About workshops

Workshops on Neopoet are groups that meet for a certain period of time to focus on a certain aspect of poetry. Each workshop participant is asked to critique all the other poems submitted into a workshop. A workshop leader helps coordinate -- they set the agenda, give participants feedback on whether their submissions and critique are at they level expected of them, and after the workshop is over, give feedback to participants. 

To join a workshop, first find one that is of interest to you. Once you have found the right workshop (and verified that it is open -- you can find this out in the description below), you can apply to join the workshop.


Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

Poets of West Africa in English

Program description/goal: 

Leader: Eumolpus
Moderator(s): Choiri, Drey Hommies

Objectives: Workshop study group:
2 weeks on Wole Soyinka, the most revered poet in the region.
Spend 2 weeks on other popular poets past and present in the region.
Spend 2 weeks in discussion of trends, influence of politics, accent and grammar issues, and publishing possibilities.
Spend last two weeks with participants from the region offering poems about WA, their specific country, and culture.

Level of expertise:open to all

Subject matter: Poetry study and workshop

Length: 
60 days
Number of participants (limit): 
20 people
Skill level: 
Date: 
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Thursday, February 1, 2018
Short description: 
West African poetry in English: Study and workshop

Comments

Abiku is a child that comes and go several times, in a normal African believe it is a punishment or torments from the gods in several occasion liberation will be poured to make the child stay and several rituals and charms to keep the child from going back to where he/she comes from

In vain your bangles cast
Charmed circles at my feet
I am Abiku, calling for the first
And repeated time.

Must I weep for goats and cowries
For palm oil and sprinkled ash?
Yams do not sprout in amulets
To earth Abiku's limbs.

So when the snail is burnt in his shell,
Whet the heated fragment, brand me
Deeply on the breast - you must know him
When Abiku calls again.

I am the squirrel teeth, cracked
The riddle of the palm; remember
This, and dig me deeper still into
The god's swollen foot.

Once and the repeated time, ageless
Though I puke, and when you pour
Libations, each finger points me near
The way I came, where

The ground is wet with mourning
White dew suckles flesh-birds
Evening befriends the spider, trapping
Flies in wine-froth;

Night, and Abiku sucks the oil
From lamps. Mothers! I'll be the
Suppliant snake coiled on the doorstep
Yours the killing cry.

The ripest fruit was saddest
Where I crept, the warmth was cloying.
In silence of webs, Abiku moans, shaping
Mounds from the yolk.

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

i have been contributing to the other site

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

The workshop will be using this destination. Our goal is to look at West African Poetry in English, and
come to some conclusions about what makes it different and unique. We can start for a few weeks with the major influence in the region, Wole Soyinka, Nobel prize winner, now 83 years old and still active. We will move on to other poets of distinction, and finally end with poems written by Neopoets. We should include conversations about language, accents, and places to publish and be heard.

Perhaps afterwards we can present an article to a literary magazine- there is not enough information and study about this new poetry.

This poem is very powerful.. Here's some help from Wikipedia:

"Abiku refers to the spirits of children who die before reaching puberty; a child who dies before twelve years of age being called an Abiku, and the spirit, or spirits, who caused the death being also called Abiku.

Not only is an abiku a spirit of a child who dies young, the belief is that the spirit returns to the same mother multiple times to be reborn multiple times. It is the belief that the spirit does not ever plan to "stay put in life" so it is "indifferent to the plight of its mother and her grief"

The first thing that we are introduced to in this poem is the high level of image and language. Abiku is both the speaker and refers to himself in the third person. This is not an "easy poem" to read, like so many of the most popular poets- Whitman is not difficult to read, nor Ginsburg, nor most of the poets that become leaders of their generation. But this poem is dense, and requires the reader understand the craft of poetry, and not be intimidated by it.

So my first question is about the reputation of Soyinka in Nigeria and neighboring countries. How has he managed to become so great? Does his language speak directly to the soul of the population? How powerful is the legend of Abiku in the imagination of the people?

