Nigerian Poetry since 1990: History, Disillusionment and Regenerative Praxis

  • S Awhefeada

Abstract

A significant attribute of Nigerian Poetry is its protean character. Every decade depending on its historical nuance, has engendered poetic offerings whose tenor and temper differ from the preceding one. Though, Nigerian Poetry is a recreation of one historical continuum, it can be calibrated into different thematics and technical realizations. The 1960s engendered poems that anchored on cultural nationalism and post-independence disillusionment, the poetry of the 1970s reflected on the Nigerian civil war, while the 1980s produced poetry with ideological orientation. The 1990s was the decade that saw the maturation of emergent poets who were born in the 1960s, and had undergone poetic apprenticeship in the Universities in the 1980s. These emergent poets, working on the canvas of history delineated the attendant disillusionment which draconian military dictatorship foisted on the Nigerian polity. The grim disillusionment in the poetry of the 1990s is mitigated by the regenerative trope adopted by the poets as they poeticize hope and imminent national rebirth. However, in spite of the commendable poetic output of that decade, the new poets are seldom given critical attention as critics, teachers and students of Nigerian literature continue to engage older poets. This paper‟s intervention, even though it does not loose sight of the older poets, is to draw attention to the emergent poets who mapped the historical reality of the 1990s.
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eISSN: 0075-7640
print ISSN: 0075-7640