Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known

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Methuen, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 80 pages
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By turns satirical and lyrical, this fourth collection of poetry, his first in ten years, spans the poet's recent experience of exile from Nigeria as well as the journeys that have followed his Nobel Prize for Literature award. Here are reflections on the deaths of politicians, dictators and dissident friends as well as invocations to fellow writers Ken Saro-Wiwa, Josef Brodsky and Chinua Achebe. In sections tellingly entitled 'Outsiders', 'Of Exits' or the poem sequence 'Twelve Canticles for the Zealot', Soyinka confronts political realities - religious fundamentalism, bigotry and the repression of free speech. Others such as "Lost Poems', 'Doctored Vision' or 'Visiting Trees (Night Hunt)' are evidence of a more private, interior search.

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About the author (2002)

Wole Soyinka was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria on July 13, 1934. He attended Government College and University College in Ibadan before receiving a degree in English from the University of Leeds in England in 1958. He has held research and teaching appointments at several universities including the University of Ibadan, the University of Ife, Cornell University, Emory University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Loyola Marymount. He is a distinguished playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, social critic, political activist, and literary scholar. His plays include The Swamp Dwellers, The Lion and the Jewel, A Dance of the Forests, The Bacchae of Euripides, A Play for Giants, Death and the King's Horsemen, From Zia with Love, The Beatification of Area Boy, and King Baabu. His collections of poetry include Idanre and Other Poems, A Shuttle in the Crypt, and Mandela's Earth and Other Poems. His novels include The Interpreters, which won the 1968 Jock Campbell Literary Award, and Season of Anomy. His autobiographical works include Ake: The Years of Childhood, Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Memoir of the Nigerian Crisis, and You Must Set Forth at Dawn. His literary essays collections include Myth, Literature and the African World and Art, Dialogue and Outrage. During the civil war in Nigeria, he appealed for cease-fire in an article. Accused of treason, he was held in solitary confinement for 22 months. Two of his works, The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka and Poems from Prison, were secretly written on toilet paper and smuggled out of prison. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

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