‘Gbenga Adeoba. Credit: Brunel Prize.

The Nigerian poet ‘Gbenga Adeoba has his debut full-length collection forthcoming in March 2020. Titled Exodus, the 78-page book, which won the 2019 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, comes with a foreword by African Poetry Book Fund editor Kwame Dawes, and will be released through the University of Nebraska Press’ African Poetry Book Series. One of the leaders of the renaissance in Nigerian poetry, the outstanding Adeoba, who was shortlisted for the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, is an editor at 20.35 Africa, the anthology series pushing institutional boundaries in the poetry landscape,

Here is a description of Exodus:

Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry, ‘Gbenga Adeoba’s collection Exodus focuses on forms of migration due to the slave trade, war, natural disasters, and economic opportunities.

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Using the sea as a source of language and metaphor, Adeoba explores themes of memory, transition, and the intersections between the historic and the imagined. With great tenderness and power his poetry of empathy searches for meaning in sharply constructed images, creating scenes of making and unmaking while he investigates experiences of exile and displacement across time and place.

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Born in Nigeria, Adeoba is currently a graduate fellow at the University of Iowa. His debut chapbook, Here Is Water, appears in the African Poetry Book Fund’s New-Generation African Poets Series. His work has been published in Oxford PoetryPleiadesSalamanderPoet LoreAfrican American Review, and Prairie Schooner.

Exodus also comes with a blurb by Alicia Ostriker, New York state poet laureate and author of Waiting for the Light:

There is both passion and beauty in Adeoba’s work, framed by what seems an acute sense of the power of language to capture reality. To capture and reveal truth, shrouded in all its scars, alive somehow with hope. History demands that images of drowning surge through Adeoba’s Exodus. The Mediterranean is ‘a grave wide enough for the numbers,’ we too ‘could become a band of unnamed migrants / found floating on the face of the sea,’ and ‘you could find trinket boxes or a girl’s / plastic doll in that rubble. . . . / The tiny things are heavier.’

Yet the poet can still imagine shorebirds’ songs ‘urging men to love again, calling / them to images craving tenderness.’ For poetry too is a tiny thing, and a heavy one.

Pre-order ‘Gbenga Adeoba’s Exodus HERE.