Pius Adesanmi died in the doomed Ethiopian Airline flight 302 on March 10, 2019. Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi is an assemblage of 267 original poems written by 127 established and emerging African writers. While some of the poets celebrate Adesanmi, others reflect philosophically on existence, mortality, immortality and/or offer hope for the living. In this memorably textured collection, the poets – some who knew, and some who did not know Adesanmi – exorcise the pains of loss through provocative poems that pour out their beating hearts with passion.

Chris Dunton, editor of Wasafiri, writes:

“… Adesanmi’s passing has been commemorated in a superb anthology of commissioned poems, Wreaths for a Wayfarer. This beautifully produced volume contains the work of 126 contributors, mainly from Nigeria, but also from other countries, ranging from Mexico, through the UK, to Sri Lanka; as Odia Ofeimun puts it in his foreword: ‘Pius Adesanmi was ‘my personal person’, as he was to so many people around the globe’ (xxv). It also includes a selection of poems from Adesanmi’s own collection The Wayfarer.

“Nduka Otiono’s Introduction to the anthology is a model of its kind, eloquent, heartfelt and informative, with a great deal of valuable background material in footnotes. An especially pleasing touch, so much in the spirit of Adesanmi the dedicated mentor, is the editors’ decision to take on ‘budding poets . . . [a decision which] necessitated editing and working with such authors to help develop writings that might otherwise have been rejected’ (7). A little later, Nduka comments: ‘we conceptualized an anthology that will be enduring in its thematic range and stylistic variety. And we got one’ (8). …”

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements  |Foreword—Odia Ofeimun  | Introduction: Death and an African Digital Towncrier—Nduka Otiono  | Introit: Coffin in the sky—Niyi Osundare

Part I. WAYFARER

Scabha or The Sliding Door Operator—Sihle Ntuli  | When an Iroko Falls—Iquo Diana Abasi  | How to Survive War in Nigeria—Iquo Diana Abasi  | I Wet the Earth, I Sing You Wreaths… —Fareed Agyakwah  | Harvest IV—Funmi Aluko  | Wayfarer—Funmi Aluko  | The Wayfarer—Saudat Salawudeen  | End of Forever—Saudat Salawudeen  | Muse of Homecoming—Justus K. S. Makokha  | Encore— Agatha Agema  | Now that I know young birds die in flight—Segun Michael Olabode  | The Water-Pot is Broke—Susan Bukky Badeji  | from absence, memory and farther—Obemata  | Umbilicals—Tijah Bolton-Akpan  | The Pilgrim Unbound—Clara Ijeoma Osuji  | Eclipsed at Noon—Abdulaziz Abdulaziz  | To the Daughters— Abdulaziz Abdulaziz  | The Traveler—Abiodun Bello  | For the Wayfarer—Chifwanti Zulu  | The Acts of Brother—’Bunmi Ogungbe  | Backing His Daughter: For Pius, on Facebook—Jane Bryce  | Avoiding Sunlight—Unoma Azuah  | Akáṣọléri ́ (Mourners) —Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún  | Last Tweets—Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún  | Farewell, Wayfarer—Oyinkansade Fabikun  | Solitaire—Kafilat Oloyede  | How to Keep the Wake for a Shooting Star—Chuma Nwokolo  | Eagle—Uzo Odonwodo  | In Memoriam—Uzo Odonwodo  | Can You Do This Thing?—Sarah Katz-Lavigne  | Lights—John Chizoba Vincent  | The Meteorite—Omowumi Olabode Steven Ekundayo  | Black Box—Ian Keteku  | Paramour of the Pen—Abraham Tor  | Flying Coffin—James Onyebụchi Nnaji  | Looking for the Dead—James Onyebụchi Nnaji  | The Eagle Perched—Moses Ogunleye  | A Pius Flight—Kennedy Emetulu  | Kwanza for Pius—Ifesinachi Nwadike  | Dream-mare—Nidhal Chami  | A Walk in the Graveyard—Chimeziri C. Ogbedeto  | Payo—Biko Agozino  | Iku—Peter Olamakinde Olapegba  | He left—Amatoritsero Ede  | Spousal Loss—Peter Olamakinde Olapegba  | The Face of My Savior is the Ordinary Moment—Gloria Nwizu  | Denouement—Gloria Nwizu  | A Conversation between Two Young Cousins—Ethel Ngozi Okeke  | Sunday Flight—Emman Usman Shehu  | Departure—Ivor Agyeman-Duah  | The Count—Uthpala Dishani Senaratne  | Rude Shock—Olajide Salawu  | Saturday 12:56—Ludwidzi M. K. Mainza  | Daughter—Ludwidzi M. K. Mainza  | Tough Love—Nnorom Azuonye  | In the Midst of it All, I am…—Anushya Ramakrishna  | Haiku – Ai-Ku (Immortality) —Adesanya Adewale Adeshina  | He Rose—Adesanya Adewale Adeshina  | A Singing Bird—Adesanya Adewale Adeshina  | Arrivant—Akua Lezli Hope  | EarthWork Sestina—Akua Lezli Hope  | Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Proboscidea—Akua Lezli Hope  | Poem of Relief: When Your Sadness is Alive—Kennedy Hussein Aliu  | If I Seek—Kennedy Hussein Aliu  | When You Ask me About my Teacher—Kennedy Hussein Aliu and Leyda Jocelyn Estrada
Arellano  | The Eagle is not the Quills and Talons—Olumide Olaniyan  | without a farewell—Nduka Otiono  | After the Funeral—Nduka Otiono  | Fugitives from the Violence of Truth—Efe Paul-Azino  | Just but a Journey—Sam Dennis Otieno

