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Days ago, in an exciting music-meets-poetry move, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo shared this photo of herself, a self-described search for Senegal’s poet-president Leopold Sedar Senghor. One of the continent’s most important intellectuals of the 20th century, Senghor, who passed on in 2001, was a leader of the Negritude movement.

Kidjo is leaning on the railing of the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, a footbridge over the River Seine in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. Formerly called the Passerelle Solférino, or pont de Solférino, the bridge was renamed after Senghor on 9 October 2006, to mark the centenary of his birth. Kidjo captioned the photo: “In Paris tonight, searching for the spirit of the poet Leopold Sedar Senghor.”

Yet it looks like we already found our muse.

So which Seghor poem does this photo remind you of? “I Will Pronounce Your Name”? “Night in Sine”? “In Memoriam”? “Midnight Elegy”?

Good to know that our pre-eminent diva loves the poet we love.

Leopold Sedar Senghor.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young

Otosirieze Obi-Young was born in Aba, Nigeria, and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, his short stories include: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Deputy Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

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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.

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