The latest book by Niyi Osundare, Green: Sighs of Our Ailing Planet, is set for launch before the end of this month.
Published by Commonwealth Books alongside Black Widow Press, the anthology is Mr Osundare’s compilation of critical pastoral poems concerning the environment around the world.
Inspired by the spate of environmental crises hitting the world, from the Amazon wildfire to the desert encroachment in North Africa to the shrinking of the Lake Chad basin in his home country Nigeria, the book nudges readers to reflect on the endangered beauty of nature.
“Of all my 20-something books of poetry, none has confronted me with a more challenging combination of urgency of content and complexity of execution than this new one,” the author, a professor of literature, said.
“I daresay the existential imperative of its content has been responsible for the pain that came with its composition and the uneasy relief I now feel upon its completion.
“There is something deeply spiritual, almost religious, about the mission and the message of the poems, and the many ways they have turned out to be denizens of that vital interface between the ecological and the cosmic.”
Widely regarded as one of Africa’s most renowned poets, Mr Osundare has published over 18 books of poetry, two books of selected poems, four plays, a book of essays, numerous monographs and articles as well as over 70 journals and magazines across the world.
He has received many prizes and awards, including the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) prize, the Cadbury/ANA Prize (twice), the Commonwealth poetry prize, the Noma Award, Tchicaya U Tam’si prize for African poetry (Africa’s highest poetry award), among others.