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Sunday, December 20, 2009

On the Award of the "Donatus Nwoga Prize for Literary Criticism in Poetry"

I wish to congratulate the Abuja Writers Forum for its very successful outing at the 2nd Abuja Literary Festival, December 15-19, 2009. I commend the AWF executive members and their sponsors especially for giving critical scholarship an equal pride of place as other literary arts for the first time in the history of Nigerian literary prize awards. In my opinion literature is one, from verse composition to the critical/analytical tradition.

I thank the AWF, indeed, for the award of the first Donatus Nwoga poetry criticism prize to my essay, "The Ecopoetics of Ezra Pound and Christopher Okigbo." I have no doubt that both Nwoga and Okigbo would have had a hearty laugh at the very idea of the prize and its pioneer winning essay, after which they would have definitely cornered some palm wine and bush meat at the Cambridge House in Ibadan or somewhere around the anthills of Nsukka. Pound himself would have found it completely appropriate to be discussed and feted even at the remote end of the tropical world since his view of literature was consistently of a globalized structure where, for instance, the Japanese haiku informs the flash-point experience of an American troubadour trapped in the vortex of the London Metro.

Nothing defines a community as its literature. I am, therefore, gratified that the Abuja Writers Forum and its visionary leadership are pointing the path to the essence, the very heart of our unified traditions.


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