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Poetics and Politics of Place in Pastoral

International Perspectives

Bénédicte Chorier-Fryd, Charles Holdefer and Thomas Pughe

In a time of global environmental crisis, pastoralism may seem beside the point. Yet pastoral ideals are still alive even though they often manifest themselves by ironic indirection. What can the pastoral tradition teach us about our ties to particular places?
The contributors to this volume attempt to lay the groundwork for the ongoing concern with pastoral and with its critical revision.
This volume brings together new essays that focus on painting, photography, poetry, essay, fiction and film, from the Renaissance to the present. They also take into account an astonishing variety of pastoral places, in Europe, Africa, and North America; country and city; suburbia and industrial zones.
Poetics and Politics of Place in Pastoral is not only about reassessing the past, but also provides a sense of future developments as the pastoral reinvents itself for the 21st century.
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Joe Ushie’s Pastoral Vision in Popular Stand and Hill Songs


To facilitate an appreciation of the pastoral in Joe Ushie’s poetry it is first necessary to delineate the bio-region called Niger Delta and to locate the emergence of its poetry within the trajectory of Nigerian literature in order to proffer a working definition of Niger Delta literature and its poetry in particular. We need to come to terms with these basics, given that the sub-regional poetry that we are dealing with is part of a national literature that is battling to define itself against a suffocating cultural hegemony. Moreover, a discursive map of the bio-region would help the reader appreciate the pastoral topicality as imagined by Ushie.

The area that is known as the Niger Delta in Nigeria is located at the bottom of the different tributaries to the River Niger in West Africa. Onwuka K. Dike tells us that the Niger Delta stretches from “the region bounded by the Benin River on the west and the Cross River in the east” (19). He further states that the region stretches up to “the coastal area where the Cameroon Mountains dip into the sea” (19). In Nigeria there are two delineations of the Niger Delta – one is informed by geography and economics and the other arises from a history/politics of “minoritization” (Ushie, “Niger Delta Threnodic Verses…” 527). In the first, the Niger Delta includes the nine southern Nigerian states that have crude oil. These nine states comprise Abia, Akwa lbom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo...

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