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« indietro

WOLE SOYINKA, Man and Nature

translated by Armando Pajalich, edited by Marco Fazzini, Lugo, Edizioni del Bradipo, 2005, pp. 64

Cleto Munari, to whom the book is dedicated, talks in his introductory note of ‘occasional nature’; and he is certainly right, as this collection, here at its first edition worldwide, has been printed in only a thousand copies, sixty of which provided with a cover showing a black and white drawing by Giuseppe Sciacca. Fortuitous coincidences (though very often, beyond coincidences, lay human passions and relations) have in fact brought to life, on July the 13th 2005 (Wole Soyinka’s seventy-first birthday), this collection of brief and striking poems, through which the Nigerian poet celebrates Nature and its beauty. And anyone possessing a copy of those sixty of the existing thousand must feel a lucky person. Lucky first of all for the very possession of such a fine book, published by Edizioni del Bradipo in their very selective series “I dardi del poeta”, edited by Marco Fazzini and enriched by Sciacca’s evocative illustrations. Secondly, for the same choice of including in this edition both the original in English with its translation into Italian, and the reproduction of Soyinka’s manuscripts; the original poems are accompanied by the fine and accurate translation of Armando Pajalich, who has been Soyinka’s Italian voice since 1979, thus representing a case of ‘double’ first edition of the text, which appears here for the first time both in English and in Italian. Thirdly, the fortune of having such a book, one has to point out, arises not only from its fine edition and from its being gold dust, but also from the immense relevance of Soyinka’s reflections not only in the landscape of Nigerian literature, but also at a worldwide level.
If one can talk of occasional nature, in fact, this does not imply that what has been written by Soyinka is also ‘light’ and ‘provisional’, as his work is on the contrary permeated by a strong will to come back, once again, on the delicacy of natural elements – such as rainbow, whose arc “is rounded in a market place / Where scattered tribes of a busy world unite” (“si fa tonda alla piazza del mercato / Dove si uniscono tribù disperse di un mondo indaffarato”, p. 31) – in order to discover in them a source of knowledge and wisdom. This approach to nature is not new, if one considers for instance Niyi Osundare’s Eye of the Earth, recently and finely translated into Italian, which also celebrates the necessity to find balances both in the world and in our private lives. Nonetheless, in Soyinka this necessity is strictly linked with a deep religious vision which leads him to draw a consistent and symmetrical universe, in which Nature and deities form a harmonic ensemble which human kind should fear, rather than either challenge or exploit for their own interests: “Who kills for love of god kills love, kills god / Who kills in name of god leaves god / Without a name” (“Chi per amor di dio uccide, amore uccide, uccide dio / Chi di dio in nome uccide, dio lascia / Senza più nome”, p.53). Therefore, together with poems openly dedicated to Nature and its elements (a leaf, a tree), there are other poems focusing on human life (specifically represented by the market) and on Yoruba deities.
Soyinka’s poems are in fact strongly influenced by Yoruba culture, as always, but Man and Nature also aims at discussing themes of general interest, as both the commitment and the widely range of interests characterizing Soyinka’s writing find a confirmation in this collection, which wants to answer today’s increasingly hard times. As Pajalich underlines in his introductory note, significantly entitled “Respectfully” (“Rispettosamente”), in consideration of that balance suggested by Soyinka throughout the volume, “surrounded as we are by frightening aggression – economic, armed or pseudocultural – Soyinka’s wise fragments ask us to stop and think. Maybe they ask for a new departure or a new sowing” (p.9). These poems, so fragmentary that sometimes they are condensed in one sentence (“Hell’s location is a place of choice”: “L’inferno si trova in un luogo di tua scelta”, p.51), are meant not only as reflections on the contemporary world, whose most banal and although significant details we are invited to observe and remember, but also as a praise for those, Soyinka amongst them, who have attempted a reconciliation of the elements through a brave and sometimes dangerous fight for the dignity and freedom of both human kind and the world we live in: “Courage is its own crown, sometimes / Of thorns, always luminous as martyrdom” (“Il coraggio è corona di se stesso, a volte / Di spine, sempre luminoso come un martirio”, p.37).
This is therefore a precious book, both in its contents and form, and certainly the fruit of the serious thought of an experienced poet, but also the result of friendships and mutual relations which basically put in practice what Soyinka wishes for in this new and unusual poetic work.


Tiziana Morosetti
(Tiziana Morosetti PhD University of Bologna, now holding a postdoctoral scholarship. Her research focuses on both Postcolonial Studies and African Literatures in English. She is editor-in-chief of the journal Quaderni del ’900.  She is now involved in a study on utopian writing in African literature.)


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Iniziative
19 giugno 2019
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31 maggio 2019
I'M SO TIRED OF FLORENCE: READING MINA LOY

12 aprile 2019
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28 marzo 2019
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27 marzo 2019
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15 marzo 2019
Rosaria Lo Russo legge Sexton

6 febbraio 2019
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25 gennaio 2019
Assemblea sociale e nuovi laboratori

14 dicembre 2018
Incontro con Giorgio Falco

8 dicembre 2018
Semicerchio a "Più Libri Più Liberi" Roma

6 dicembre 2018
Semicerchio issue on MIGRATION AND IDENTITY. Call for papers

16 novembre 2018
"Folla delle vene" di Iacuzzi a Semicerchio

12 ottobre 2018
Inaugurazione XXX Corso di Poesia con Franco Buffoni

7 ottobre 2018
Festa della poesia a Montebeni

30 settembre 2018
Laboratorio pubblico di Alessandro Raveggi a Firenze Libro Aperto

23 settembre 2018
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22 settembre 2018
Le Poete al Caffé Letterario

6 settembre 2018
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5 settembre 2018
Verusca Costenaro a L'Ora blu

18 giugno 2018
Libri recensibili per luglio 2018

9 giugno 2018
Semicerchio al Festival di Poesia di Genova

5 giugno 2018
La liberté d'expression à l'épreuve des langues - Paris

26 maggio 2018
Slam-Poetry al PIM-FEST, Rignano

19 maggio 2018
Lingue e dialetti: PIM-FEST a Rosano

17 maggio 2018
PIM-FEST: il programma

8 maggio 2018
Mia Lecomte a Pistoia

4 maggio 2018
Incontro con Stefano Carrai

2 maggio 2018
Lezioni sulla canzone

9 aprile 2018
Scaffai: "Letteratura e Ecologia" al Vieusseux

7 aprile 2018
Reading di poesia guidato da Caterina Bigazzi

5 aprile 2018
Incontro con Eraldo Affinati

3 marzo 2018
La poesia dei nuovi italiani. Con Barbara Serdakowski, in ricordo di Hasan

2 marzo 2018
Incontro con Grazia Verasani - annullato

27 febbraio 2018
Ceppo Internazionale ad André Ughetto - Firenze 27/2 ore 16

2 febbraio 2018
Ricordo di Hasan Atiya al-Nassar-Firenze

23 gennaio 2018
Mostra riviste poesia - Firenze Marucelliana

25 dicembre 2017
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15 dicembre 2017
Antonella Anedda alla scuola di "Semicerchio"

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Semicerchio è pubblicata col patrocinio del Dipartimento di Teoria e Documentazione delle Tradizioni Culturali dell'Università di Siena viale Cittadini 33, 52100 Arezzo, tel. +39-0575.926314, fax +39-0575.926312
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