Okara, Gabriel


Okara, Gabriel

▪ Nigerian author
in full  Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain Okara 
born April 21, 1921, Bumodi, Nigeria

      Nigerian poet and novelist whose verse had been translated into several languages by the early 1960s.

      A largely self-educated man, Okara became a bookbinder after leaving school and soon began writing plays and features for radio. In 1953 his poem “The Call of the River Nun” won an award at the Nigerian Festival of Arts. Some of his poems were published in the influential periodical Black Orpheus, and by 1960 he was recognized as an accomplished literary craftsman.

      Okara's poetry is based on a series of contrasts in which symbols are neatly balanced against each other. The need to reconcile the extremes of experience (life and death are common themes) preoccupies his verse, and a typical poem has a circular movement from everyday reality to a moment of joy and back to reality again.

      Okara incorporated African thought, religion, folklore, and imagery into both his verse and prose. His first novel, The Voice (1964), is a remarkable linguistic experiment in which Okara translated directly from the Ijo (Ijoid languages) (Ijaw) language, imposing Ijo syntax onto English in order to give literal expression to African ideas and imagery. The novel creates a symbolic landscape in which the forces of traditional African culture and Western materialism contend. Its tragic hero, Okolo, is both an individual and a universal figure, and the ephemeral “it” that he is searching for could represent any number of transcendent moral values. Okara's skilled portrayal of the inner tensions of his hero distinguished him from many other Nigerian novelists.

      During much of the 1960s Okara worked in civil service. From 1972 to 1980 he was director of the Rivers State Publishing House in Port Harcourt. His later work includes a collection of poems, The Fisherman's Invocation (1978), and two books for children, Little Snake and Little Frog (1981) and An Adventure to Juju Island (1992).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gabriel Okara — Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain Okara (* 1921 in Bomoundi, Bayelsa State, Nigeria) ist ein nigerianischer Schriftsteller. Er wurde vor allem durch sein dichterisches Werk bekannt, hat aber auch mehrere Romane und Kinderbücher geschrieben. 1979 wurde …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gabriel Okara — Nom de naissance Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain Okara Activités Écrivain Naissance 24 avril 1921 Genres Roman Poème Distinctions Commonwealth Poetry Prize (1979) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gabriel Okara — Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain Okara is a Nigerian writer. He was born in Bomoundi in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, in April 1921. He is a poet and novelist; his novel The Voice was published by Heinemann in the African Writers Series . The Voice is one… …   Wikipedia

  • Okara — can have several meanings: Okara (food) Okara, Pakistan Okara Tehsil Okara District, Pakistan Gabriel Okara, a Nigerian writer. This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an …   Wikipedia

  • Okara — bezeichnet: Okara (Lebensmittel), ein japanisches Lebensmittel Okara (Stadt), Stadt in Pakistan Okara ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Gabriel Okara (* 1921), nigerianischer Schriftsteller Diese Seite ist eine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Okara —   [englisch əʊ kɑːrɑː], Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain, nigerianischer Schriftsteller, * Bumodi (Rivers) 21. 4. 1921; Journalist; arbeitete während des nigerianischen Bürgerkrieges im Kulturministerium Biafras. Okara schreibt v. a. Gedichte in… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • African literature — Introduction       the traditional oral and written literatures together with the mainly 20th century literature written mostly in European languages but also to an increasing extent in the many languages of the sub Saharan region. Traditional… …   Universalium

  • Achebe, Chinua — ▪ Nigerian author in full  Albert Chinualumogu Achebe  born Nov. 16, 1930, Ogidi, Nigeria    prominent Igbo (Ibo) novelist acclaimed for his unsentimental depictions of the social and psychological disorientation accompanying the imposition of… …   Universalium

  • Chinua Achebe — Achebe redirects here. For the fictional character, see Achebe (comics). Chinua redirects here. It is not to be confused with Chin hua. Chinua Achebe Chinua Achebe (2008) Born Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe 16 …   Wikipedia

  • Once Upon a Time (poem) — Once Upon a Time is a poem by Nigerian writer Gabriel Okara which expresses concern for the influence of the Western world on age old African custom. Categories: Postcolonial literaturePoetry stubsPoetry by Gabriel Okara …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.