By Theodore G Vincent and Kojo Senanu
'A magnificent work - and although published decades ago, not really dated as this is quintessential poetry dished out by some of the most outstanding poets/writers in African history. This was/is a veritable textbook and general work throbbing with the acme of poetry as produced by great early African writers. The names of the poets whose works are introduced here are illustrious - they include Lenrie Peters (Gambia), Okot p'bitek (Uganda), Leopold Senghor (Senegal), Wole Soyinka, J. P Clark (Nigeria), Kofi Awoonor, Kwesi Brew (Ghana), David Rubadiri, Denis Brutus (Southern Africa) among many others. This is a top-notch work which also includes the best of translations, even from African languages into English. The approach of the authors is sublime; as we are given brief biographies of the poets, and then individual poems are brilliantly analysed, with excellent comments and explanation. In the process we can appreciate the variegated figures of speech, general imagery and ideas of so many poems. We learn for example that poets like Soyinka and Peters are rather "difficult", yet the authors *editors, rather, pull out all the stops to simplify or explain their work in detail. The variety of selected sample poems is extraordinary - for example, one can relish a work like Lest we should be the last (by Kwesi Brew) whose dazzling simplicity reaches a bathetic crescendo...'