WHAT IS POETRY?
By Professor Christian Anieke
When words freeze into snowballs of profound meanings, it’s poetry.
When words twist their waists like beaded dancers, it’s poetry.
When words drum like frenzied drummers in village squares, it’s poetry.
When words sing in surreal or rattling voices, it’s poetry.
When words spread their petals to shelter and beautify humans, it’s poetry.
When words whisper and reveal primordial human wisdom, it’s poetry.
When words replace banal leaves with budding fresh leaves of mythic language, it’s poetry.
When words whistle their pines along River Danube, it’s poetry.
When words shuffle their feet like untutored village boys and girls, it’s poetry.
When words mew, coo, sizzle, hiss, quack,
cackle, rattle, croak, squeak, it’s poetry.
When words intoxicate, arouse, bite, shock,
sadden, provoke or infuriate, it’s poetry.
When words show the natural world in pictures made with mere words, it’s poetry.
When words imprison thoughts to give wings to ideas, it’s poetry.
When words get bonded in lines and stanzas by their natural beauty and meaning, it’s poetry.
When words turn honey into swedish-bitter and makes the two one and the same, it’s poetry.
When words wrap their bitter, naked bodies with leaves of honeyed expressions, it’s poetry.
When words become sweet songs, it’s poetry.
And when words become so delicious that you want to gobble them, it’s poetry.
Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke, born 1st October 1965, is a Nigerian Roman Catholic priest and Vice Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. Ordained a priest in 2000, Christian is a professor of English Language and Studies. He became the founding Vice Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, an institution owned by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu in Nigeria, in 2009.
Christian Anieke’s studies and research in Philosophy, Biblical Theology, English and American Studies and English Language has seen him study in Urban University, Rome; the University of Innsbruck, Austria; Bath Language School, Stratford-upon-Avon; Oxford University; and the University of Muenster. He has a B.Sc. in Education and English from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. At the University of Innsbruck, he graduated summa cum laude from his doctorate program in English and from both of his masters programs in Philosophy and Theology.
He is the author of Chinua Achebe’s Trilogy: A Study in Bicultural Communication (2014), Intercultural Problems of Communication: The (Re) Presentation of the Igbo People and Their Culture in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God and No Longer at Ease (2005), Hybrid Formations in English (2002), The Symbol of the Dove at the Baptism of Christ (2000), and Metaphysics as a Natural Disposition in the Philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1994); and co-author of Frontiers in Education: Advances, Issues and Perspectives (2015), Stories of Peace (2011), Njem Goliver Jere, an Igbo translation of Gulliver’s Travels (2009), and A Dictionary of German, English and Igbo (2008).
A native of Ezeagu, Enugu State, Nigeria, and an honorary citizen of Mitterikirchen, Austria, he holds the chieftaincy title: the Ezeudo Gburu Gburu of Umumba Ndiagu, Enugu State, Nigeria.