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Anglophone Cameroon Poetry in the Environmental Matrix

Eunice Ngongkum

This book explores contemporary Anglophone Cameroon poetry’s engagement with the environment through an eco-textual analysis of a cross section of poems from different poets. In this regard, the work broadens the field of ecocriticism beyond the original Anglo-American axis by developing a more locally-rooted in ecocriticism while making a valuable addition to the growing field of African ecocriticism.

It spotlights environmental degradation, the inextricable relationship between nature and culture as well as the intersection between history, politics, ethics and the environment in the Anglophone Cameroon cultural imaginary.

Focusing on the current need for the humanities to effectively respond to environmental challenges, the book foregrounds an environmental poetic vision that can be an ideal starting point for influencing and changing thought and behavioural patterns globally.

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Chapter 3. Nature’s Variability: Seasons in Poetry

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Chapter 3 Nature’s Variability: Seasons in Poetry

It is an acknowledged fact of literary history that seasonality has fascinated writers, especially poets, around the world throughout time. This is simply so because the seasons, as Michael Kammen notes, “have always been with us, […] with variable meanings for diverse people at different times in human history” (2004:11). For Lawrence Buell, the seasons’ perceptibility in everyday life requires no formal training to observe their passage and take pleasure in them (1995:220). Euro-American poets such as Virgil, James Thomson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Emily Dickinson, have engaged the seasons from varying and interesting parameters demonstrating, in the process, how they apprehend and appreciate this important aspect of the natural world. Some African poets like Kwesi Brew, Wole Soyinka, Okot p’Bitek, David Rubadiri and Niyi Osundare have also examined seasonality in some of their poems, showing how the concept is intrinsic to the flow and quality of social, economic and religious life on the continent. Contemporary Anglophone Cameroon poets are cast in this same mould. Their poetry underscores the fact that the seasons are not simply a framework of external constraints on people but are linked to culture. At a crucial point in human history (such as the present), with the looming environmental crises, how these poets capture the impact of changing seasonality not only does much to enhance one’s sensitivity to the environment’s vulnerability, but also to an appreciation of the functioning of nature in...

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