In 2018, the Nigerian poet Romeo Oriogun was named an Institute of International Education Artist Protection Fund Fellow and a Harvard Scholars at Risk Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. During the fellowship, Oriogun was expected to complete a volume of work titled The Rise of Queer Voices in African Literature. While we await the book, Oriogun is set to publish his debut collection of poetry, Sacrament of Bodies, with the University of Nebraska Press.

Here is a description of the collection from the publisher’s website:

In Sacrament of Bodies Romeo Oriogun interrogates what it means to be queer, male, and Nigerian. In this groundbreaking work, Oriogun seeks to understand how a queer man can heal in a society where everything is designed to prevent such restoration. He explores the paradox of death ending pain while leaving the living with unanswered questions and reflects on the role class plays in survival and the father-son relationship. Ultimately, Oriogun’s poems deal with grief and how the body finds survival through migration.

Sacrament of Bodies examines queerness in Nigerian society, masculinity, and the place of memory in grief and survival.

For a full table of contents, click here.

Sacrament of Bodies follows Oriogun’s three chapbooks: Burnt Men (2016), The Origin of Butterflies (2018), and Museum of Silence (2019). Oriogun’s poems have also appeared in Prairie Schooner, Connotation Press, The Dissident Blog, and Brittle Paper. He was the the recipient of an Ebedi International Writers Residency Fellowship and the 2017 winner of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize. His poetry was described by Brunel Prize judges as “deeply passionate, shocking, imaginative, complex, and ultimately beautiful explorations of masculinity, sexuality, and desire in a country that does not recognize LGBT rights.”

Sacrament of Bodies will be published as part of the University of Nebraska Press’s African Poetry Book Series, helmed by Kwame Dawes. To pre-order the collection, click here.

Congratulations to Romeo Oriogun!


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post wrongly stated that Sacrament of Bodies is Oriogun’s Harvard Fellowship work.