Odia Ofeimun Biography
(1950– ), Opon Ifa, Guardian, Poems of Black Africa, The Poet Lied, A Handle for the Flutist
Nigerian poet, born in Pruekpon in the Bendel State of Western Nigeria, educated at the University of Ibadan, where he began contributing verse to the magazine Opon Ifa. He was personal assistant to the Nigerian politican Chief Obafemi Awolo before joining the editorial board of the Lagos Guardian and subsequently became general secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors. In 1989 he left Nigeria to work with Adzido, the leading African dance company in Britain. Following the appearance of his work in Poems of Black Africa (1975), edited by Wole Soyinka, Ofeimun generated considerable controversy with his first collection of verse, The Poet Lied (1981; revised and enlarged, 1989), which condemned the platitudinous attitudes of established Nigerian writers. His poetry is characterized by a fusion of emotional commitment and political intensity. Its rhetorical and imaginative force are often accompanied by an underlying good humour. A Handle for the Flutist, his second collection, appeared in 1986.