“Unencumbered by traditional conventions, Ogaga Ifowodo’s poetry exudes freedom and freshness. The rhythmic lines carry the poet’s political awareness and human sensitivity. This new voice enlivens contemporary African poetry with a fascinating jolt of the imagination.”
—Tanure Ojaide, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
“As a poet, Ogaga’s models are Neruda, Soyinka, Mandelstam, and Dennis Brutus. This collection, in its range and in its assured and mature ardor in handling small and big subjects, very private emotions and capaciously public historic events, will establish Ifowodo as a major poetic voice of his generation.”
—Biodun Jeyifo, Professor of English, Cornell University
“Not since Pablo Neruda have I encountered a poet who better evidences the heart’s full range. In these lovely lyrics, nothing is ever diminished. These poems, like life itself, show us how we can deepen and reconceive, love, and fail—how we can struggle against “poisoned language” and disfiguring institutions. Some of the poems are so poignant that the heart grows overmuch; others, like the brilliant sonnet sequence, “Madiba,” confirms why we so need poetry in our troubled age. In its music, wisdom, and dazzling exploration of human interiority, Madiba joins that small group of extraordinary books that teach us how to be worthy of our dreams.”
—Kenneth A. McClane, W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Literature, Cornell University
ABOUT THE POET
Ogaga Ifowodo, lawyer, rights activist, and poet, worked for eight years with Nigeria’s foremost human rights group, The Civil Liberties Organization, where he combined the compilation of rights violations with pro-democracy advocacy and pro-bono litigation.
Between 1997 and 1998, he was arrested and detained by the military regime of General Sani Abacha. He is a fellow of the Iowa Writing Program and is currently at Cornell University.