By Godwin Okondo
EMERGING poet and cultural producer, Samuel Osaze, will unveil his new collection of poems Der Falsche Mond von Yenagoa /The Strange Moon of Yenagoa to the public on June 25, 2022 at the Goethe-Institut Nigeria. Venue is 7b, Anifowoshe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. Time is 12:00 prompt. Osaze’s book launch is also the inaugural edition of a new programme of the Goethe-Institut Nigeria, the Goethe-Institut Readers’ Corner, a new project that marks the institute’s 60 years of promoting German language in Nigeria and Nigerian culture and her culture producers.
Der Falsche Mond von Yenagoa/The Strange Moon of Yenagoa is a collection of old and new poems published in German and English by Akono Verlag, Leipzig (Germany). As part of the launch, there will be an engaging conversation between the poet and the journalist and writer, Anote Ajeluorou (author of children’s book, Igho Goes to Farm and new poetry collection, Libations for Africa). The discourse will focus on issues about the Niger Delta region, with unrelenting oil exploitation that continues to despoil the ecosystem and impact negatively on the people, since the discovery of oil in the 1950s.
Osaze and Ajeluorou will also delve into other thematic concerns in the collection like police brutality and the performative nature of African oral literature and how the past could be used to shape the present. How are the past and present coalesce to forge a truly independent and self-reliant Africa?
“Samuel Osaze’s book of poetry The Strange Moon of Yenagoa is the poetry debut of Akono Verlag,” says founder/CEO of Akono Verlag, Jona Krutzfeld. “The book has caused much admiration and emotion among us at the publishing house and the German readership. We are all the more pleased that, through the support of the Goethe-Institut Nigeria, the book can now be presented to its original readership. We wish Samuel Osaze continued success for his important poetry which comments on contemporary Nigeria in an evocative way.”
In a statement ahead of the unveiling last week, Osaze said that many of the poems in the collection equally cast light on the new trajectory in his creative sojourn as a poet and culture advocate. “Besides writing poetry of protestation, the need to use poetry as a bastion for documenting culture has also arisen,” he said.
Citing UNESCO’s forecast of endangered minority languages, the poet said some languages are threatened by extinction, “in particular are the minority languages like the Esan ethnic stock, of Edo State, Nigeria where I hail from. Since language is the vehicle through which culture is transmitted, you will find out that some of the poems here are literally reservoirs of some cultural practices that are near extinction, and again there is a deliberate infusion of the flora and fauna, folktales, songs and the rich oral tradition of the Esan people in my poetry, This is a conscious effort aimed at contributing my quota to the quest to rescue a dying culture.”
Osaze further said The Strange Moon of Yenagoa also dwells on the 2020 protest by Nigerian youths against police brutality (#EndSARS) and the way the peaceful protesters were violently dispersed by the Nigerian Army. He said the killing of protesting youths sent a widespread feeling of shock across the globe and reaffirmed government’s unkind treatment of her young ones. According to him, “What is now known as the Lekki massacre of October 20, 2020 will continue to reverberate and gain sustained currency in the Nigeria literary ecosystem.”
In its inaugural edition, Goethe-Institut Readers’ Corner is conceived to serve as a point of convergence for writers, journalists and creatives in general. It’s an interactive platform where meaningful dialogue and other intellectual engagements capable of having positive influence on the society are held on a quarterly basis.
Osaze’s The Strange Moon of Yenagoa, translated from English into German by a seasoned German international journalist— Andrea Jeska, is available for sale in Europe, Nigeria and online platforms.
To participate in the event, kindly click here to register.