The poet as a teacher: Form and discourse in the poetry of Chinua Achebe

  • SI Duruoha


Not many people know Chinua Achebe as a poet. But this great mind's fascination with language, knowledge and culture, has drawn him into this genre which he uses as a platform to continue the teaching of his people about the dignity of their past. Using a simple pliable form derived from his prose, Achebe executes a poetic discourse that is at once pedagogic, in act and didactic in theme.Not many people know Chinua Achebe as a poet. His fame rests mostly on his ability to spin wonderful arid memorable stories, as could be seen in his great novels like Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God. Thus he has become synonymous with the. African Novel. But there is also Achebe the poet. In one of his essays: "The Novelist As Teacher", Achebe says that-- part of his aim of writing is to teach his people or readers that their past was not one long night of savagery, but a past that also had its good and noble elements. This has been his guiding principle. Though he may have been talking about his novels, our critical interest being on his poetry, we were anxious to rind out if he is still using the same principle that governed his fiction, to find direction for his, poetry. What we found out was positive: that in his poetry he is also teaching his people, "to put away these years of self denigration..." op cit This paper therefore describes Achebe's role as a teacher in his poetry. To do this, we are going to explore his work from the point of view of form being the level of grammatical structure and vocabulary and DISCOURSE being the level of meaning, subdivided into layers - ideational, interpersonal and textual.

Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 8(1) 2005: 11-17




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eISSN: 1119-443X