Yawns and Belches

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Ushie, Joe (2018). Yawns and Belches. Kraft Books Ltd, Ibadan

Yawns and Belches is confirmatory! It endorses the international award-winning poet and Bette-Bendi-born scholar, Joe Ushie, in literary memory as one of Africa’s best-famous, versatile and prolific poets. He has demonstrated a sustained proclivity in presenting the “social-political” themes of his world with a stylistic signature reminiscent of Niyi Osundare, Susan Kiguli and Eaman Grennan. Fourteen years is a long time to wait. But we have not waited in vain, for the master-poet has compensated us with a splendid collection of poems that comes with a kind of newness and freshness that reminds one of dews in the morning. A reading of Yawns and Belches shows that Ushie has deepened his concern about the fate of the common people. Oscillating like a pendulum between hopefulness and hopelessness, Yawns and Belches addresses failure in leadership as manifested in a democracy that has elected to remain infantile. Apart from marking the entry of a finely written collection of poems into Africa’s largest literary space, Yawns and Belches illuminates the poet’s continuous strengthening of his craftsmanship and poetic vision.

Yawns and Belches, even at a glance, presents Ushie as the people’s poet, the spokesperson of the yawning majority

—Rome Aboh, author of A Torrent of Terror and Above the Rubble, academic and Fellow, American Council of Learned Societies (AHP)

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CONTENTS

WATCHING
Watching
Letters on the streets
Yawns and belches
Worldeclass democracy
Climate change
One with the beasts
Tree and crane
Lame gods
ln vitro fertilization
Africa today
Paternoster of African rulers
Weird harvest
Ballot season
Message to my congressman
Transition ?ights
The farm hut
The big man
The season has come
At the national cemetery
Roadside shit
Tides
Tasmanian devils
Nightmates
Homage to haram
Early menopause
This poem
Parallels
My oppressors
My umbrella
lf words
Birthdays
The tethered
The “Sir” pendulum
Walking with the sun
The rags on the floor
Fridays and Sundays
Fields
New year day
My happiest
To you, who stole my phone
To my students
The good landlord
Song of the first wife

FLOWERS OF THE HEART
Name not your fees
Perfect rhyme scheme
Hidden verse
A salute
Sour flower

WOUNDS OF THE HEART
Wounds of the heart
The quest
Master punctuation mark
In memoriam: Mike Akomaye Yanou (Jolly)
Another big fish has left the river
Another silk tree has fallen

Prof. Joseph Ushie

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Joseph Akawu Ushie is a Professor of General Stylistics and Literary criticism at University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Nigeria.
He is the current Vice-Dean, Postgraduate School, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. He was born at Akorshi, Bendi, the hilly Obanliku Local Government Area (which houses Nigeria’s foremost tourist attraction, the Obudu Cattle Ranch) of Cross River State, and he attended St. Peter’s Primary School, Bendi, Government Secondary School, Obudu, and the University of Calabar, Calabar, where he studied English and Literary studies, and was the Secretary-General, Student Union Government in 1980-81 session. He subsequently obtained the M. A. (1988) and PhD (2001) in English from Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan. Professor Ushie had served as Head, Department of English, and on several boards and committees in the University of Uyo. He had also been Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Judge, ANA national literary competitions (2009 – 2010), Juror of the Canada-based International Poetry Competition (2017) and a Co-Editor, Montreal 2017 Global Poetry Anthology.

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