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The American publisher Animal Heart Press has released an anthology of Nigerian poetry. Titled Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry and edited by Adedayo Agarau, it collects work by most of the notable voices in Nigerian poetry, including Sky Raining Fists author J.K. Anowe and fellow Brittle Paper Award for Poetry winner Itiola Jones, A Woman’s Body Is a Country author Dami Ajayi, Brunel Prize winner Gbenga Adesina, Mannequin in the Nude author Logan February, Brittle Paper Award for Poetry finalists Chisom Okafor and Wale Ayinla, The Book of God author Ejiofor Ugwu, Brittingham Prize winner D.M. Aderibigbe, A Small Silence author Jumoke Verissimo, and Sillerman Prize finalists Okwudili Nebeolisa, Nome Emeka Patrick, and O-Jeremiah Agbaakin.

The anthology was released on March 30, 2020. Here is a description:

Nigeria—a country of contrasts. Incredible beauty. Incredible pain. Love, loss, facelessness and the struggle for identity. From this study in contrasts comes a collection of poems from established and emerging contemporary Nigerian voices. Surprising, bittersweet, lilting, angry, and mournful in turns, this anthology captures the vast poetic talent that has its roots in Nigeria’s soil.

Also featured are Daisy Odey, Bola Opaleke, Ojo Taiye, Pamilerin Jacob, Olajide Salawu, Njoku Nonso S., Su’eddie Vershima Agema, Anointing Obuh, Jide Badmus, Hussain Ahmed, Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu, Pèlúmi Sàlàkó, Rabiu Temidayo, Adesina Ajala, Jakky Bankong-Obi, Precious Okpechi, Abdulbaseet Yusuff, Precious Arinze, Ayobami Adesina, Shade Mary-Ann Olaoye, Sadiq Abdulsalam Adeiza, Onyedikachi Chinedu, Olakitan Aladesuyi, Ernest O. Ògúnyemí, Tobi Abiodun, Goodness Olanrewaju Ayoola, Mayowa Martins Oyewale, Chukwunonso S. Nzewi, Temiloluwa Okanmiyo Oluyemi, Som Adedayor, Hussani Abdulrahim, Adeniran Joseph, Dipe Jola, Michael Akuchie, and Kolawole Samuel Adebayo.

Adedayo Agarau - credit to Dirk Skiba

Adedayo Agarau. Photo credit: Dirk Skiba.

The anthology’s editor Adedayo Agarau is a poet, documentary photographer, and human nutritionist. His debut poetry chapbook, The Arrival of Rain, was published this year by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. His second chapbook, The Origin of Name, is forthcoming in African Poetry Book Fund’s New-Generation African Poets box set.

We will be publishing the Foreword to the anthology later in the week.

BUY Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry HERE.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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