African Poetry History Overview

RICAN poetryTruthful and fruitful human experience forms the footing for written look in any subdivision of literature. Conveyed through a linguistic communication of international exchange. it can make a wider audience for whom it becomes a utile mention in times of demand. The English linguistic communication attained international prominence due to several grounds ; one of the most of import being colonisation. As in other states of the Commonwealth. English was imposed on Anglophone Africa as a agency of easy communicating and administrative convenience.

It is a historical sarcasm that the same linguistic communication serves the African author in voicing his ideas and feelings to the universe at big. While discoursing the hereafter of English. Simeon Porter observes. It will follow to run into new demands and in that ceaseless reshaping and version. every talker and author consciously or unconsciously will play some portion. ( 181 ) Today. the anticipation of Porter came true of African authorship in English. It brought strength and entreaty to the English linguistic communication by adding a big scope of new vocabulary and use.

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Writing on the jobs faced by the African English authors. Chinua Achebe the celebrated Nigerian author says. The African author should take to utilize English that brings out his message without changing the linguistic communication to the extent that its value as a medium of international exchange will be lost. He should take at forging out an English. which is at one time unusual and able to transport his curious experience. ( 61 ) It is commendable that the authors of Africa succeeded in carry throughing the above undertaking set by Achebe. which is by any agencies non an easy one.

Their successful integrating of native experience and look in an foreigner lingua received world-wide acclamation. Their success proved. as critics like Srinivasa Iyengar pointed out. A shooting in the arm of modern English Literature has had to come from West Africans like Amos Tutuola. Wole Soyinka and Gabriel Okara. ( 16 ) The function of poesy. in African literature. has been extremely effectual in supplying the people with the needed inspiration and the necessary penetration.

The linguistic communication of poesy. for the African people. is a beginning of acquisition and going aware of their fate that necessitates the cognition of their yesteryear. nowadays and the possible hereafter. These and several other thoughts fuelled African poesy in English.

For the African poets. poesy became a powerful medium through which they conveyed to the universe audience. non merely their “despairs and hopes. the enthusiasm and empathy. the bang of joy and the pang of pain… ” but besides a nation’s history as it moved from ” freedom to slavery. from bondage to revolution. from revolution to independence and from independency to undertakings of Reconstruction which farther involve state of affairss of failure and disillusion” . ( Iyengar. 15 )

When we read African Literature. we should. by duty remember that. colonisation was at its harshest in Africa. As history stands cogent evidence. it was extremely exploited and savaged by the ambitious ‘white man’ . This experience is on the heads of all believing poets. Despite acquiring ‘uhuru’ or independency. the resentment returns once more and once more.

The unforgettable colonial yesteryear comes angrily alive in a verse form by Kenya’s poet Joseph Kareyaku therefore. It is non as you suppose. your lands. your autos. your money. or your metropoliss I covet… It is what gores me most. that in my ain house and in my really ain place you should oculus me and all that’s mine with that practiced. long-drawn. contemptuous leer. ( quoted in Iyengar. 30 ) In a verse form entitled “If you want to cognize me” Noemia De Sousa writes contritely of Africa. by efficaciously utilizing the literary device of personification therefore:

This is what I am empty sockets despairing of possessing of life a oral cavity lacerate unfastened in an tormented wound… a organic structure tattooed with lesions seen and unobserved from the rough whipstrokes of bondage tortured and brilliant proud and cryptic Africa from caput to pick This is what I am. ( Narasimhaiah. 137 ) The much-brutalized Dark Continent is tellingly depicted in the undermentioned lines of a verse form named “The Shapes of Fear” by Richard Ntiru. Like an arrested breath when external respiration makes silence progressive and the ear can non distinguish between the conspirative susurrations and the air currents vocalizing.

… a branchlet in the courtyard catchs and study of a gun is understood. ( Narasimhaiah. 137 ) Nigerian poet. the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka’s consummate sarcasm skilfully conceals anger at the racialist attitude in his celebrated verse form. “Telephone Converstion. ” After negociating for a house on rent on telephone. he tells the landlady of his being a black African. He was impolitely aghast when he was ‘caught… foully’ by the lady’s question sing his darkness therefore: ” HOW DARK… ? ” I had non misheard… “Are you light OR VERY DARK… ” ( Narasimhaiah. 149 ) .

The “ill- mannered silence” between the two is filled with images such as ‘stench of rancid breath of public- hide-and-speak. Red booth. Red- Pillar-box. Red double-tiered Omnibus quelling tar’ that subsume the antique and still hopeless and violent colour- struggle. The subject of English high quality blazes through David Rubadiri’s verse form “A Negro Labourer in Liverpool” : Here his hope is the shovel And his fulfillment surrender. ( Narasimhaiah. 134 ) One of the most of import stages in African poesy is Negritude. a powerful literary motion founded by Aime Cesaire of Senegal.

Among other things. the Negritude poets favoured the subject of glory of Africa. They worshipped anything African in scintillating rimes. Anger at injustice meted out to the colonized Africa is besides one of the oft-repeated subjects of their poesy. Here’s an illustration from David Diop’s verse form “Africa. ” Africa. my Africa Africa of proud warriors in hereditary savannahs… . Is this you. this dorsum that is dead set This back that interruptions under the weight of humiliation This back trembling with ruddy cicatrixs And stating yes to the whip under the noon sun… . . That is Africa your Africa.

