A Lot from Paradise

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Malthouse Press Limited, Nigeria, 1999 - Fiction - 45 pages
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In this new collection of poems, he communicates sensitivity, warmth and nostalgia - a glance at the past. The collection contains twenty five poems divided into two sections: A Lot from Paradise, and Other Lives.

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About the author (1999)

One of the leading first-generation postcolonial writers in Nigeria, J. P. Clark (who recently changed his surname to Clark-Bekederemo) was born in Kiagbodo, near Warri, in the Delta State of Nigeria, to Ijaw and Urhobo parents. A poet, playwright, and folklorist, he was educated at the University College, Ibadan, where he read English and edited the seminal student literary magazine, The Horn. After graduating from the university, Clark worked as a newspaper editor, and, after studying briefly at Princeton University, he joined the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ibadan as a research fellow. Clark's dissatisfaction with the condition of human rights in American society was partly responsible for his sudden withdrawal from his studies at Princeton. He recorded his bitterness in his memoir, America, Their America (1965). Soon after his return to Nigeria, to a mixed reception as an outspoken radical writer, Clark joined the faculty of the Department of English at the University of Lagos, from which he retired in 1979. Since his retirement, he has been living in Lagos, where he runs his own theater company-Pec Repertory Theatre. Clark was an early contributor to the journal Black Orpheus and the Mbari publications of the early 1960s. However, he is best known for his early plays, The Song of a Goat (1961), The Raft (1964), The Masquerade (1964), and Ozidi (1966. He is also well known for his performance-oriented edition and translation of the oral epic of his native Ijaw people, The Ozidi Saga, on which he based his first play, Ozidi. Together with his early poetry, gathered in A Reed in the Tide (1965), these early plays deal with the myths, legends, and traditional life of Clark's hometown in the river fishing communities of the Niger Delta. The language of Clark's work pulsates with the rhythm of his native Ijaw. References to events of the day were already beginning to assert themselves in allegorical form in The Raft. In his later writings, these references emerged to dominate his creative concerns: first in his collection of civil war poetry, Casualties (1970), and then in most of his subsequent writings-The State of the Union (1985), A Decade of Tongues, Mandela and Other Poems, and The Birodoa Plays. In 1991 Howard University Press released his Collected Plays and Poems, which offers the entire corpus of his writings from 1958 to 1988.

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