Technically the poem is in free verse, and uses a variety of The poet mixes stanzas with traditional phrasing, and then introduces this:

I am the squirrel teeth, cracked
The riddle of the palm; remember
This, and dig me deeper still into
The god's swollen foot.

Here each line depends on the line before to create the action.

The poem as a logic of telling us about Abiku, his feelings, ironies, savagery, the effect of potions to ward him off...but in the end

"...Mothers! I'll be the
Suppliant snake coiled on the doorstep
Yours the killing cry"

A very chilling poem. But not an easy one. Thoughts?

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Although i might not be able to participate as fully as I'd like I'd appreciate being included

Civilian And Soldier.(Wole Soyinka)

My apparition rose from the fall of lead,
Declared, ' l am a civilian.'It only served
To aggravate your fright .For how could I
Have risen , a being of this world, in that hour
Of impartial death! And I thought also; nor is
Your quarrel of this world.

You stood still
For both eternities, and oh I heard the lesson
Of your training sessions, cautioning-
Scorch earth behind you , do not leave
A dubious neutral to the rear.Reiteration
Of my civilian quandary, borrowing earth
From the lead festival of your more eager
Friends.
Worked the worse on your confusion, and when
You brought the gun to bear on me , and death
Twitched me gently in the eye , your plight
And all of you came clear to me.

I hope some day
Intent upon my trade of living , to be checked
In stride by your apparition In a trench,
Signalling, I am a soldier ,No hesitation then
But I shall shoot you clean and fair
With meat and bread, a gourd of wine
A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that
Lone question - do you friend, now, know
What it is all about?

Ya'll might consider giving old duffers like me a bit more time to reply to a poem before posting another poem. To comment and not seem a fool it takes a bit more thought than usual since these poems are meant to be read by those with a greatly different background than most of the "older" poets here. Now to the poem "civilian and Soldier":
I think this likely captures the inevitable blending of morals and indeed consciousness which happens when one leaves civilian life behind to become a soldier. I think all soldiers consider themselves as civilians who have just donned a thin cloak of soldier for a set period of time. Hence the conflict between the two so well captured in this poem. A righteous man who for a spell must set his real self aside and become a killing machine .......stan

PLEASE DO NOT POST POEMS TO THIS WORKSHOP PAGE.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

Noted Scribbler.

Soyinka begins " Civilian And Soldier" with a confused and questioning tone from the civilian to a more accepting, understanding and empathizing tone as the civilian begins to understand the soldier's dilemma.The poem starts off with a confused tone because the civilian is trying to understand why his apparition has risen and why the soldier killed him in the first place.Then the poem shifts to understanding , accepting and empathizing because the civilian learns that in war soldiers are trained to kill anyone that deemed questionable and how they are taught never to leave a person behind alive.The civilian starts to sympathize with the soldier inner conflict.Soyinka is exposing through this poem how innocent civilians are killed by soldiers without a reasonable cause during war; while also sympathizes with the soldier's inner conflict of knowing that they have to kill but not why or what it accomplishes.Soyinka is shedding light on how pointless war is when the cause is unknown and exposing the human condition of completing actions without much thought as long as it comes from a higher power.

a little reminiscent to a Wilfred Owens poem, died and famous for his poems in WWI, about meeting the enemy after death, "Strange Meeting." https://letterpile.com/poetry/Analysis-Of-Poem-Strange-Meeting-by-Wilfre...

The Poem by Soyinka very intense. What do you think me means by "A bunch of breasts from either arm" That line just stopped me in my tracks...

