On Saturday, December 14, 2019, Awka, the capital of Anambra State will see literary fireworks as some of Africa’s finest writers and scholars gather to welcome Dispossessed, a collection of poems by James Eze.
The Graduate Programme Coordinator at the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, Prof. Nduka Otiono has confirmed that he would be on hand to provide what he called, Biocritical Reflections on Dispossessed.
Otiono’s intervention at the launch is expected to further distill the intense imageries trapped in the pages of dispossessed for a deeper appreciation by audiences not usually enthused by poetry.
His writing career is laden with fruits. The author and co-editor of six books, Otiono won ANA/Spectrum Prize for Fiction with his debut collection of short stories titled, The Night Hides with a Knife, and quickly followed it up with a poetry collection titled, Voices in the Rainbow which earned Honorable Mention for the ANA/Cadbury Poetry Prize. His second collection of poems, Love in a Time of Nightmares, won him the James Patrick Folinsbee Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing.
Happily, the faculty and students of the Department of English and Literature Studies of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Anambra State, shall be beneficiaries of Otiono’s acclaimed knowledge during his visit for the presentation of Dispossessed. The twice-winner of a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship shall be teaching a Master Class in Creative Writing at the university to wrap up activities marking the formal introduction of dispossessed to the public.
To Helon Habila, winner of both the Caine Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize who also teaches creative writing at George Mason University, USA, dispossessed is “a promise fulfilled…what we all want from great poetry: lyricism, captivating imagery, storytelling but above all, the ability to rouse the emotions to that sublime plane only great poetry knows how to do.”
To Olu Oguibe, renowned artist, poet, and recipient of the Governor of the State of Connecticut’s Award for excellence and lifetime achievement, “of all the joys that one must take from Eze’s poetry, the most obvious, perhaps, is his easy command of imagery. There are many images in these poems.”
And then to Okey Ndibe, former professor at Bard College and Brown University, all in the US, who is also a celebrated novelist, essayist and journalist, dispossessed is “an act of restoration, reminding us that art – and poetry, specifically – challenges us to dream and achieve our best humanity.”