Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi (1972-2019)

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Nduka A. Otiono, Uchechukwu P Umezurike
Daraja Press, Jan 27, 2020 - Poetry - 332 pages

Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi is an assemblage of original some 200 poems written by 127 established and emerging African writers. While some of the poets celebrate Pius Adesanmi, who died in the doomed Ethiopian Airline flight on March 10, 2019, others philosophically reflect on existence, mortality, immortality and/or offer hope for the living. In this memorably textured collection, the poets--who knew (or did not know the poet)--exorcise the pains of loss through provocative poems that pour out their beating hearts with passion.

"This historic collection of poems by esteemed and budding writers from across the African continent and beyond seeks to confront the ephemerality of life with the permanence of art; it is a testament to the power of poetry to turn grief into art. As WH Auden would have said, these poems start the healing fountains in the deserts of the mourning heart." --Harry Garuba, Professor and poet, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

"Richly evocative and engaging, this powerful collection of poems from the heart is a magnificent tribute that emblazons the essence of Pius Adesanmi--joy, love, laughter, wit, brilliance, erudition, nomadism, commitment--whose life was a long poem of peerless beauty; a melodious song of the breeze and birds of the savannah; an elegant dance to the rhythms of Africa; a resplendent sun that refuses to set.." --Obioma Nnaemeka, Chancellor's Professor, Indiana University, Indianapolis, USA, and President, Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS).

"Wreaths for a Wayfarer is written in divinely eloquent verses--to drums, gongs, flutes and songs--by citizens of the world of words, in whose hearts the Wayfarer lives. It is an assemblage of kindred tongues creating and recreating a new future from an unrelieved past and denounced present--around the archetypal wayfarer. This collection . . . is a rare accomplishment. I doubt if this can be surpassed. I may have, but I cannot recall it, of a single volume thrust upon my hapless laps . . .with such a climate of paradoxes--a synthetic Mass of threnody, elegy, requiems and hope, rebirth and redemption around a single living-dead--Pius Adebola Adesanmi. Igi dagbara j'eno otin (A lone log that brews a pot of corn wine to intoxicating ferment...)" --Olu Obafemi, Professor of English and Dramatic Literature, Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (FNAL), and recipient of the Nigeria National Order of Merit (NNOM).

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About the author (2020)

Nduka Otiono is a writer, Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator at the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University. Prior to turning to academia, he was for many years a journalist in Nigeria. His works have appeared in Journal of Folklore Research, African Literature Today, Journal of African Cinema, Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, Wasafiri, etc. His co-edited volume of essays, Polyvocal Bob Dylan: Music, Performance, Literature was recently published under the imprint of Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Music and Literature Series. Otiono is winner of a Capital Educator's Award for Excellence in Teaching, a Carleton University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Early Career Award for Research Excellence, twice winner of the Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship, and a 2018 Black History Ottawa Community Builder Award. Also a writer, he is the author of The Night Hides with a Knife (short stories), which won the ANA/Spectrum Prize; Voices in the Rainbow (Poetry), a finalist for the ANA/Cadbury Poetry Prize; Love in a Time of Nightmares (Poetry) for which he was awarded the James Patrick Folinsbee Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing. He has co-edited We-Men: An Anthology of Men Writing on Women (1998), and Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria (2006).

Uchechukwu Umezurike is a PhD Candidate and Vanier Scholar in the English and Film Studies department of the University of Alberta, Canada. An Alumnus of the International Writing Program (USA), he has participated in residencies in India, Switzerland, and Italy. His poem "there's more" won the 2019 National Norma Epstein Foundation Award for Creative Writing. He was one of the winners of the the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 2006 and 2008. His children's books Sam and the Wallet and The Runaway Hero have been shortlisted and longlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2007 and 2011 respectively. His creative writing has appeared in the following publications: The Lamp, Evergreen Review, Onomonresoa, On Broken Wings, Long Story Short, Dream Chasers, Migrations, Lagos of the Poets, Washington Square Review, African Roar, Daughters of Eve and Other Stories, Works in Progress & Other Stories, and Weaverbird Collection (2008), to name a few. His critical writing has appeared in Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, Postcolonial Text, Journal of African Cultural Studies, Cultural Studies, Journal of African Literature Association, and African Literature Today.

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