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Shadrach and Other Poems

Saturday 2 July 2011, author(s)-editor(s) Oka Obono

The story of how the poems in this collection survived an inferno at the University of Ibadan will have to be told someday in a full-bodied narrative. Mostly written by 1995, the poems constitute an emotional biography, or a loose personal chronicle of events and contemplations occurring in a particularly fiery period in the author’s life. Often the products of extreme inner excoriations, they remain germane to a reading of his subsequent philosophical transitions and current commitments. The reader of Shadrach and Other Poems will readily detect, and enjoy, the springs from which the themes of the verses flow from candid intimate reflections that underscore their authenticity to specifically public and numinous encounters that suggest the boundlessness of their source.

The Shadrach idea - a telling image of trial - is the poet’s choice of a redeeming metaphor that indicates the triumph of the human spirit over temporal setbacks and its indictment of forces falsely proclaiming their permanence. In this way, Oka Obono reminds us that humour, gravity and imagination are indispensable to us as we make peace with chance and providence in an uncertain world. He throws open the experience of a convoluted journey, and invites us to recollect our own histories within its subterranean passages. This is the charm of these poems. The material will resonate with readers who have been in varying kinds of ’ontological crucibles’. They will endorse the redemption waiting at the end of every tunnel - even if that came through the ’labyrinth of a promised furnace’.

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ISBN 9789956717170 | 140 pages | 203 x 127 mm | 2011 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback