PRESS RELEASE — Over 40 poets in Africa, North America, and Europe participated in the World Poetry Day virtual launch of Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi, edited by Nduka Otiono and Uche Peter Umezurike. The event, which took place on Sunday, March 21, was facilitated by Otiono, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Supervisor at the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, and Ndubuisi Martins, an Ibadan-based poet and author of the collection Answers Through the Bramble. It included poetry readings and performances, as well as reflections on mobility and mortality in the time of Coronavirus.
The event opened with welcome remarks by Otiono. Also present were Professor Toyin Falola, the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin; Professor Chinedum Babalola, Vice-Chancellor of Chrisland University, Nigeria; Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, award-winning writer; Jane Bryce, Professor Emerita of African Literature and Cinema at the University of the West Indies, Barbados; and Akua Lezli Hope, author of Embouchure and recipient of US National Endowment of the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships for poetry.
Acclaimed poet, journalist, and writer Uzo Maxim Uzoatu kickstarted the poetry readings with his poem “The Passing of Pius.” He was followed by other contributors to the anthology: Unoma Azuah, Iquo DianaAbasi, Peter Midgley, Yejide Kilanko, Sarah Katz-Lavigne, Rasak Malik Gbolahan, Jumoke Verissimo, Uthman Ajibola Adejumo, Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, Ndaba Sibanda, Maryam Ali Ali, Ludwidzi Mainza, Uzo Odonwodo, Peter Olamakinde Olapegba, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Celina Aju-Ameh, Olajide Salawu, Onuchi Mark Onoruoiza, and Umezurike.
Dr. Eghosa Imasuen, co-founder and director of Narrative Landscape Press, unveiled the African edition of Wreaths for a Wayfarer, praising it for its symbolic significance, poetic depth, and global character.
The event was both commemorative and celebratory of Pius Adesanmi. Participants highlighted his accomplishments as a writer, scholar, and public intellectual. Before his untimely demise on 10 March 2019, on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Adesanmi was a professor of English and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University.
Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi has been praised as a “richly evocative and engaging collection of poems from the heart” (Professor Obioma Nnaemeka, Chancellor’s Professor, Indiana University, and President, Association of African Women Scholars); “an assemblage of kindred tongues creating and recreating a new future from an unrelieved past and a censured present. . . a rare accomplishment” (Professor Olu Obafemi, Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and recipient of the Nigeria National Order of Merit); and as a “magisterial anthology. . . verses speak to our expectations—the daydreaming, the anticipations, even the blessings of a temporary moment” (Professor Toyin Falola).
The World Poetry Day virtual launch of Wreaths for a Wayfarer event was sponsored by Carleton University’s Institute of African Studies, Chrisland University, Lunaris, Digirature, and Ngiga Books and Club. Both the Nigerian edition and Canadian edition, published by Daraja Press, are internationally available in-store and online for purchase.
The video recording of the event can be viewed on YouTube.
Order Wreaths for a Wayfarer: An Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi from Narrative Landscape Press.