Linguistic and Cultural Landscapes of New Diasporic Nigerian Poetry

Author: Utibe-Abasi Akpan Hanson (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
Speaker: Utibe-Abasi Akpan Hanson
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


Recent trends in new Nigerian poetry are occasioned by home-diasporic ruptures in time, poetics and narratology. Factors of migration and exposure to foreign poetry magazines have introduced into Nigerian poetry new cultural and linguistic vocabularies that influence the creative and critical traditions of Nigerian poetry. Thus, this study examines cultural and linguistic complexes that define two recently published Nigerian diasporic collections, James Yeku’s Where the Baedeker Leads: A Poetic Journey and Nduka Otiono’s DisPlace. The selection of these books borders on recent linguistic and cultural re-inscriptions of the persona and the public retelling and poeticisation of home and diasporic spaces. The study highlights the cultural and linguistic features of new Nigerian poetry and demonstrates the extent to which the poets appropriate the linguistic climates of diasporic Nigerian poetry. Adopting critical stylistics and aspects of Homi Bhabha’s postcolonial hybridity, the study examines the cultural and linguistic factors that mark the new Nigerian poetry evident in the works of Yeku and Otiono who represent two alternating voices in the periodisation of Nigerian poetry. By examining these works, reasoned theorisation of the cultural and linguistic particulars in new Nigerian poetry can be determined and subsequently direct further inquiry.

Keywords: Diasporic Spaces, Nigerian Poetry, Postcolonial Hybridity, linguistics re-inscriptions