The Interface between Poetry and Therapy in the Nigerian Literary Tradition


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


English Studies


The scholarly exploration of the nexus between Literature and Medicine is a new area of study, which has led to the introduction of literature into the curricular of American medical schools. Despite its advantages at complementing Western medicine, Nigeria is yet to embrace the field of study. This study fills that critical lacuna. Adopting a reading strategy rooted in Psychoanalysis that stresses the utilitarian value of literature, the study reads modern Nigerian poetry in the context of the connection between Literature and Medicine. Hence, poetry collections of three Nigerian poets whose works reflect disease and trauma - Niyi Osundare’s Moonsongs; Tayo Olafioye’s A Stroke of Hope; and Hyginus Ekwuazi’s The Monkey’s Eyes - are purposively selected for this study. Subjecting these texts to detailed descriptive and conceptual analysis make definitive exegetical statements on how these poets engage the interlocking relationship between illness and health.