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For Ikeogu, for poetry: Call for submission

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[FILE PHOTO] Ikeogu Oke

Ikeogu Oke, poet, literary troubadour and winner of the 2017 NLNG Literature Prize Prize (Poetry) was notably vibrant in life and vocation as a writer. A jolly good fellow, humanist and unapologetic defender of African culture, Mr. Oke brought a unique finesse to the art of writing, especially in poetry, lacing his lines with music and suiting the rhythm and tempo of words to its operatic foundations. In doing this, he created a new sort of poetry placed on the wings of performance yet retaining the candour and piquancy of this elevated of all arts. His was a concatenation of poesy in union with performance as he also created words with the enigma of art that enthrals and thrills. The author of The Heresiad, that won him The Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored by Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited (NLNG), and many other works spread across anthologies and other publication outlets, Ikeogu Oke, was a visible signpost of an emergent trope of writing though traditional yet uniquely different and effusive in its acceleration and positioning a new credo of creativity.

The gusto with which he unassumingly projected ‘a yet-unexplored idea of poetry as an art form that transcends verse and goes on to embrace song, music and drama, resulting in what may be called operatic poetry’ (The Heresiad) did not leave the discerning surprised about his determination to change the game of verse and the verse of game. In a deliberate cantata of spoken words, mixed with the rubrics of traditional verse, our literary universe received with excitement the birth of a canon that was beginning to tune us to a Handelian spectacle and compositional trope when suddenly the music ceased and verse ran out of its metre. A sad end to a performance that was just about taking off, yet poetry does not die. Poetry as all arts lives with the creator also living eternally in intellectual memory.

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Sad as it is to be notified of the recent demise of poet Ikeogu Oke, the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), in a bid to immortalise this active poet of our time and a living totem to the power of hard work in the face of all challenges, hereby invites submission of tribute poems in honour of Ikeogu Oke. The Editors of this forthcoming volume are looking for 51 poems (in tandem with his age at the time of death) for inclusion in a book that will be released in the first quarter of 2019. It will be essentially a collection of poems strictly on him and his art or related to poetry and mortality or immortality. The poems should be structurally concise, thematically-relevant and strategically poetic.

A statement from ANA president and general secretary, Mallam Denja Abdullahi and Dr. Ofonime Inyang, notes, “Only 51 poems will be selected in a qualitative first come first serve tradition and so interested contributors should immediately send in one or not more than two poems of which one may be selected on or before the deadline of 31 December, 2018.”

All submissions with not more than one hundred word biodata should be forwarded to nwspublishers2016@gmail.com.


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