Venets: The Belogradchik Journal for Local History, Cultural Heritage and Folk Studies Volume 2, Number 2, 2011
SALIENT THEMES AS VOICES IN AFRICAN POETRY
Christopher Babatunde OGUNYEMI Joseph Ayo Babalola University, NIGERIA
Abstract. The paper examines the various voices in African poetry. African
poets use their themes as echoes to salvage various inherences found in the decaying political, economic and social landscape. The paper argues textually the cultural ethos and the contemporary post-independence disillusionment on the African psyche as a result of colonilization. Using the meta-critical approach combined with realism, within sociological approach, the research calls for a concerted effort to stimulate originality and harness the benefits of globalization for the development of humanity in Africa. Keywords: salient themes, African poetry, literary consciousness
Introduction Poetry uses powerful words to x-ray deep thoughts about man and society. It is pertinent to state that this genre of literature is so important because it explores the use of imagery to delineate important perceptions about people 227
living in a continuum. Poets have explored these phenomena in their poetry. Accordingly, Maduka and Eyoh (2000) did the following names dropping when they mentioned “Tennyson, Blake, Wordsworth, Elliot, Pound, Okigbo, Soyinka, Clark, Okara, Osundare, Ojaide, Brutus, Kunene, Mitshali, Peters, Awonoor, p Bitek, Hughes, Baraka, Senghor and Walcott.” The illustration here is to show that these poets though existed during different literary periods; were using poetry to celebrate one voice or the other in their canon. Literary consciousness is the cardinal focus of poetry. Though poems usually employ word economy and distinct message, the dissemination of its subject matter which I called “salient voices” are anchored in the use of rich imagery which the poets either make “personal” or “conventional” in order to break the till. The...