“There is a bird in my heart, craving for a perch on the absent tree,” writes poet Niyi Osundare (MA English 1974) about the political situation of his native Nigeria. His censorious poems and essays tackle subjects such as socio-economic problems, leadership, and the struggles faced by the poor. “I interrogate Nigeria and Africa,” he explains, “their politics, culture and life.” Seventy-year-old Niyi has had an illustrious literary career. Author of
18 books of poetry, four plays, and numerous essays, he is also Distinguished Professor of English at the University of New Orleans. Niyi received the Nigerian National Order of Merit in 2014.