ISBN 9789785468847
Pages 114
Dimensions 216 x 140mm
Published 2018
Publisher Manila Publishers Company, Nigeria
Format Paperback

The Heresiad. Song of Reason

Operatic Poetry

by Ikeogu Oke

The Heresiad by Ikeogu Oke was the 2017 winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literature. The poet employs the epic form in questioning power and freedom and probes metaphorically the inner workings of societies and those who shape them. the book speaks to an intense commitment to innovation, tenacity, joyful experimentation and social commentary in a way that provokes delight and engagement.

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In The Heresiad Ikeogu Oke has set himself a lofty task: a defence of literature against cant and its attendant forces that daily seek to limit the sphere of what is beautiful and possible. He achieves this beautifully in what he describes as “operatic poetry”, a bold mixture of verse and song and drama, contained within a disciplined lyrics; pentameric form. In line after line one is startled by Ikeogu Oke’s clarity and depth of thought, and one is remind of why we need poetry and poets in our world. The is a remarkable and ground-breaking achievement.

Helon Habila, winner of the Caine Prize and the Wyndham Campbell Prize

Reading Ikeogu Oke one is made aware that the map of literature knows no boundaries. The Heresiad with its Biblical cadences sings with prophecy, wisdom and lament. The poet explores varied themes including censorship, the single-minded madness of extreme religious fundamentalism and the very nature of scepticism and independent thought. Mr Oke handles heroic couplets like a master swordsman, whose rapier thrusts both provoke and excite. Thought is never a stagnant pool in this poet’s world.

Don Burness, Author of Red Flowers in the Sand
About the Author

Ikeogu Oke

Ikeogu Oke won the 2017 Nigeria Prize for Literature with The Heresiad, is book of epic poetry. His poems and other writings have appeared in journals, anthologies and other publications worldwide. He has performed his poems at various fora in Nigeria, South Africa and the United States, including as a special performance poet guest of Brown University in 2014. He graduated with a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar and an MA in Literature from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 2010, Nadine Gordimer, the winner of the 1991 Noble Prize in Literature, selected Salutes without Guns, his second collection of poems, as her Book of the Year for the Times Literary Supplement

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