Part II. REQUIEMS  

Elegy for Pius—Helon Habila  | This Exodus Has Birthed a Song—Echezonachukwu Nduka  | where to find you: a requiem—Echezonachukwu Nduka  | Blown—Richard Inya  | words melt in his mouth—Peter Midgley  | Requiem for the Fallen / Mogaka o ole—Lebogang Disele  | To Our Hero: Rest in Peace—Lebogang Disele  | What Shall We Do to Death?—Winlade Israel  | A Star Just Fell—Winlade Israel  | Requiem—Peter Akinlabi  | Requiem for Pius—Rasaq Malik Gbolahan  | Wayfarer—Rasaq Malik Gbolahan  | Twirling the Beads of Grief… —Tade Aina  | Say me Rebellion—Kingsley L. Madueke  | When this Calabash Breaks—Kingsley L. Madueke  | Requiem for the Wayfarer—Adesina Ajala  | Song of Sorrow—Soji Cole  | Planting Season—Anote Ajeluorou  | For Our Departed Bard—Maria Ajima  | Memory of Tear—Joshua Agbo  | Why? —Margaret Wairimu Waweru  | Letter to Dad—Margaret Wairimu Waweru  | Missing Voices—Ugochukwu P. Nwafor  | Tears on Canvas—Wesley Macheso  | Nausea—Wesley Macheso  | This Easter—Wesley Macheso  | When I Am Gone—Maryam Ali Ali  | Nothing Has Changed—Maryam Ali Ali  | Protest—Ejiofor Ugwu  | Our Voice is Gone—Janet James Ibukun  | Agadaga Iroko / Giant Iroko—Sunny Iyke U. Okeigwe  | This Poetry—James Tar Tsaaior  | The Passing of Pius—Uzor Maxim Uzoatu  | Light Dims to Shine Forever—Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo  | You Bled Africa! —Mitterand Okorie  | To the Muse of Isanlu: A Salute—’BioDun J. Ogundayo  | you remain with us—Nkateko Masinga  | A Bit of Narcissism—Okwudili Nebeolisa  | Bereavement—Okwudili Nebeolisa  | Dirge for the Departed—Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa  | If Only—Femi Abidogun  | Falling Birds—Yusuff Abdulbasit  | Immortality—Yusuff Abdulbasit  | Harvest of Deaths—Yemi Atanda  | The Horse and the Tortoise—Yemi Atanda  | The Chorus Is Death—Ubaka Ogbogu  | Breaking Bread—Obiwu  | Still They Hunt for Emmett Till—Obiwu  | on wisdom’s wings—Jumoke Verissimo

