it, we are back to vintage Soyinka where we see the poet's ability to transmute artistically his subject matter into an icon of visual feeling. There is a ferocious topicality in the collection but its language expresses the zeitgeist in a way that there is an aesthetic transition between the known reality and the frequently unpleasant conflict in the mind of the poet and the collective mind. We attempt to show how Sarmakand (as a place and as a poem) helps to elucidate the value held by Soyinka as a poet and how it helps us grasp the vision of the world and the moral promptings which the folklore of the market evokes in humanity in general.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502