Writers' Forum

Q: Propriety of Poetic Imagery


Won't your flight to Grecian myths (Prometheus, et al) seem far-fetched and alien considering that you had the choices of comparison between Ken Saro Wiwa's fate and the fate of others either in your locale or African neighbourhood such as Okigbo of your country or Steve Biko of South Africa?



This is a good question. There is no doubting the fact that we have enough heroes and martyrs in Africa to use as reference points in writing such as this. I am usually conscious of this. However, I also believe that literature is like a sea, which takes in water from many rivers, rivulets and streams. Once the water from these tributaries enters the sea or ocean, it becomes common property of all men, and all can fish in itů. In this case, I think of the image that is most apt for my immediate need. First, I explore for the African image, if it is not sufficient, I would go for an alternative. I would be concerned with the image that gives me the greatest tellability ratio, not necessarily the most African. This does not make me Eurocentric, I suppose, because I've come to know that my strength, even as a writer, is in my Africanness, and in my African indigenous language.