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Thank you Eumolpus , Soyinka's poems most time appear rather obscure.
" I hope some day
Intent upon my trade of living ,to be checked .
In stride by your apparition in a trench,
Signalling ,I am a soldier .No hesitation then
But I shall shoot you clean and fair
With meat and bread, a gourd of wine.
A bunch of breasts from either arm....."
Judging from these lines I think he meant he would kill with pleasure ,without any regrets,with meat and bread in hand, a gourd of wine on the floor, and a lady or ladies around him.
.....and that lone question- do you friend, even now know what it is all about? This line which I will rephrase as " do you now friend understand what war is all about?Confirms my suggestion.Soyinka meant to say war is pointless and soldiers derive pleasure from senseless killings of the innocents.War is only meant to bring pleasure to people of higher authority who are in conflict..I just hope I am right with my suggestion.

yeah you are right, in my own view

"But I shall shoot you clean and fair
With meat and bread, a gourd of wine.
A bunch of breasts from either arm....."

the benefits soldiers get from war, which Wole Soyinka is emphasizing on includes, meat and bread and a gourd of wine which I consider as the food aspect of it, then the most important part is the woman, that they share among themselves, hope am correct anyway

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

I hope so brother.

I checked around "the google" and found most interpretations do not agree that as a soldier Soyinka would do the same...rather, he would offer love and humanity. That was the feeling I got, that he would shoot WITH meat and bread, not have that meat and bread as his booty...

That said, I agree that the breasts represent women. In today's changed attitudes in the battle of the sexes and the liberation of women as sex objects, this image would not be very popular. But keeping in mind the historical context, and the geographical context, it is understandable. But in today's charged atmosphere, it would not be a popular image, and would be deemed sexist and insensitive.

One thesis on Soyinka put it this way :"Some critics state that Soyinka’s poetry is unnecessarily complex, often obscure, and unreadable" In many of his poems I agree that, after all is said and done, I do not understand the full scope of the offering. In some poems, such as the 2 we have quoted, the intent is accessible, the action of the poem is more of a story, a parable.
Let's consider

I Think It Rains

I think it rains
That tongues may loosen from the parch
Uncleave roof-tops of
the mouth, hang
Heavy with knowledge

I saw it raise
The sudden cloud, from ashes.
Settling
They joined in a ring of
grey; within,
The circling spirit.

O it must rain
These closures on the mind, blinding us
In strange despairs, teaching
Purity of sadness.

And how it beats
Skeined transperencies on wings
Of our desires, searing dark longings
In cruel baptisms.

Rain-reeds, practised in
The grace of yielding, yet unbending
From afar, this, your conjugation with my earth
Bares crounching rocks

again we see the great use of vocabulary and control of inner music. But the meaning is elusive. Each region has its own poets that have universal appeal due to their accessibility- Ezra Pound and Wallace Stevens are acclaimed Poets but only in the universities, not in the streets. Neruda, Angelou, Vozneskesky, Ginsberg, Whitman...these poets are "easy", like most rap poets. Not Soyinka. He's not a populist Bob Marley. I have been reading and re-reading "A shuttle in the Crypt" and although I enjoy the endlessly inventive language, I am only getting a very small percent of it, those poems involved with abstractions and metaphysical considerations. The "Chimes of Silence" part makes more available to the reader being about incarceration and prison life.
I am starting to consider that it was the plays and novels and activism of the poet which makes him the father of Nigerian literature.

What is "I think it rains" about??

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

I think it rains by Whole Soyinka is a poem of difference. It differs in every form both structure, diction and message.The poem looks into the practice of smoking though one can not predict tjhe author's stand.The poem is built on metaphor since the puffing smoking is liken to rainfall and every other imageries are in support of the raining, the dryness before the rain, the descriptive picture of the smoke being a Rain-Reeds and circling spirit, etc.
Soyinka, in the last stanza of the poem claimed that the act of smoking has no reasonable effect but done for fun of its routine outcome.o

Earth will not share the rafter's envy; dung floors
Break, not the gecko's slight skin, but its fall
Taste this soil for death and plumb her deep for life

As this yam, wholly earthed, yet a living tuber
To the warmth of waters, earthed as springs
As roots of baobab, as the hearth.

The air will not deny you. Like a top
Spin you on the navel of the storm, for the hoe
That roots the forests plows a path for squirrels.