That grows once more patiently stubbornly And its fruit bit by bit acquires The acrimonious gustatory sensation of autonomy. ( Narasimhaiah. 153 ) Dennis Brutus. a South African poet. was subjected to torment by a cruel government. His authorship is full of images of love contrasted with images of decease therefore. Abandon Your face gleams up Beneath me in the twilight Abandoned A wounded dove Helpless Beneath the knife of love. ( Quoted in Theroux. 2 ) Great experiencing for Africa is felt in Abioseh Nicol’s poem “The Meaning of Africa” therefore: Africa. you were one time merely a name to me …

So I came back sailing down the Guinea seashore … . You are non a state Africa. You are a construct … I know now that is what you are Africa Happiness. contentment and fulfilment. ( Quoted in Povey. 39 ) A poet’s avowal of his love for Africa radiances radiantly through the undermentioned poetries. Dark Africa! My morning is here ; Behold! I see A rich warm freshness in the East. And my twenty-four hours will shortly be here. ( Iyengar. 30 ) Deification of Africa is a fit subject for many African poets. Possibly this is their reaction to the ego glory and the educating ardor of the imperial powers of Europe.

Bernard Dadie’s verse form attains particular significance viewed in that visible radiation. He says in a verse form entitled “I Thank God” . I thank you God for making me black. White is the coloring material for particular occasions Black the coloring material for every twenty-four hours And I have carried the World since the morning of clip And my laugh over the World. through the dark creates The Day. ( Narasimhaiah. 122 ) In Africa. the coming of the white man’s educating mission displaced tonss of native societies from their ain cultural roots.

The impact of the spread of Christianity combined with material benefits such as schoolroom instruction and well-paid occupations forced many Africans abandon their ain religion and accommodate the faith of the pale-faced foreigners. This state of affairs is responsible for the indigens to endure from civilization daze. Nevertheless. the indigen is expected to owe commitment to his ain tribal civilization and embracing Christianity for stuff benefits. This cultural confusion is good articulated by Mabel Segun in a poem therefore: Here we stand Babies overblown Poised between two civilisations

Finding the balance irksome. ( Quoted in Povey. 39 ) Gabriel Okara expresses the same sentiments in a lyric therefore: When at interruption of twenty-four hours at a riverbank I hear jungle drums… Then I hear a lamenting piano Solo speech production of complex ways. ( Quoted in Gleason. 143 ) However. there are poets like Kofi Awoonor Williams of Ghana whose passion for past is expressed in his rediscovery subjects with the aid of drawn-out beat as in the undermentioned lines. “Sew the old yearss for us our male parents that we wear them under our old garments after we have washed ourselves… . . “

( The Anvil and the Hammer ) once more. ” Sew the old yearss for me my male parent Sew them so that I may have on them For the banquet that is coming. ” ( Quoted in Theroux. 4 ) He accomplishes the same excellence of germinating extended beat in verse forms like “The Long Journey” and “My Song. ” Poetic excellence and rare advanced originative ability are seen in Christopher Okigbo poems such as “The Stars Have Departed. ” He says. The stars have departed The sky in a eyeglass Surveys the universe under The stars have departed And I- Where am I? ?

Stretch. stretch O aerial. To seize at this hr. Carry throughing each motion in a Broken monophony. ( quoted in Walsh. 48 ) Images that can arouse a state of affairs beyond hope which are reminiscent of Eliot’s war poesy are seeable in the undermentioned poetries from K. Brew’s poem “The Search. ” The yesteryear is but the clinkers Of the present The hereafter The fume That escaped Into the cloud- edge sky.

( quoted in Walsh. 50 ) Some of the poets have realized the futility of contending over issues such as race. regard and national individuality. What more can be more enlightening than the enlightened poet’s words such as. You must go forth the sifting littorals of self- seeking and fraudulence and erect far mightier sign of the zodiacs on the stone of healthy dirt. ( Iyengar. 36 )

Lenrie Peter’s verse forms are short on the print but deep on one’s head like the one cited below Open the Gatess To East and West Bring in all That’s good and best. The memorable lines of Peter’s verse form “On a wet September Morning” with their sheer beauty of imagination and the implicit in idea of cosmopolitan brotherhood observe the unity of the human household.

To mention a few poetries. The echo explosion in me Like a great harmonic chord- Violins of love and happy voices The heathen cornet blast Swamping the plaint of the horn Then the heraldic membranophones In slow crescendo lifting Crashed though my senses Into a new nowadays Which is the hereafter. After this brief glimpse at African poesy. we realize that it is non merely an outgrowth of British literary tradition. espite the many disadvantages such as a scarred yesteryear. colonial injury. look in a foreign medium. inability to go abroad. unstable economic and political province of personal businesss in their several states. deficiency of educational chances. the African poet has effortless originative capacity.

It is an enriching combination of rich unwritten literature. native experience and imported tradition of composing in English that made African poetry a enormous success both at place and abroad. The ‘Black Orpheus’ ( African Poets ) is no longer an unknown or an unwanted measure but a absorbing and frequently enviable and beneficent literary wonder from what was ignorantly termed as the ‘dark continent’ .

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African Poetry History Overview. (2017, Aug 02). Retrieved from