Title: The Mariner, Journal of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Bayelsa State Chapter.
Publisher: Dr Ebi Yeibo
Edition: 2021: Number 9, June 2021
Reviewer: Edozie Udeze
The Izon Nation has always been one of the earliest ancestors of Nigerian literature. From the start, the original Izon writers had gone out smoking with an avalanche of literary offerings to celebrate their legacies and lead the way for Nigerian literature. This is what was consistently espoused in The Mariner magazine. The Mariner is the official journal of the Nigerian Authors’ Association (ANA) Bayelsa State Chapter, published to celebrate, praise and detail the sentiments, elements and very factors that define, propel, project and beautify the stories coming out of the Niger Delta Areas in Nigeria.
In its latest edition, boldly titled The Leaving Legends, the main focus is on the Literature Founding Fathers of the Izon Nation, a people always bristling with ideas, cultures, stories that make literature always interesting. These literary icons and oldies are: Gabriel Okara, JP Clark and a few others who left the shores of the earth but left behind countless literary pieces that will forever remain green. The magazine also reflects stories in the areas of essays, poems, short stories, plays, reviews, short stories, name it.
Focusing more on the legends of the start this time around, the editorial page rendered by the magazine’s editor, Dr Ebi Yeibo, said: “In this edition of The Mariner, Frank-Opigo explores the details of life. and the extraordinary and inspiring accomplishments of these verbal arts icons in the cover… Clark – Bekederemo’s work stands out… what’s more. It can be used to have assumed specific historical significance in the evolution of Nigerian and even African poetry in English, as it is indisputable that his early efforts were central to both the thematic reorientation and the profound transformation of the idiom which led to the decisive advance that the new poetry came to represent ”…
As for Gabriel Imomitimi Okara, he is a “pioneering modernist poet in English-speaking Africa. His poetry favors folklore and African imagery in a definitive and luminous way. His innovative and experimental novel The Voice (1964) gave him a prominent and permanent place in African literature, as it shapes a new linguistic idiom to interpret the bilingual and bicultural environment of Africa with the aim of bailing out the continent (and its literature ) of the linguistic dilemma which was apparently inextricably imposed on it by imperialism ”. In his well-charged tributes to celebrate the life and times of these ancestors, engineer Emmanuel Frank-Opigo, a seasoned writer and one of the forerunners of the ANA in Bayelsa State, focused the attention to personal contacts, meetings and experiences. with the authors. Her article delves into their ideologies and philosophies not only about the lives of writers, but also how to make literature fit into people’s daily lives.
Opigo wrote: “In the 7th edition of The Mariner (June 2017), we presented two literary giants who have just come off the stage: Elechi Amadi and Simon Ambakeremo. We were talking about the lovely class then. Over the years, this first generation continues to sneak into the Élysée… Souls of dead and missing poets, what have you known about Élysée? “
As ANA marks 40 years of existence reeling from top to bottom, top to bottom, writers will continue to exist, new ones must continue to emerge, writing is still alive. Yes, the works of the ancients will live on and on to eternity. Literature is an eternal heritage; its writers also remain alive in the conscience of the people. Opigo’s tributes, as elaborate as they are, also reflect the immortality of these departing legends. They are gone, but they are still alive in the work they have given back to society. He said: “John Keats died at age 24. But we are thankful that our legends are leaving at an old age, even though we wanted them around us a little longer.”
Therefore, “JP Clark and Gabriel Okara’s hold on our literary imaginaries will last a lifetime, no matter how the ANA’s fortunes rise and fall, rise and fall.” And so he greets once again the chief Christian Otobotekere, traditional chief of the city of Tombia, another burning poet, member of the ANA, who at 96 years old still bristles, seethes of ideas and inscribes his literary ideals on the sands of time. Besides his proverbial love for writing, “he is a king who has never lost the common touch. He gets along with his peers the same way he gets along with children. And many of you can testify to the thrill of receiving such undeserved attention from a father or even an unknown person … Therefore, the “common touch” is a well-known characteristic of His Royal Highness, the King Christian Atani Okpofaa Otobotekere, who not only gives sumptuous dinners but insists that his guests spend the night in his palace… ”
There are short stories as well as plays and poems, all of which celebrate the rich literary legacies of the Niger Delta in all fields. Essays on various issues dot the magazine. The stories, however, testify to deep norms and nuances of literary values of all kinds. Children also have the opportunity to write short stories and prizes are awarded to the winners. Nigeria is full of ideas; all they need is people, passionate writers, to watch it closely and then have stories to write. This is what happens in The Mariner. It’s like a collection or an encyclopedia of stories; literary harvests, which occupy the readers from top to bottom, all captivating.
Portions done in the Izon language spell out love, inviting people to embrace what is theirs. No local language or dialect should be doomed to die. Every language is put on earth by the Creator for a purpose, because everything God has done is beautiful, useful and fulfilling.
Most of the news celebrates life; life in its prime. They highlight the ugly, the beautiful and in other cases the horrible. All of these blend together to give life its captivating meaning and purpose. The offers show that the ANA in Bayelsa is determined, caring for writers of all ages. Most contributors in all genres are cool hands, ready to go. They are young, well-prepared writers, ready for now and for the future. The stories are well told; that the poems come with echoes of deep messages, anecdotes, innuendo, about the quarrels of this ugly enclave; this recalcitrant society.
But then the works of older writers here show clearer qualities and standards. All of this shows that writers, like old wine, appreciate with time and constant practice.
Overall, however, The Mariner needs to spice up its pages with images and illustrations to break up the monotony of the stories. Images also encourage literature. They breathe, bristle, glow and glow with attention, interest and intriguing fascination.