Be ageless as dark peat, but only that rain's
Fingers, not the feet of men, may wash you over.
Long wear the sun's shadow; run naked to the night.

Peppers green and red—child—your tongue arch
To scorpion tail, spit straight return to danger's threats
Yet coo with the brown pigeon, tendril dew between your lips.

Shield you like the flesh of palms, skyward held
Cuspids in thorn nesting, in sealed as the heart of kernel—
A woman's flesh is oil—child, palm oil on your tongue

Is suppleness to life, and wine of this gourd
From self-same timeless run of runnels as refill
Your pod lings, child, weaned from yours we embrace

Earth's honeyed milk, wine of the only rib.
Now roll your tongue in honey till your cheeks are
Swarming honeycombs—your world needs sweetening, child.

Cam woodround the heart, chalk for flight
Of blemish—see? it dawns!—antimony beneath
Armpits like a goddess, and leave this taste

Long on your lips, of salt, that you may seek
None from tears. This, rain-water, is the gift
Of gods—drink of its purity, bear fruits in season.

Fruits then to your lips: haste to repay
The debt of birth. Yield man-tides like the sea
And ebbing, leave a meaning of the fossil led sands

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

(the poem ends- fossil led sands)

For us outside of the region, we have no idea who Moremi was, and her place in the folk culture of Nigeria. The internet helps, giving us a short history of this 11th Century Queen. What I could not pick up is the symbol of what Moremi means to the people of Nigeria today, and the significance of Wole's poem. Again I am struck by the rich verbiage, the almost prophet like distance the poet takes about the subject.
AS far as I can find, the actual title of the poem is Dedication FROM Moremi, not "TO" which in a sense changes everything, as the poem becomes from her not to her. But I still need to know a lot more about her to get the real impact o the poem.
Soyinka for me is a paradox. In some poems such as the following he is easy to read and understand. The meaning is clear and accessible, with the great charged language he is a master of:

PROCESSION I- HANGING DAY

A hollow earth
Echoes footsteps of the grave procession.
Walls in sunspots
Lean to shadow of the shortening morn.

Behind an eyepatch lushly blue.
The wall of prayer has taken refuge
In a piece of blindness, closed.
Its grey recessive deeps.
Fretful limbs.

And glances that would sometimes
Conjure up a drawbridge
Raised but never lowered between
Their gathering and my sway.

Withdraw, as all the living world
Belie their absence in a feel of eyes
Barred and secret in the empty home.
Of shuttered windows, I know the heart.
Has journeyed far from present.

Tread. Drop. Dread Drop. Dead.

What may I tell you? What reveal?
I who before them peered unseen
Who stood one-legged on the untrodden
Verge- lest I should not return.

That I received them? That I wheeled above and flew beneath them.
And brought him on his way.
And came to mine, even to the edge
Of the unspeakable encirclement?
What may I tell you of the five
Bell-ringers on the ropes to chimes.
Of silence?
What tell you of rigors of the law?
From watchtowers on stunned walls.
Raised to stay a siege of darkness
What whisper to their football thunders.
Vanishing to shrouds of sunlight?

Let not man speak of justice, guilt
Far away, blood-stained in their
Tens of thousands, hands that damned.
These wretches to the pit triumph
But here, alone the solitary deed.

This poem compared to Moremi poem is totally absorbed by the reader. Always the master of word sounds and images, i agree with critics that in the end he is a very uneven poet. His works are always filled with high language, but too often his abstractionism leaves me the reader (and I consider myself a decent reader after over 50 years of poetry reading) totally lost.

It does not take a lifetime of work to make a poet the leader of a generation, just a few great poems will do. Certainly "Hanging Day" is among them. But it is surprising how much of his work defies accessibility to the common reader. Another way to put it...Everyone seems to know the name and legend of Soyinka, but how many have actually read and enjoyed his work? As opposed to say a Neruda, whose poetry is well known to so many in South America, as well as his politics and humanity.
Any thoughts?

