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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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Otosirieze Nnaemekaram is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. 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 cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories and is working on a 600-page novel. When bored, he 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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