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Christopher Okigbo: Africa's Greatest Poet?

Why did you leave me

In this desert

With labyrinths of footpaths,

Without a guardian?

Dee Christopher,

Town crier,

Why did you leave me

On the paths of thunder?

I left you

In this desert

In this labyrinths of footpaths,

on the paths of thunder,

For your baptism.

I left you

To the guidiance of Idoto,

My Muse,

I left you to fight another war.

Do you have to fight that war?

Do you have to strap

Assault rifles

And pebbles of bullets?

There are men and women

Trained to fight that war,

You are a town crier.

Begone apprentice,

I left my gong and stick

At the sacred grotto

Of Mother Idoto

For you and your ilk,

For generations of town criers.

(Late Christopher Okigbo, a renowned Nigerian Poet lived from 1932 to 1968)

The above are the work of a poet, prolific writer short life but with deep impact. Even the Noble Laeurate Wole Soyinka attested to this fact. I shudder when i read his writings , his thoughts evokes a deep sense of conciousness that no other poet i have read about, not even Soyinka(no hard feelings), Death is one ultimate price we have to pay, but the big question is '' under what circumstance''?

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10 answers

@ Salisuammy

Literature needs to be complex 'cos it's an institution. It's like a food. Can you compared white rice and well-spiced one. If literature is a toy, then all nairalanders would've bagged Nobel by now.

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Okigbo and Wole soyinka may be great writers but they dont represent Africans they belong to the group of writers who make literature difficult for the mind with their use of European terms that betray the Africans. I call Chinue Achebe a great writer cause he represnts his people.

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@DeepZone

Soyinka is brainier but okigbo is more classical. And the fact that he died a martyr made him angelic. Okigbo was killed in the front during the Nigerian civil war of the late 60's.

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Soyinka or Okigbo? Who is better?

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Every man has a craft in which his life resonates. To conclude that Okigbo is the best of all poets is a judgement made in darkness and dispassion. If you want to know the truth, go get the poetry of Maik Nwosu, and some emerging poets of the 21st century. Okigbo is just among the pioneers. The first aint the best! Sure, I've read LABYRINTH. And had mark out an encyclopedia of lapses in the craft.

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i think all poet are talented depending on how you  perceive and understand their writings

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I am not a poetry buff but I think Wole Soyinka is pretty good (and J.P. Clark). I also think there are many gifted poets outside Nigeria i.e. on the African continent. It is my personal opinion that Okigbo is given so much accolade because he was killed in the Biafra war (I am not saying he was not gifted. All I am saying is it is kinda the martyr syndrome where ordinary folk appear extradordinary and become the stuff of myths and legends).

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they are wonderful poets. in this genre it is very hard to say who is the best.

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What of Okot P' Bitek, of Uganda? I think he is Africa's greatest poet, but I may be wrong.

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I LOVE OKIGBO'S POETIC PAINTINGS.

BUT COULD HE BE THE BEST IN AFRICA?

I THINK SO NOT. www.beibee.wordpress.com

FORGIVE MY OBSESSION WITH THAT BLOG!

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