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

DEDICATION TO MOREMI
Soyinka, in the midst of Nigeria's independence considers the many events occurring in his life like the birth of his daughter and the opening of Nigeria's first National park .Soyinka writes through several tenses that one can read the poem through. One being a nurturing tone for his daughter as well as one of protectiveness over the earth and its resources .The earth can be seen as a symbol of the daughter and the daughter can be seen as a symbol of the earth.Soyinka gives advice to his daughter through innumerable similes and metaphors about the earth and the way in which it functions .He says "My child your tongue arch to scorpion tail, spit straight and return to danger's threats yet coo with the brown pidgeon , tendril dews between your lips.This is Soyinka's example of telling his daughter to be sharp and dangerous like a scorpion , but also to be nurturing , gentle and kind , like a pidgeon.He is clearly displaying the paternal qualities that he imparts on his daughter in a similar fashion to be protective of their new park .He wraps up the poem with the thought that in the same way we rely so heavily upon the earth ,we too must let the earth rely upon us .We must give back to the earth the way it gives to us.

That was quite enlightening. Great use of symbolism, way above my head. There is something to be said about a true work of poetry being "explained" in a way that does not diminish the poem but enhances it.
Not for the amateur reader. I'm learning a lot of Soyinka's poems are extremely demanding, and others more direct and accessible. He cannot be dismissed because of the control he has of the mages and the language. I suspect he was influenced also by Dylan Thomas among others. He too uses a supremely charged language.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Thanks so much Eumolpus am glad you found it enlightening.I doubt if he was actually influenced by Dylan Thomas, because in one of his interviews he claimed he was not influenced by anyone.If I can remember now I think he said he was only influenced by his Yoruba culture and he made mention of his uncle, I can't remember what it was about him now though.Thanks once again, Eumolpus.

Workshops are structured so that poems can be posted separately and linked to the workshop.

Andrew built the workshops, it is quite an elegant structure. Workshop threads become unmanageably long, confusing and daunting if poems are posted on the thread itself, The poems become inadequately discussed and critiqued. So any poems posted for the workshop are posted to the Stream, with the workshop option selected so that they automatically link to the workshop. Thus all comments on the poem specifically have their own thread on the poem's page, as usual, but they can all be referenced from the workshop page, keeping this page clear for more focussed discussion on issues.

Please trust me on this, the thread becomes daunting in length, confused, misleading and it severely limits feedback.

So to post a poem for discussion in this workshop post as you would normally one of your own poems with 'Submit a poem' but before saving scroll right down to the bottom, you will see a box titled 'Workshop' with a dropdown, click the dropdown and select 'Poets of West Africa in English'.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

Alright Jess , Noted.

already posted here and post them as I described above

Already one poet is confused and critique is limited.

Just click edit, cut and paste the poem for discussion in this workshop post as you would normally one of your own poems with 'Submit a poem' but before saving scroll right down to the bottom, you will see a box titled 'Workshop' with a dropdown, click the dropdown and select 'Poets of West Africa in English'.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

After cut and paste to poem with normal submit process, I scroll down and click the Workshop box i don't see the Poets of WA..
not sure what I could be doing incorrectly...

Right now I'm trying to build a website of my work. It is a supreme hassle, connecting to cloud..
I am so fucking bad at this. I just finished a new poem, "Dirty old man" C'est Moi.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

On the right of the little 'Workshop' box which says '-None-' is a little down arrow, click that and top of the list is 'Open to new participants - Poets of West Africa in English', click that
Sometimes Neopoet is a lttle slow updating
It's there, I just checked.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

After the poem is pasted in the new submit page, I hit the workshop box which says "none" , the only two choices I have is:
concluded: IMAGERY IN POETRY
concluded: Meter, the workshop
:(

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Did that fix it?

