Gabriel Okara

Gabriel Okara photo

Gabriel Okara, in full Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain Okara, is a 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 his poem, The Call of the River Nun, won an award at the Nigerian Festival of Arts.

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.

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