A Mythography of Kola Eke’s Poetry


Jamgbadi, E. I.


Recent Nigerian poetry has begun to exhibit features of mythography as they construct socio-political ideas round myths. This attempts to explore how Kola Eke has employed myths to deal with societal issues. Through a sustained use of several myths, the poet invokes mythical figures derived from Igbo, Yoruba, and Benin ethnic nationalities namely Ani, Arochukwu, Sango, Ogun, Ebomisi and several others. The textual analytic methodology is used to interprets the poems drawn from Eke’s four collection of poems, namely, October 1960 and Other Poems, May 29 and Other Poems, June 12 and Other Poems and February 1976 and Other Poems. Relying on the theory of mythography, the paper discovered that Eke invokes mythical characters to give the poems folkloric quality and infuse them with visual and thematic power. It concludes that Eke invokes mythical figures to actualize social control, articulate societal redirection and envision accountability in the poems.


Mythography, Social Control, Societal Redirection, Accountability, Invocation and Figures


Modern Nigerian poetry has always embraced the use of myths either for thematic reasons or for artistic purposes. Myths are central to African poetic imagination because they help in enriching their texts. Mythographic representation in Nigerian poetry has a long historiography. Right from the inception especially among the first generation of Nigerian poets myths were integral to their poetry. For example, Wole Soyinka, J.P. Clark-Bekederemo, Gabriel Imomotime Okara, Christopher Okigbo and few others are known to have engaged the use of myths for cultural affirmation. The second generation poets like Niyi Osundare, Odia Ofeimun, and Tenure Ojaide have used myths sparingly to embellish their poetic art. Thus mythography has permeated the two previous generations of poetry in Nigeria.


This section seeks to establish that Kola Eke invokes mythical figures in his poems in order to actualize social control. By social control, Zeinab Abulhul quoting Mannheim explains that, it is “the sum of those methods by which a society tries to influence human’s behaviour to maintain a given order” (98). The overriding purpose of social control is the maintenance of order in society. Abulhul adds that it is carried out to “regulate relationships among individuals and groups through social institutions to ensure promoting the welfare of the society as a whole” (9). It is against this background that Eke’s poems are examined to show how and why mythical figures are invoked.


The conclusion can be found in the main file..


References are available in the main file..

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