If not we have to try a few other things.
What browser are you using? If Internet Explorer or Edge do a full back up then install one of the others, I prefer Firefox, reload your Bookmarks/Favourites and try again. If one of the others, similarly do a full back up Chrome, Firefox, Safari? Whichever, do a full backup, untinstall then re-install and reload Bookmarks favourites.
Bet you $3.50 that fixes the problem.

If you do't know how to do that we'll set up a time and I'll run through it with you via webcam. OK?

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

I think you guys are not taking it slow. The workshop is as complicated as Wole. Soyinka is not the best Nigerian Poet. He's rather a Playwright and a Novelist than a poet...

Hommies

Post the poems separately to the workshop as I have described above.
Then we can take the time to focus on each poem and to discuss issues in the workshop.

Any poems already posted on this thread should be edited, removed and re-posted with a link to the workshop by ticking the workshop link when posting it.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

Post the poems separately to the workshop as I have described above.
Then we can take the time to focus on each poem and to discuss issues in the workshop.

Any poems already posted on this thread should be edited, removed and re-posted with a link to the workshop by ticking the workshop link when posting it.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

Thanks so much for your comment! This I need to know, and to help guide this workshop for discovery.
In America the only Nigerian poet mentioned is Soyinka, probably because of the Nobel Prize and the actual rather striking and memorable presence of the man. So many of the poets from the region list him as a favorite poet along with non African poets. So I am working on the assumption that he is the Walt Whitman of the neighborhood, and thought to start the discussion there.

Who are the top Nigerian poets to you. Can you recommend a few poems.

Much appreciated!!

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Wonderful.... I've been looking forward to this workshop. Hope I am not too late yet (being so occupied with office work lately). Wole Soyinka happens to be one of my biggest influences, particularly because I love cerebral works. So yes, he is by no wise the best poet of most, but almost undeniably the most sophisticated. He condenses so much into his metaphors so masterfully. I think the largest influence he has on poets who study him is the ability to both be pithy and aesthetically create a longing (in the reader) to find fun in unearthing convolutions
But if I could veer a bit from Wole, I have often encountered an almost irreconcilable gap between our poetry and those of the Western world, which stems mostly from cultural variances. For instance, Abiku could never have tasked my mind to comprehend. Although my favourite poem on Abiku is J. P. Clark's; it is just too poignant.

For further reading on Wole, I'd profer TELEPHONE CONVERSATION

so now if you care to post a poem for discussion you will find this workshop option when you post it,

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

That was the poem I opened the workshop with as we were setting up a few weeks back. Going foward now, please offer the names of your preferred poets in the region other the Soyinka, and let's start to look at their work. Any favorite poems THAT YOU FEEL HAS A DISTINCT WEST AFRICAN style? Please post! That is what I'm aiming to find...what is happening in that part of the English speaking world. What makes it unique? It's there, i know it! Just like you have a Rey Lema, Fela Kuti, Angelique Kidjo who are so uniquely West African music.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

The Casualties

The casualties are not only those who are dead.

They are well out of it.

The casualties are not only those who are dead.

Though they await burial by installment.

The casualties are not only those who are lost

Persons or property, hard as it is

To grope for a touch that some

May not know is not there.

The casualties are not only those led away by night.

The cell is a cruel place, sometimes a haven.

No where as absolute as the grave.

The casualties are not only those who started

A fire and now cannot put out. Thousands

Are are burning that have no say in the matter.

The casualties are not only those who are escaping.

The shattered shall become prisoners in

A fortress of falling walls

The casualties are many, and a good member as well

Outside the scenes of ravage and wreck;

They are the emissaries of rift,

So smug in smoke-rooms they haunt abroad,

They do not see the funeral piles

At home eating up the forests.

They are wandering minstrels who, beating on

The drums of the human heart, draw the world

Into a dance with rites it does not know.

The drums overwhelm the guns…

Caught in the clash of counter claims and charges

When not in the niche others left,

We fall.

All casualties of the war.

Because we cannot hear each other speak.

Because eyes have ceased the face from the crowd.

