Labyrinths, By Christopher Okigbo

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The Independent Culture

Killed in 1967 aged 35, a major on the Biafran side in Nigeria's civil war, Christopher Okigbo had already laid a claim to be judged as one of Africa's greatest modern poets.

Steeped alike in western Modernist aesthetics and the myth-making traditions of his own Igbo background, he fused worlds with an assurance that married lyric and epic, audacity and grace.

This collection from 1971, reissued in the revived Heinemann African Writers Series, will remind existing readers of Okigbo's prowess and dazzle new ones. More than ever, he is read – a welcome riposte to his fear of a time of oblivion when "we must sing, tongue-tied/ Without name or audience,/ making harmony among the branches".

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