Gabriel Okara


Gabriel Okara

Collected Poems

Gabriel Okara
Edited and with an introduction by Brenda Marie Osbey

African Poetry Book Series

168 pages


April 2016


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2016


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2016


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Gabriel Okara, a prize-winning author whose literary career spans six decades, is rightly hailed as the elder statesman of Nigerian literature. The first Modernist poet of anglophone Africa, he is best known for The Fisherman’s Invocation (1978), The Dreamer, His Vision (2005), and for his early experimental novel, The Voice (1964).

Arranged in six sections, Gabriel Okara: Collected Poems includes the poet’s earliest lyric verse along with poems written in response to Nigeria’s war years; literary tributes and elegies to fellow poets, activists, and loved ones long dead; and recent dramatic and narrative poems. The introduction by Brenda Marie Osbey contextualizes Okara’s work in the history of Nigerian, African, and English language literatures. Gabriel Okara: Collected Poems is at once a treasure for those long in search of a single authoritative edition and a revelation and timely introduction for readers new to the work of one of Africa’s most revered poets.

Author Bio

Gabriel Okara was born at Bumoundi, Bayelsa State, in the Niger Delta in 1921 and educated at Government College Umuahia in Nigeria and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He worked as a bookbinder and printer for Federal Government Press at Lagos, served as the director of cultural and information services for the short-lived Republic of Biafra, and was the general manager of the Rivers State newspaper and broadcasting corporations. He is an honorary member of the Pan-African Writers’ Association, a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, and is currently writer in residence at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. 

Brenda Marie Osbey is a poet and essayist. Her most recent volumes are History and Other Poems and All Souls: Essential Poems. A native of New Orleans, she is poet laureate emerita of Louisiana and distinguished visiting professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Brenda Marie Osbey    
Part I: The Early Lyrics
The Call of the River Nun    
Once Upon a Time    
Piano and Drums    
Were I to Choose    
Spirit of the Wind    
New Year’s Eve Midnight    
You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed    
The Mystic Drum    
One Night at Victoria Beach    
The Snowflakes Sail Gently Down    
To Paveba    
The Passing of a Year    
The Gambler    
Part II: The Fisherman’s Invocation
1: Introit    
2: The Invocation    
3: The Child-Front    
4: Birth Dance of the Child-Front    
5: The End    
Part III: War Poems
Moods from Songs without Words    
Leave Us Alone    
I Am Only a Name    
The Silent Voice    
Suddenly the Air Cracks    
Metaphor of a War    
Cancerous Growth    
Freedom Day    
Moon in the Bucket    
Flying over the Sahara    
Kindly Sprite    
Rural Path    
Lady and Her Wig    
Silent Girl    
Cross on the Moon    
Rain Lullaby    
Come, Come and Listen    
Dispensing Morning Balm    
To a Star    
Celestial Song    
The Glowering Rat    
The Dead a Spirit Demands    
Christmas 1971    
Welcome Home    
Waiting for Her Son    
Part IV: Revolt of the Gods
Argument I    
Argument II    
Part V: The Dreamer, His Vision
The Dreamer    
Bent Double with Weight    
The Precipice    
Moon Massaged Me to Sleep    
Anthem of Silence    
Complex Matter    
Dispensing Morning Balm    
Setting Sun    
Beauty beyond Words    
Taps Are Dry    
Self Preservation     
The Little Bird    
Smiling Morning    
River Nun—2    
We Live to Kill and Kill to Live    
The Land at Christmas ’93    
Ovation Seeker    
Mass Transit Buses    
Civil Servants    
Smokers’ Wish    
Man Dies, Never Dies    
Part VI: Prayers and Tributes
Give Us Good Leaders    
Talking Nonsense    
Rural Dweller    
Lone Mourner    
Spark in the Sky    
A Prayer     
From Ken to Mike    
Rise and Shine    
Man Polygamous    
Mammy-Water & Me    
Wedding Bells     
To the Lady of the House     
For Ada Udechukwu    
A Boy’s Dream    
Letter to My Grandson     
Babydom Wisdom    
Waiting for a Coming    
Snow over Home of the Newly Wed    
Before I Say Good-Bye (India)     
Moon over Heidelberg    
Salt of the Earth    
Eagle in the Sun    
The Aruzzo Farm House    
We Shared    
Happy Birthday    

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