Varieties of English Usage in African Poetry

  • Isaac I. Elimimian


The richness of African poetry, in its diversity, scope, and dimensions, has not yet received the critical attention it deserves. This situation is rather surprising, especially given the fact that the varieties of English in African poetics are vast and compelling. For example, the varieties which I have selected for discussion and analysis in this essay consist of the following variables, including, that is, oral poetry, pidgin English, European colonialism, the Christian religion, African cultural tradition, and war poetry.Some readers may consider the classification I have listed here as arbitrary or inadequate or overmuch; I do not fault them. The important point, for me at least, is the essence or the need to explore this subject further -- if need be -- so we can fully and faithfully understand and appreciate the corpus and beauty of African poetry in its multifarious dimensions. We shall begin, that is, with oral poetry which, I think, is the foundation of African poetry.

eISSN: 1813-2227