In between editing a work and articulating your assessment of it lies a particular overriding mood. In this case, we are overwhelmingly spirited. The works in this collection are derived via the usual means – top 100 entries of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) – but they ply a new route in terms of quality, style and themes. This is a clear reflection of the dynamic approach the organizers have adopted in improving the efficiency of the initiative, and ticking the boxes of literary creativity and excellence.
One notable difference in the call for submission for this edition of the NSPP is the “line-limit rule”. Having paid close attention to the works received in previous editions, we realized that some of the poems would have fared better if the student-poets had been more economical with words. This would have enabled them to do more of “showing” than “telling”, more of “depicting” than “explaining”. Hence, asking the entrants to submit poems not exceeding 30 lines, became a “game changer”, with a downward turn of grammatical mishaps, overly prosaic lines and forced verses. This, in no small measure, lessened the stress incurred during adjudication and editing.
There is an age-long relationship between time and literature. All eras are associated with certain literatures occupied by different experiences, conveyed via distinct language chanelled into a wide range of themes. It won’t be out of place to credit the transition of literature to the ever batting, but never shutting eyelids of time. The young poets whose works are featured herein are noteworthy makers of the literature of their time. They are documenting their everyday experiences and eerie fantasies with much swagger and enthusiasm. Evident in their works is unconventionality licenced by topicality and creativity. They are engrossed in clearing their own path – telling their own tales as perceived with their ever roving eyes, in an original but atypical tone.
However, some of the contributors remained unadventurous, yet creative, maintaining a familiar tone and exploring regular topics such as life, hope, love, justice, humanity, religion, sexism, racism, terrorism motherhood, rape etc.
The title of the collection, “Deep Dreams”, indicates the yearnings and expectations of these millennial writers as expressed in their works. Although, Iberiyenari Godstime Tamunofiri has an alternative use of the phrase as title of her winning poem, the phrase seems to be home for voices arriving from varied odysseys. These contributors have a well-conceived idea of the world they want to live in, and they are breathing it into existence with their oxygenated pens. It falls on us to ensure that this platform, which allows the young to find and project their voices, is sustained.
We look forward to undertaking this task again in 2019, hoping that you won’t deny us of your readership and feedback.
Eriata Oribhabor & Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom
Editors, NSPP Anthology Series
- You can order your own copy of the book at the rate of N1000. Delivery Charge: N500 (if you are not resident in Ibadan). Phone: 07034847164