In Memoriam of a Modest Shame by Nnaemeka Oruh has hit the bookshelves courtesy of Baron’s Café, an avant-garde imprint of Fairchild Media. The 87-paged debut collection of poems engages several tropes from a penetrable observance of a bard, said a statement from the publisher.
“Oruh’s work impresses upon the reader an openness, an untrammeled bluntness against oppressors of social and economic imbalances in an age where the young is lost in his voyage across the gulf of defining the meaning of life in Nigeria,” said the statement.
Some of Oruh’s work are exchanges between the contemporary poetry of his generation and the works of great bards like Okot P’Bitek, Oswald Mtshali, and the environmental engagement of Tanure Ojaide, the force of poetic tensions known with Obari Gomba. In this landscape of poets, he carves a niche for himself, as a hybrid; one who has encountered all of these, as well as Tupac and Kendrick Lamar.
Nwilo Bura Bari, author of the collection of Short Stories, A Tiny Place Called Happiness noted that “You will find an Oruh who is influenced by the late American rapper and civil rights activist, Tupac Amaru Shakur, and the one who studied African Literature. The poems are beautiful where they are, and experimental at other places. This is a memorable start for any poet.”
In Memoriam of a Modest Shame, the statement said, also uses satire and metaphor to expose personal and collective shame that has been circumscribed as a way of life, especially in aspects of gender, religion and governance.
“He whips sentiment against poor democratic institutions, tribalism and nepotism while he intentional archives current shocking events that are being normalised by their perpetual repetition. Oruh’s voice is rejuvenating because his work, In Memoriam of a Modest Shame, is being published at a time when the new rulers do not abide by the progressive democratic culture but have institutionalized silence in the country”.
Ebenezer Agu, Chief Editor of 20:35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry described Nnaemeka’s In Memoriam of a Modest Shame as angry, honest and evocative. However,
“Nnaemeka Oruh does not lose track with hope, somehow he finds a way to moor on a bright shore, because perhaps this is the only way to exist amidst a tumultuous sea.”
The collection is also about reflecting on personal existential struggles that are shaping discourse amongst millennials. In Memoriam of a Modest Shame questions long-established belief-systems, applies logic to mystery and presents arguments that verge beyond the rhetorical for the reader and thinker.
Nnaemeka Oruh is the Editor-in-chief of Ikenga Chronicles, an online media organisation which has consistently published news and articles of governance, literature and culture. He is also a gender and human rights advocate whose political essays and poems have been published in several print and online journals.