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This exclusive piece of spoken-word poetry by Nigerian poet and filmmaker Wana Udobang is a special treat for lovers of African poetry.

In the poem, titled “The Banquet,” Udobang uses the celebratory and pleasure-giving power of food as imagery to express feminine self-renewal.

Seeing that yesterday was Mother’s Day (in the US), the poem is a great way to keep us in the mood of celebrating womanhood.

For maximum effect, listen to the poem while you read.

Read. Leave a comment. Stay inspired!


Never discard the bones.
Boil them till the marrow slips and melts on your tongue.
Nothing about you is useless

Soften your heart.
You need to be tender enough to soak up the flavours, temper enough to mop up the juice.
You needn’t be hard to swallow

Revel in your beauty.
There is something about texture and tone that make for a gastronomic feast.
You are stunning.

Adorn your flesh like silk.
Let it drape you, cascade over your shoulders, mould around your breast, fold itself between your vulva, sliding down your thighs, hugging your calves, as it gently covers your feet, dripping on your toes.
Hold your head high and waltz like the belle of the ball.
You are a feast for every eye.

Take your time.
You need to marinade, mould and mature.
A stew from your mother’s clay pot is never made in a day.
You needn’t be rushed.

Renew your spirit,
Prayers and the tender embers that simmer to perfection
Blow lightly; you need not scream.
He hears your heart speak.

Take the first bite.
Please yourself, love yourself, feed yourself.

Regrets will ruin the broth.

Let go.
Bitterness share no room with exquisite flavours.

Keep the leftovers.
They make for worthwhile memories, besides there is always a lesson to learn.



Post image by @akefestival

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

5 Responses to “The Banquet | by Wana Udobang | African Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Damusca 2016/05/09 at 06:48 #

    I love this

  2. Hannah Onoguwe 2016/05/09 at 06:56 #

    “Let it drape you, cascade over your shoulders, mould around your breast, fold itself between your vulva, sliding down your thighs, hugging your calves, as it gently covers your feet, dripping on your toes.”

    These lines made me gulp. Beautiful imagery. Words that beg you to read them again and again.

  3. Nana Yaa Asantewaa 2016/05/13 at 11:35 #

    Delicious poetry.

  4. Nana Yaa Asantewaa 2016/05/13 at 11:38 #

    Delicious poetry.
    I’ll take my time to simmer

    time enough to brown like the earth under the sun

  5. jimi zartan 2016/05/31 at 07:40 #

    That’s so beautiful, my pen is envious

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