The Nationalist Imagination in the Third Generation of Nigerian Poetry in English


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


English and Literacy Studies


In his introduction to the seminal anthology “Voices from the Fringe: An ANA Anthology of New Nigerian Poetry” (1988), Harry Garuba announces the emergence of a new generation of Nigerian poets. Their poetry thematizes the military oppression in Nigeria in the 1980s and the 1990s. This research identifies the context, intertextuality, self-reflexivity, and dialogism in this dirge-like poetry, and situates it in the tradition of Nigerian poetry in English to show how the new poetry advances the discourse of nationhood, and how it distinguishes itself as a distinct generational response to a particular historical situation. The analytical focus is on the representative poetry of Remi Raji, Toyin Adewale, Ogaga Ifowodo, Emman Usman Shehu, Abubakar Othman, and Maria Ajima.