Is It Obscurity or the Polemics of Symbolism?: A Study of Wole Soyinka's Poetry
Asian Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies,
Some critics and scholars have overblown the issue of obscurity in the poetry of Wole Soyinka. These critics have succeeded in making a myth out of this perceived obscurity. Admittedly, his poems are not easily accessible to the average reader, but with a little effort, one finds them as academically engaging as well as rewarding. Symbolism is a major feature of his poetry. It is difficult to come across a direct statement in his poems. Like the symbolist poets, he places his faith in the personal, the subjective and the associative. He portrays the realities of his experiences through the use of images and symbols which evoke a certain emotional feeling in the reader. Despite the charges of obscurity and impenetrability made against Soyinka by the critics, it is very rewarding to study his poetry. Soyinka has enormous experiences that he wants to convey; and to do this effectively, he uses an assemblage of imagery, symbolism, and allusion to delineate his poetic trajectory. The present thesis I posit is that Soyinka’s poetry is neither difficult nor obscure but rather glows with a rich resource of symbolism in the order of the symbolist poets. This critical inquiry is anchored on the concept of symbolism.
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