“Of the road ahead no one told him though,
how it bends like a snake, like an English old lane
on and on it goes without end. (…)
Tell the child fearful of vesperides and mirages,
(…) that the road not travelled will remain quiet paths
like voices, buried as silences, in the sepulcher of narrow throats;
but the road trodden will reveal ancient legends and secrets
which no travaler tells but which everyone grow eager ears for.”
No clear origin or destination.
The road as the main focus and as the best mentor.
Eyes and ears turned towards the effervescent world unfolding all around, and soul opened to people.
So sounds and sings the voice in the poems of Godspower Oboido; a voice of a generation born between worlds and between identities, a generation searching for ways of understanding its multi-faceted image rather than accepting pre-defined identities.
The speed with which the poet makes the reader change his place and perspective is quite spectacular: we go from Lagos to New York, from Kano to London and the Russian countryside; we wait and watch the world go by in the Amsterdam airport; we go to the seaside and come back to the buzzing city.
Godspower Oboido builds a journey out of language, in which words and sounds mirror the place they create: “the waters dans/ for our thrill and to the rhythm of tides./ The sand and the sea, they call us.” (“The Sand and Sea”).
International critics and editors have put Godspower Oboido in the line of Christopher Okigbo and Leopold Sédar Senghor as a prominent Nigerian voice of the African contemporary literature. From Lagos and the native region of the Niger Delta to the northern Kano, the poet mirrors his native country with words both tender and sharp, as he tries to see the multiple faces of the places and of himself.
However, besides that, he is also a voice of the international literature, of what Tayie Selasi calls Afropolitans; he is a voice of the famished road echoing Ben Okri’s marvellous world, of the endless journey back and forth, where the origin meets the end; where what matters is to discover one’s selves; where, finally, what matters is to wander and wonder.
Wandering Feet on Pebbled Shores by Godspower Oboido
9781942956419 /Lamar University Literary Press / 2017
Review by Ioana Danaila
Ioana Danaila was born in Romania. She graduated from University Lyon 2 Lumière with a Masters in Postcolonial Literature and a First degree in French for Non-Francophone people. She has published short stories and translated books from French to Romanian. She speaks Romanian, French, English, and Spanish and teaches English to high school students in France.