The sacred impetus behind creative empowerment in poetry : a comparative study of black women poets Catherine Acholonu and Lorna Goodison
Chukwu, Hannah Ngozi Eby
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Examining poetry under the rubric of religion, geography, and gender provides a lens through which I read postcolonial literatures, thus positing new emphasis in literary studies, and suggesting for African women empowerment as opposed to weakness, articulation as opposed to silence. Religion and poetry among Black people in Africa and the Black diaspora are sacred because religion pervades values, beliefs, and socio-political life, and religion saturates the environment; as well, the role of a poet is connected to that of a seer or a sage. Comparing Turn Thanks, a collection by Jamaican-born Afro-Caribbean poet Lorna Goodison with The Spring’s Last Drop, a collection by Nigerian poet Catherine Acholonu, reveals that African and Afro-Caribbean women’s strong sense of community, spiritual sensitivity, holistic attitude of women’ fight for liberation, the quest for healing and hope through the power of crafted words and rituals present an ideology of Africana womanhood as embedded in African cultural traditions. The two poets are rooted in their culture and being rooted empowers them as members of the community and speaking voice to build on values in their communities. In terms of the structure and themes of their books, the diction of their poems and the titles of their works, the poets suggest that there is a spirit connected with the works that readers must discern and become attuned to in order to unravel the meaning and the significance of the works. Both poets go back to the primacy of the word in the spiritual and oral traditions. The thesis argues that spirituality will continue to interest scholars because it represents a strong desire of twentieth-centruy humanity to maintain equilibrium in the face of socio-political upheavals through a discerned integration of both the spirit and body for a holistic existence and survival of communities and to understand the potential of applying and realizing the power of the spirit in connecting rather than fragmenting individuals and communities. On the whole, African people in Africa and the diaspora have utilized their spirituality in order to survive, to maintain the sanctity of their culture, and to present communities that have the quality of constituting a complex unity. People from other cultures and vocations can apply the benefits that can be gained from spirituality in their communities and vocations, not only for creative empowerment but for wholeness in those communities and maximum benefits in their vocations.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeMorrell, Carol; Liu, Yin; Hallman, Dianne M.
Copyright DateOctober 2005