THE awaited longlist of 11 poets for this year’s poetry category of The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022 has been announced in a virtual ceremony by the chairperson of the prize’s Advisory Board, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo. The prize is sponsored by Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited. She was flanked by her board members Profs. Olu Obafemi and Ahmed Yerima. The judges for this year are Toyin Adewale-Gabriel and Dike Chukwumerije, with Prof. Emmanuel Egya Sule as jury chair. In total, 287 poetry collections were submitted for the contest, perhaps the largest poetic output in a long while which emphasizes the growing significance of the prize and its awareness.
While announcing the longlist in alphabetical order, Adimora-Ezeigbo also gave a brief insight into the thematic concerns of each work.
According to Adimora-Ezeigbo, “Augusta’s Poodle by Ogaga Ifowodo has the distinct feature of deploying oral tradition, memory and childhood to reflect on the vagaries of life. Coming Undone As Stitches Tighten by Iquo Diana-Abasi has a strong oral poetry and seamless transition from performance to print poetry. James Eze’s dispossessed is distinct with its introspective style with images that build intimacy with the reader. Ife Testament by Segun Adekoya is distinct by its scope coupled with brilliant experimentation in form and style. Memory and the Call of Water by Su’eddie Vershima Agema reflects on life with the metaphor of water. Nomad by Romeo Oriogun has a fresh language and enunciates the theme of exile and displacement.”
Continuing, Adimora-Ezeigbo said, “The Lilt of the Rebel by Obari Gomba, an exceptionally lyrical reflection on diverse social issues. The Love Canticles by Amu Nnadi exhibits elevated language in its engagement with the powerful theme of love. Wanderer Cantos by Remi Raji engages a medley of public and private issues, experiments with diverse forms as well as indigenous. Yawns and Belches by Joe Ushie has fresh metaphors and Your Crib, My Qibla by Sadiq Dzukogi translates tragedy into lyrical poetry with pathos and effortless imageries.”
A shortlist of three poets and their poetry collections will be out in September while a possible winner be unveiled in October, Adimora-Ezeigbo concluded.