The core elements are similarities or continuities of African ontology, teleology, semiology and narratology. Concepts and notions of creativity and performance, ritual and festive models were translocated to the new world during slavery and these elements helped our people to negotiate new identities and create new syncretic cultures. We see some of these elements of African orality in the works of Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, the music of blues and jazz musicians and most vividly in the African-American gospel music and worshipping style - a direct echo of our indigenous ritual performance, invocations, chants, ululations, yodelling, etc. Nnorom:
In a sense, Africans in the Diaspora, have, perhaps made greater and more creative use of African orature in the new world, than the bone-gnawers left behind who only drink Guinness and eat peppersoup and cannot translate Things Fall Apart into Igbo since 1958. Skunks of the intellectual universe.
The art of poetry seems to constantly need redefinition, meaning different things to different people at any one time as people exercise their poetic licences and experiment with forms. If you were required to propose a definition of poetry, what would it be?
Poetry is the energy that moves the world. It is that inexplicable force that brought the universe into being and which will also destroy it. The Ocean has its own poetry. The desert as a well. The forest. Crowds. Politics. Cities. Towns. Villages. Football. Basket ball. Religion. Sex. Murder. Love. Food. Academics, all have their own poetry. An African market (not supermarket) is the finest example of true poetry.
Poetry is not verse. Verse is the linguistic residue of poetry. Orature is the most valid and most accessible and most universal as well as relevant form of human poetry. Not Verse. Verse is for eggheads, intellectual runts and middleclass cunts. Orature is what is used to regulate the world from Gregorian chants to through Ohafia War Songs to Rap.
Poetry, by definition, is that phenomenal fusion of music and imagery that creates life and propels life forward in the world. It is a regenerative dynamic that is reflected not only in human language/speech and writing but also in the heave and swell of the ocean, the wind in the trees, the seasons and their verses of leaves with changing colours. Life and death. The child's first cry. The last breath. Life and Death. Metaphysics. Verse is our vain human attempt to capture this force, this magic, this occult force. The best poets in every culture go as near as they can towards this mystery through written and oral crafts. But poetry, real poetry, can only be found in the speech of nature, the power of landscapes, the terror of the dark, the forest and its hallucinations, when Amadioha, the god of thunder, clears his throat and voice, sexual intercourse with its bizarre noises screams and ridiculous positions.