Romeo Oriogun’s poetry collection Sacraments of Bodies, published by the University of Nebraska Press, is set to make its appearance on March 1, 2020.
Romeo Oriogun first came to the attention of many followers of the African literary community when he won the Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2017. The judges at the time called him a “hugely talented, outstanding, and urgent new voice in African poetry.”
The Nigerian, now based in the United States, is an Institute of International Education Artist Protection Fund fellow and Harvard Scholars at Risk Fellow at the Hutchins Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is the author of the chapbooks Burnt Men, The Origin of Butterflies, and Museum of Silence.
The young poet’s new collection is set to be part of the University of Nebraska Press’ African Poetry Series alongside Ama Ata Aidoo, Safia Elhillo, Tjawangwa Dema, Mahtem Shiferraw, and Mukoma Wa Ngugi. Its blurb simply states;
In this groundbreaking collection of poems, Sacrament of Bodies, Romeo Oriogun fearlessly interrogates how a queer man in Nigeria can heal in a society where everything is designed to prevent such restoration. With honesty, precision, tenderness of detail, and a light touch, Oriogun explores grief and how the body finds survival through migration.
On February 15, Oriogun wrote a thread on the upcoming title which he dedicated to his mother and grandmother. In it, he starts, “When my father died, my mother was ostracized by his family because she refused to marry his cousin. We were taken from her, for a year she would travel from Benin to Ipetu-Ijesha to visit us. There was no one to plead for her, yet every month she came, asking for us.”
He then explains the struggles his mother went through to ensure her children furthered their education until she passed on at the young age of 43. He dropped out of school and struggled until poetry found him giving him a happier trajectory to his current life. You can follow the whole thread below for yourself.
1. When my father died, my mother was ostracized by his family because she refused to marry his cousin. We were taken from her, for a year she would travel from Benin to Ipetu-Ijesha to visit us. There was no one to plead for her, yet every month she came, asking for us. pic.twitter.com/XG6crFoYa6
— Romeo Oriogun (@SonOfOlokun) February 15, 2020