Sierra Leonean poetry began within the late 19th century with poems revealed in English and the lingua franca, Krio in The Sierra Leone Weekly Information, amongst the primary newspapers to be established within the colony in 1860. Probably the most well-known of all of the Sierra Leonean newspapers (which have been of top of the range) within the late 19th and 20th centuries, it was based in September 1884, by Rev. J.C Could aided by Dr. E. W. Blyden and edited by J. C. Could’s brother, Cornelius, who later grew to become mayor of Freetown within the 1920s.

Poems have been generally written by settlers, largely Europeans, who had migrated into the nation. The primary Krio poems appeared within the subject of The Sierra Leone Weekly Information of Saturday April 21st 1881. Others appeared within the subject of June 23rd 1888 and July 1907. Although most poems have been written by non-Sierra Leoneans, they served as sources of inspiration to the educated Sierra Leoneas who thus grew to become anxious to show that they have been as competent poets as their European counterparts. Poems have been written often in common patterns of toes, strains and rhyme schemes as was the vogue then. Consequently there was an upsurge within the publication of poems within the newspapers.This follow continued for fairly a very long time, based on Leo Spitzer’s The Creoles of Sierra Leone which accommodates an entire vary of such poems.

Then got here Gladys Casely-Hayford and Thomas Decker who have been writing poems in Krio. Gladys Casely-Hayford’s first number of revealed poems was titled in Krio Take um so (1948). In 1948 three Krio poems have been revealed by Thomas Decker. These have been ‘Plasas’,’Yesterday, Tiday en Tumara’, ‘Slip Gud’.

However these early publication of poems in Krio in The Sierra Leone Weekly Information had a restrictive and constrictive impact on the even-handed growth of Sierra Leonean poetry. For it helped to restrict Sierra Leonean poetry to the Western Space. Components of the nation have been thus left preoccupying themselves with oral poetry as there was no written literature out there there then.

There has at all times been direct relationship between the event of written literature and schooling. Schooling in Sierra Leone was primarily concentrated in that early colonial interval within the Western Space.. It was solely later that some colleges received constructed within the provinces. However inspite of this, schooling was not as broadly and readily acquired by the provincials for a lot of did not ship their youngsters to high school early. It was in solely in1906 that the primary secondary faculty was established within the provinces.

The pinnacle begin the Western Space had in schooling and the lukewarm angle of the individuals within the different areas in direction of schooling led to a lot of the acknowledged poets coming primarily from the Western Space. This additionally resulted within the poets being manly Krio who largely did not penetrate and exploit the wealthy cultural traditions and customs of the nation of which they have been largely ignorant. Consequently their works have been characterised by the absence of conventional myths, legends and lore not like the case of different West African writers then writing particularly the Nigerians, Christopher Okigbo, Wole Soyinka and J.P Clark who made a lot use of such oral lore. Christopher Okigbo for his half typically used the parable of the watermaid in his poems whereas each Wole Soyinka and J.P.Clark utilized in frequent the parable of Abiku amongst others.

The poetry of the pioneering Sierra Leonean poets was infused as a substitute of conventional and cultural supplies with Christian non secular doctrines and rules and ethical platitudes. Little of even the emergent Krio tradition have been purveyed via them. However additionally they wrote about burning social problems with the instances.

However in a poem like ‘Joseph’s Betrothal’ Gladys Casely -Hayford transposes the Krio conventional ‘put-stop’ ceremony to the Jewish scenario of Joseph and Mary, the earthly mother and father of Jesus. In ‘Nativity’ the newborn Jesus is wrapped in ‘blue lappah’ and laid in’dwelling tanned door pores and skin conceal’, as a substitute of a swaddling band and a manger. Later poets made use of some cultural materials. Lemuel Johnson in ‘Prodigal’s Canticle’ options ‘Awujoh’ and ‘KuOmojade’ two Krio conventional ceremonies.

The next unfold of schooling accompanied by missionary actions in virtually all components of the nation promoted the unfold of literature which led to breaking of the earlier monopoly the Western Space had on the manufacturing of poetry. Consequently there was a substantial improve within the quantity of poetry written within the nation over the previous 4 a long time. The impetus to this was given to it by efforts at Fourah Bay Faculty, Njala College Faculty, Milton Margai Academics Faculty in selling and internet hosting literary occasions comparable to inventive writing, poetry studying amongst others. These efforts have been complemented by these of the writers affiliation, the Fourah Bay Faculty Bookshop and varied campus bulletins and magazines.

The majority of Sierra Leonean poetry might thus be mentioned to have been written within the 20th century. However the poetry of this era bore a marked departure from the sooner types of poetry being produced, particularly of their model and to a restricted extent their subject material. The pioneer poets had caught to the traditional types of poetry utilizing common line lengths and rhyme schemes. Their simplistic poetry often expressed insipid sentiments and robust non secular Christian doctrines, with a lot of the poets themselves being avid churchmen strongly influenced by the 19th century English poets and by the Bible, the frequent prayer and hymn books. Considered one of them, Crispin George was a long-standing chorister. That they lived in a turbulent interval of a lot political clamor for nationalism and self-determination and different destabilizing social in addition to political actions just isn’t too obvious of their poetry besides for the delicate use of Christian doctrines to cover their aspirations for social justice. That is very true for the poetry of Crispin George and Jacob Stanley Davies and to a lesser extent Gladys Casely-Hayford.

The trendy poets, contemporaries of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Christopher Okigbo, who while at college overseas, largely in Britain, have been uncovered to fashionable English poets comparable to Gerard Manley Hopkins, T.S Eliot, Ezra Pound and D.H. Lawrence began breaking from the earlier poetic custom via the fashionable affect borne on their model. In addition they began infusing some African customs and custom of their poetry as they felt estranged and minimize off from their roots. They thus dumped previous strategies of writing in common strains and rhymes totally free verse, distortion of logical syntax, obscurity and private symbolism and imagery. They critically examined the hitherto readily accepted British and American values and requirements. They questioned racism and different social ills as they have been uncovered of their overseas domicile to racial discrimination and its debasing penalties.

Abioseh Nicol’s poetry as an example spans the pioneer and youthful fashionable poets displaying some African consciousness and never blindly accepting overseas values longs for eventual return dwelling in Candy Sierra Leone.

Most of Gaston Bart-William’s poetry is involved with racism and racial discrimination. Jacob Stanley Davies although a pioneer poet expressing Christian doctrines in his poetry has some poems like ‘Libretone’ which appear to talk to timeless points. Crispin George in ‘Assist Deferred’ breaks free from the constricting impact of rhyme scheme.

A lot growth has taken place since to alter the profile of Sierra Leone poetry although the publishing alternatives in print aren’t as welcoming as then. However such altering profile will make attention-grabbing research.

Supply by Arthur Smith


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