Wordview 2022: Scoping Map
by Ojo Taiye
Although widely referenced in popular culture as a victim of Big Oil, corruption, and pollution, Ogoniland remains one of the most beautiful and biodiverse ecosystems in the world. However, chronic oil spillages and waste dumping is turning Ogoniland into a living hell for millions of its indigenes. We dig for the 'black gold' to give us freedom and comfort but who can liberate us from the abyss it has created.
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Wordview 2022: Scoping Map
Can I still picture home, in the wreckage of things? The dying of fish and everything aquatic. That water is oil, that another name for
nostalgia is time.
Can I still teach myself how to forget? The story is that the befouled river still remains. My mother, who is now blind, still trades. Biscuits,
It’s early summer and it’s hard to tell what is sky from what is gas flare. Into the horizon, the air is toxic, and
my only surviving uncle keeps licking franol to relieve
his lung. How long was it? Does the world even read our ugly stories, does my country even know we exist?
I have forgotten we are so minor, not even close to
redemption, children keeping warm in oily waters, a pillow for their trauma. Distant but soft and cozy. Present but siloed. This land rid of all
This land full of dirt and broken pipes. Still I dream. Still I am curious. Still I want to say: O glorious creeks, born into a cold marshland.
There is no love greater
than empathy. As fisher-boys, we were brought into the creek, and told that water is life, and as such we
should learn to keep it clean.
Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2022. Used by permission of author.
A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.
Chair of the Judging Panel, Joelle Taylor, says: "We were thrilled by the range and scope of the poetry and techniques explored throughout the wide submissions. I have said before that to write a poem is an act of resistance but to then perform it as well is a revolution. It takes a bravery to face the page, and a further one to stand by your words. While we’ve all become more used to filming ourselves over the pandemic, all of us were deeply aware of that courage.
Often when on a judging panel we find ourselves faced with impossible decisions. If you can imagine, after sifting, it’s as though a hundred people have crossed the finish line at precisely the same moment but there are only three medals. How do we come to these decisions? Through the objective unpicking of the poems, through our individual passions, through a consideration of narratives, especially those lesser heard. We come to it through uneasy negotiation and through heart, and above all through our shared love and understanding of the possibilities of poetry.
Our honest applause goes to all who submitted, and I hope you can hear it.
Congratulations to those we selected. We hope to see you all again soon."See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2022 playlist