Because whether we know or

Do not the extent of wrongs on all sides,

We are characters now other than before

The war began, the stay-at-home unsettled

By taxes and rumours, the looters for office

And wares, fearful everyday the owners may return.

We are all casualties,

All sagging as are

The cases celebrated for kwashiorkor.

The unforseen camp-follower of not just our war.

Hommies

Hello Drey, Please where is John Pepper Clark from?

Life

Born in Kiagbodo,[1] Nigeria, to an Ijaw father and Urhobo mother, Clark received his early education at the Native Authority School, Okrika (Ofinibenya-Ama), in Burutu LGA (then Western Ijaw) and the prestigious Government College in Ughelli, and his BA degree in English at the University of Ibadan,[2] where he edited various magazines, including the Beacon and The Horn. Upon graduation from Ibadan in 1960, he worked as an information officer in the Ministry of Information, in the old Western Region of Nigeria, as features editor of the Daily Express, and as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. He served for several years as a professor of English at the University of Lagos, a position from which he retired in 1980. While at the University of Lagos he was co-editor of the literary magazine Black Orpheus.[3]

In 1982, along with his wife Ebun Odutola (a professor and former director of the Centre for Cultural Studies at the University of Lagos), he founded the PEC Repertory Theatre in Lagos.

A widely travelled man, Clark has, since his retirement, held visiting professorial appointments at several institutions of higher learning, including Yale and Wesleyan University in the United States.

Hommies

Hello Jess, please should we continue posting poems to this workshop page against your initial order?
Thank you.

Workshops are structured so that poems can be posted separately and linked to the workshop.

Andrew built the workshops, it is quite an elegant structure. Workshop threads become unmanageably long, confusing and daunting if poems are posted on the thread itself, The poems become inadequately discussed and critiqued. So any poems posted for the workshop are posted to the Stream, with the workshop option selected so that they automatically link to the workshop. Thus all comments on the poem specifically have their own thread on the poem's page, as usual, but they can all be referenced from the workshop page, keeping this page clear for more focussed discussion on issues.

Please trust me on this, the thread becomes daunting in length, confused, misleading and it severely limits feedback.

So to post a poem for discussion in this workshop post as you would normally one of your own poems with 'Submit a poem' but before saving scroll right down to the bottom, you will see a box titled 'Workshop' with a dropdown, click the dropdown and select 'Poets of West Africa in English'.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

no matter what I try I get to this thread. I had a few millennial friends try to help out, all this stuff is second nature to them, and they couldn't do better. how shall we proceed at this point?

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Just as Eumylopus said, the Workshop icon keeps showing NONE. But I have posted a poem by Chinua Achebe on the Homepage. We could study that also.

Eumolpus, please. Pardon the typo.

Unless you click on the drop down arrow (like a v) to the right of it, then you will see a long list of workshops, the first of which is 'Open to new participants - Poets of West Africa in English'.

You had not added yourself as a participant, Mark, and I only just now added Osadolor.

Please try again, it has already been noted that posting the poems here does not allow them adequate focussed attention and discussions can become confused.

Don't get discouraged or upset, everything computer-wise is not a 'learning curve' but a 'learning bunch of leaps', once you get it it becomes difficult to understand how you didn't get it before. That is why us 'puter geeks get a reputation as a bunch of arrogant turds, we forget how hard it was to learn before it became so simple.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

LOOK TO THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE SEE-

'Most recent poems
>> View all poems submitted to this workshop'

There you will see all poems properly posted to this workshop.

