Phenomenological ecology in two occasional poems by Ben Okri

Show simple item record Gray, Rosemary A. 2015-06-26T06:04:23Z 2015-06-26T06:04:23Z 2014-12
dc.description.abstract This article begins with a brief discussion of the three terms: the poet, ontopoiesis and eco-phenomenology or phenomenological ecology. An explication of its thrust, viz. the significance of sowing/sewing ‘a quilt of harmony’ (Wild 2012: 20), in relation to the broad yet symbiotic theme of cosmic ecology follows. The discussion proceeds by presenting a close critical analysis of Ben Okri’s ‘Lines in Potentis’, a poem commissioned by the then Lord Mayor of London in 2002 in commemoration of the bombing of the City of London and which is featured in Okri’s most recent anthology of poetry, Wild (2012: 26-27). Both my thrust and my argument are predicated on another occasional poem from Wild, ‘A Wedding Prayer’ (2012: 20-22), which is not analysed in any detail. Axiomatic to the interpretation is the poet’s own conception of ‘wild’, cited on the dust cover of the anthology, as ‘an alternative to the familiar, where energy meets freedom, where art meets the elemental, where chaos can be honed’. More precisely, for this London loving Nigerian poet, ‘the wild is our link with the stars...’. This is not aesthetic posturing. As I attempt to show in my reading of the focal poem, it has to do with mystical unrest viewed from an eco-phenomenological ‘enjoyment of literature, of beauty, of the sublime, the elevated, as well as our compassion for the miseries of humankind, [and] generosity towards others... inspired by the subliminal passions of the human soul’ (Tymieniecka 1996). As the conclusion attempts to show, this projects some of the epistemology of Africans in Africa and the Diaspora. It does this by invoking the contentions of fellow African phenomenologist, Achile Mbembe, in comparison with Tymieniecka’s argument that the soul is the ‘soil’ of life’s forces and that it is thus the transmitter of life’s constructive progress. Such progress is from the primeval logos of life to its annihilation in the anti-logos of man’s ‘transnatural telos’ (Tymieniecka 1988: 3). en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2015-12-31 en_ZA
dc.description.librarian hb2015 en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Rosemary Gray (2014) Phenomenological ecology in two occasional poems by Ben Okri, International Journal of African Renaissance Studies - Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity, 9:2, 227-236, DOI: 10.1080/18186874.2014.987965 en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 1818-6874 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1753-7274 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1080/18186874.2014.987965
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Routledge en_ZA
dc.rights © University of South Africa Press. This is an electronic version of an article published in International Journal of African Renaissance Studies, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 227-236, 2014. doi : 10.1080/18186874.2014.987965. International Journal of African Renaissance Studies is available online at : en_ZA
dc.subject Achile Mbembe (1957-) en_ZA
dc.subject Way of being free en_ZA
dc.subject Wedding prayer en_ZA
dc.subject Climate change en_ZA
dc.subject Eco-phenomenology en_ZA
dc.subject Lines in potentis en_ZA
dc.subject London en_ZA
dc.subject Metaphysics en_ZA
dc.subject Ben Okri (1959-) en_ZA
dc.subject Ontopoiesis en_ZA
dc.subject Occasional poetry en_ZA
dc.subject Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (1923-2014) en_ZA
dc.subject Wild (2012) en_ZA
dc.title Phenomenological ecology in two occasional poems by Ben Okri en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA

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