Chinua Achebe is one of the founding fathers of African literature in English, a writer of world stature whose novel Things Fall Apart is one of the essential works of the twentieth century. This Collected Poems draws on his three collections of poetry, and includes seven previously unpublished poems; it reveals a lifetime of poetic engagement with politics, war and culture, inherited wisdom and the making of new futures. Achebe's poems are ironic, generous and tender, drawing deep on the Igbo traditions of his African roots, confronting the continent's harsh realities of violence and exploitation.
Met any great poets lately? Here's your chance...
By James K Bowers - July 12, 2005
Within the bright yet unremarkable cover of this small book is the world as seen through the eyes of Mr. Chinua Achebe. The world witnessed by this talented Nigerian-born author and poet contains death, hope, strife, hunger, joy, love, wisdom, and wonder-and Achebe ushers his audience on an emotional journey through them all. As I read "Collected Poems", I became more interested in the poet himself and was driven to learn more about the man behind the words. What continues to impresses me the most about Achebe is the half-century span of his creative effort and quiet achievement in literature. As I thought more on this, I found that beside his sometimes brutally heart-wrenching imagery, what disturbs me about this man's literary work is that America is mostly unaware of its existence.
As undeniable proof that big things come in small packages, Achebe's mastery of the English vocabulary shines in this thin but powerful collection of poetry. He begins with a short... read more
Accessible and Beautiful, A Delecate Balance
By Amanda Rose Adams - August 12, 2012
I just finished reading Chinua's Collected Poems about Nigeria. I really loved it. It was entirely accessible and he provided a few end notes that were helpful but not entirely necessary because he was easy to follow. I believe that it is harder to be an accessible and beautiful poet than simply to string complex language like gaudy baubles. Chinua always remembers his reader.
I will be reading his novels in the future. I always love when someone like Chinua or Garcia-Marquez opens my eyes to other cultures and sets them in equal standing. Too often literature is filtered through "Western" lenses, and while the use of English itself is such a lens, the tone and authority of writers like Chinua to speak their truth with simple eloquence is the highest art.
My favorite poems in this slim volume were:
"Pine Tree in Spring" captures the essence of being true to oneself and one's core values. This is a theme throughout the work but here it so so... read more
A powerful collection of poems from a great writer
By D. Festus Okoro - March 17, 2007
Chinua Achebe: Collected Poems is a book that celebrates the brilliance and virtuoso of a gifted writer. Achebe's language is elegant. His visionary committment is impressive. Much of the poems are reinforced by the poet's employment of images and elements from the African oral tradition. "A Wake for Okigbo" is superbly written. The poem is a tribute to Achebe's childhood friend and arguably Africa's greatest poet, Christopher Okigbo. Okigbo's death in the heat of the Nigerian civil war robbed the world of his full potential. This poem is fine tribute to him by a close friend and kinsman. Achebe's references to elements from Igbo
culture works wonders in this poem and gives readers something to cheer about the poet's unlimited gifts as a writer. Other poems that standout include "Christmas in Biafra" and "A Mother in a Refugee Camp." These poems are testimonies to major historical and cultural milestones and events that defined Achebe's generation and post independence... read more
This volume presents the full range of Reynolds Price's poetic accomplishment over the past thirty-six years. His first three collections are brought together in their entirety; and a masterful new ...