Reminiscing the Blank Spaces of Sojourn: Sublimating Emotional Flights in Taban Lo Liyong’s “Words That Melt A Mountain”

Niyi Akingbe


Taban Lo Liyong's profoundity as a foremost writer from East Africa is often showcased by his wilful eccentricity and dogged iconoclasm, which exuberantly dot the lines of his poetry collections. For much of his writing career, Liyong has sustained a cultivated equanimity towards the paradox of being widely accepted by the budding African literary critics, and being deliberately neglected by the established critics. His maverick disposition to literary craftsmanship is stridently exhibited in the thematics of Words That Melt A Mountain: an unabashed treatment of controversial subject matters; intrusive and digressive narrative technique; confident assertive ego; an effervescent erudition in his writing and a disturbing frankness in the treatment of sex. This paper is preoccupied with the examination of how the Poetics of Words That Melt A Mountain are grounded in the boons and mementoes garnered from the experiences borne out of Liyong's sojourn in Japan. It will further look into how the reminiscence of Liyong's sojourn in Japan ferments an interplay of themes which oscillate between audacious narrative of erotic explorations and a penetrating introspection into the African mythopoesis.


Reminiscing; the blank spaces of sojourn; sublimating; emotional flight; Taban Lo Liyong

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