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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Response to Amanze Akpuda’s “A Dream beyond the Pyramids”

By Maik Nwosu
In a recent essay, “A Dream beyond the Pyramids,” Amanze Akpuda references my scrutiny of the award of the All-Africa Christopher Okigbo Prize in 1992 (to Olu Oguibe’s poetry collection A Gathering Fear). Akpuda was referring to my essay, “Rethinking Our Canons,” published in the Daily Times of May 1, 1993. I have notified Akpuda that my view has significantly changed in the past sixteen years. Even in 1993, my view had more to do with my perception of the Okigbo Prize then. My essential argument in that essay – that considered literary criteria should be used for literary canonization – is one that I still advocate. But in an essay, “Children of the Anthill: Nsukka and the Shaping of Nigeria’s 1960s Literary Generation,” published in English in Africa in May 2005, I credit Oguibe with capturing the dominant mood of my generation at the time in his poem “A Gathering Fear.” I consider A Gathering Fear especially remarkable for the way it grows on the reader.

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