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Gabriel Okara (Gabriel Inomotimi Gbaingbain Okara) Biography

(1921– ), (Gabriel Inomotimi Gbaingbain Okara), Black Orpheus, Fisherman's Invocation, The Voice

nigerian government poetry college

Nigerian poet and novelist, born in Bumoundi in the Niger delta, educated at Government College, Umuahia, Yaba Higher College, and Northwestern University, USA. He became a book-binder, and wrote plays and features for broadcasting. Later, he was employed as Information Officer for the Eastern Nigerian Government Service. Together with Chinua Achebe, and at the time of the Nigerian Civil War, he was roving ambassador for Biafra's cause during part of 1969. His poetry appeared in Black Orpheus and major anthologies for many years, before the publication of his first collection, Fisherman's Invocation (1978; Commonwealth Poetry Prize, 1979), which is partly based on the Ijaw oral tradition. The Voice (1964), a short novel which experiments with rendering Ijaw speech patterns into English, made a great impact in its depiction of the doomed ‘hero’ Okolo, a charismatic and prophetic figure, undergoing Kafkaesque trials in his quest for truth and integrity (it) in the modern world.

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about 6 years ago

I read the poem "Once Upon A Time" sometime in 1975 in an Indian daily and ever since I am searching for the poem. I forgot the name of the poet but knew he is from the African continent. I just chanced upon his poem and this bio. I am using this poem as for my 400th Blog post of translations from English to my mothr tongue Telugu, the second largest spoken language in India.