Please trust me on this, with 10 years running workshops on Neopoet it works much better if poems are deleted from this main thread and posted as a linked workshop as I have described in detail above.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

Wole Soyinka - Biographical as per
The Nobel Foundation 1986
Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria.
After preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, he continued at the University of Leeds, where, later, in 1973, he took his doctorate.
During the six years spent in England, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London 1958-1959.
In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama.
At the same time, he taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife, where, since 1975, he has been professor of comparative literature. In 1960, he founded the theatre group, "The 1960 Masks" and in 1964, the "Orisun Theatre Company", in which he has produced his own plays and taken part as actor.
He has periodically been visiting professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale.
During the civil war in Nigeria, Soyinka appealed in an article for cease-fire.
For this he was arrested in 1967, accused of conspiring with the Biafra rebels, and was held as a political prisoner for 22 months until 1969. Soyinka has published about 20 works: drama, novels and poetry.
He writes in English and his literary language is marked by great scope and richness of words.
As dramatist, Soyinka has been influenced by, among others, the Irish writer, J.M. Synge, but links up with the traditional popular African theatre with its combination of dance, music, and action.
He bases his writing on the mythology of his own tribe-the Yoruba-with Ogun, the god of iron and war, at the centre.
He wrote his first plays during his time in London, The Swamp Dwellers and The Lion and the Jewel (a light comedy), which were performed at Ibadan in 1958 and 1959 and were published in 1963. Later, satirical comedies are The Trial of Brother Jero (performed in 1960, publ. 1963) with its sequel, Jero's Metamorphosis (performed 1974, publ. 1973), A Dance of the Forests (performed 1960, publ.1963), Kongi's Harvest (performed 1965, publ. 1967) and Madmen and Specialists (performed 1970, publ. 1971).
Among Soyinka's serious philosophic plays are (apart from "The Swamp Dwellers") The Strong Breed (performed 1966, publ. 1963), The Road ( 1965) and Death and the King's Horseman (performed 1976, publ. 1975). In The Bacchae of Euripides (1973), he has rewritten the Bacchae for the African stage and in Opera Wonyosi (performed 1977, publ. 1981), bases himself on John Gay's Beggar's Opera and Brecht's The Threepenny Opera. Soyinka's latest dramatic works are A Play of Giants (1984) and Requiem for a Futurologist (1985).
Soyinka has written two novels, The Interpreters (1965), narratively, a complicated work which has been compared to Joyce's and Faulkner's, in which six Nigerian intellectuals discuss and interpret their African experiences, and Season of Anomy (1973) which is based on the writer's thoughts during his imprisonment and confronts the Orpheus and Euridice myth with the mythology of the Yoruba. Purely autobiographical are The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972) and the account of his childhood, Aké ( 1981), in which the parents' warmth and interest in their son are prominent. Literary essays are collected in, among others, Myth, Literature and the African World (1975).
Soyinka's poems, which show a close connection to his plays, are collected in Idanre, and Other Poems (1967), Poems from Prison (1969), A Shuttle in the Crypt (1972) the long poem Ogun Abibiman (1976) and Mandela's Earth and Other Poems (1988).
From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1986, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1987
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/ Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

The Casualties by John Pepper Clark (Poets of West Africa)
https://www.neopoet.com/workshop/poems/casualties-john-pepper-clark-poet...
DEDICATION TO MOREMI by WOLE SOYINKA, Poets of west Africa
https://www.neopoet.com/workshop/poems/dedication-moremi-wole-soyinka-po...
Civilian And Soldier. (Wole Soyinka, Poets of West Africa W/S))
https://www.neopoet.com/workshop/poems/civilian-and-soldier-wole-soyinka...
Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka
https://www.neopoet.com/workshop/poems/telephone-conversation-wole-soyinka
"Abiku" by Wole Soyinka for Poets of West Africa Workshop
https://www.neopoet.com/workshop/poems/abiku-wole-soyinka-poets-west-afr...

which all can be found by clicking the link top right
>> View all poems submitted to this workshop

It's up to you whether to post further poems in the correct manner, as you would a normal poem but choosing the 'Poets of West Africa In English' link before saving.

Or you can continue to post them on this thread but as I said, and as three others have complained, it does not allow for proper commentary and leads to confusion. It is an unholy shitmas.

My suggestion would be to delete the poems from this thread and repost your comments on the appropriate page. I have done so for some already.

Cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Director.
Contact the AC, Richard (themoonman) or myself with any queries or problems.

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