Part III. HOMECOMING

The Indent (For Pius) —Uche Nduka  | when the sun sets—Adejumo Uthman Ajibola  | Aridunun Akowe—Dahunsi Ayobami  | Pius: Myth, Mystic, Mystery—Tenibegi Karounwi  | Returning the Light as Wreath—Ndubuisi Martins (Aniemeka)  | Naija is a Badly-Behaved Poem—Ndubuisi Martins (Aniemeka)  | Confessions of a Gypsy—Richard Kayode O. James  | When the Pious Die—Uchenna-Franklin Ekweremadu  | Song of the Pilgrim—Obinna Chukwudi Ibezim  | Pius, the Seed—Celina O. Aju-Ameh  | Cloud Coffin—Tola Ijalusi  | Letter to My Father—Ololade Akinlabi Ige  | I Journey Quietly Home—Martin Ijir  | Hopeful People—Ndaba Siban  | Explaining My Depression to You—Yusuf Taslemat Taiwo  | The Broken Quill—Nathanael Tanko Noah  | we do not know how to carry this pain—Edaki Timothy. O  | Stars, Out—S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema  | Converging Skies and Shadows—S. Su’eddie Vershima Agema  | Will You? —Biodun Bamgboye  | Farewell—Maryam Gatawa  | Transit to Kenya—Anthony Enyone Ohiemi  | Abiku Agba—Usman Oladipo Akanbi  | Evening Bird—Bayowa Ayomide Micheal  | Withered Green—Augustine Ogechukwu Nwulia  | Home Call…047—Onuchi Mark Onoruoiza  | Outshining the Stars—Onuchi Mark Onoruoiza  | The Eagle Has Fallen—Manasseh Gowk  | Farewell—Manasseh Gowk  | Death—Khalid Imam  | The Flood—Khalid Imam  | Blue Skies—Yejide Kilanko  | This Very Goodbye—Nseabasi S. J. King  | The Deserted Road or Elegy for Pius Adesanmi—Daniel Olaoluwa Whyte  | What My Father Said on His Death Bed—Gbenga Adesina  | Wayfarer—James Yeku  | One Meets Two—James Yeku  | First Goodbye—D.M. Aderibigbe  | Monster—Afam Akeh  | where you are now—Raphael d’Abdon  | When the Curtains Fall—Uchechukwu Umezurike

PART IV. A SELECTION FROM PIUS ADESANMI’S THE WAYFARER AND OTHER POEMS

The Wayfarer—Pius Adesanmi  | Ah, Prometheus! —Pius Adesanmi  | Odia Ofeimun: The Brooms Take Flight—Pius Adesanmi  | To the Unfathomable One—Pius Adesanmi  | Message from Aso Rock to a Poet in Exile—Pius Adesanmi  | Entries—Pius Adesanmi

Part V. POSTLUDE

A Prose-Poem, a Tribute, and a Wreath for Pius—Adesanmi Anu’a-Gheyle Solomon Azoh-Mbi | When and If…—Pamela J. Olúbùnmi Smith

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About the editors

Reviews: Otiono, Umezurike announce release of Wreaths for a Wayfarer

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  • ISBN print: 9781988832333
  • ISBN ebook: 20190132981
  • Publication date: February 2020
  • Page count: 328
  • Binding type: Perfect bound, soft
  • Trim size: 6in x 9in
  • Language: English
  • Colour: B&W

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Author Nduka Otiono

Nduka Otiono is a writer, Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator at the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University. Prior to turning to academia, he was for many years a journalist in Nigeria. His works have appeared in Journal of Folklore Research, Af rican Literature Today, Journal of Af rican Cinema, Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, Wasafiri, etc. His co-edited volume of essays,Polyvocal Bob Dylan: Music, Performance, Literaturewas recently published under the imprint of Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Music and Literature Series. Otiono is winner of a Capital Educator’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, a Carleton University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Early Career Award for Research Excellence, twice winner of the Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship, and a 2018 Black History Ottawa Community Builder Award. He is the author of The Night Hides with a Knife (short stories), which won the ANA/Spectrum Prize; Voices in the Rainbow (Poetry), a finalist for the ANA/Cadbury Poetry Prize; Love in a Time of Nightmares (Poetry) for which he was awarded the James Patrick Folinsbee Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing. He has co-edited We-Men: An Anthology of Men Writing on Women (1998), and Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria (2006).

Author Uchechukwu Umezurike

Uchechukwu Umezurike is a PhD Candidate and Vanier Scholar in the English and Film Studies department of the University of Alberta, Canada. An Alumnus of the International Writing Program (USA), he has participated in residencies in India, Switzerland, and Italy. His poem “there’s more” won the 2019 National Norma Epstein Foundation Award for Creative Writing. He was one of the winners of the the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 2006 and 2008. His children’s books Sam and the Wallet and The Runaway Hero have been shortlisted and longlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2007 and 2011 respectively. His creative writing has appeared in the following publications: The Lamp, Evergreen Review, Onomonresoa, On Broken Wings, Long Story Short, Dream Chasers, Migrations, Lagos of the Poets, Washington Square Review, African Roar, Daughters of Eve and Other Stories. His critical writing has appeared in Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, Postcolonial Text, Journal of African Cultural Studies, Cultural Studies, Journal of African Literature Association, and African Literature Today.