Wednesday, December 30, 2009

At the threshold of 2010

After today by the special grace of the Almighty, I shall arrive at New Year's eve. I shall be spending the night of the New Year's eve with my wife and children attending the last night of Giant Strides crossover services into 2010 at the Hope of Glory International Christian Centre, in Plumstead. I look forward to Victor Iruobe's insightful and energetic word on the night.

2009 has been a year of several highs as well as several lows for me. It was also a year in which I made so many worng choices, took on too many projects at the same time, and all suffered in one way or another. I also spent more time than necessary on social networking; tweeting, facebooking, beboing and so on.

In 2010, I am praying for the grace to streamline my work and make the fewer projects bigger and more successful. I am praying for the discipline to do the social network thing at the weekends only. I ask all my friends and associates who for some inexplicable reason prefer to send important messages to me on Facebook rather than one of my standard e-mail addresses to note that in 2010 I will not see any messages on Facebook until the weekends, in which case they might be late. My best e-mail addresses are:

If you send to my facebook e-mail address i.e. I may never see it.

Better still call or text me +44 7812 755 751

Ah, 2009, I shall remember you as the year that Sentinel Poetry Movement moved forward in realising some of our long-held dreams. In November 2009 we successfully established the Nigerian chapter of Sentinel, and published Champion Poems our new print magazine of selected poems from the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition series. We also held the first Sentinel Literature Festival in London. In 2009, Excel for Charity - the writing competition series I established in late 2008 successfully held two writing competitions in aid of Diversity House and the Psychiatry Research Trust. A paperback version of Blue Hyacinths - an anthology of selected poems from the Diversity House (Excel for Charity) Poetry Competition 2009 edited by Geoff Stevens and Nnorom Azuonye was published on 28th of December and is available for purchase or download now at: Buy Blue Hyacinths

I can also now announce that My Trousers are Longer than Yours - an anthology of short stories examining the shifting gender roles in the Nigerian family edited by Chika Unigwe will be in all good bookshops including in the 3rd week of January 2010. I wish to thank all the contributors for their patience while I dealt with many issues on the way to realising this project.

I truly thank God for my health, and the lives of my mother and my parents-in-law, my wonderful wife Thelma NwamAmaka, my exceptionally glorious children Arinzechukwu Chinedum Nnorom and Nwachiamanda Ola Akuoma. I thank God for the love of my brothers and sisters Chukwuma, Ikechukwu, Ndubuisi, Adindu, Uzoma, Obioma, Uchechukwu, Chike, Chukwuemeka, Kodi, Kelechukwu, and Chinyere. May God's ministering angels also reach out and protect my brothers and sisters in law, my nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and grand-niece, cousins, uncles, friends and associates. May the year 2010 be a year of triumphs in everything we do in the powerful name of our Lord Jesus the Christ.

I also pray for the souls of friends, and artists who went into transition in 2009 including Chienyem Okoroafor-Nwosu, Michael Joseph Jackson, and Dennis Vincent Brutus. I also remember my incredible only uterine sister Ngozi 'the wind' Ezeobi (1956 - 2008), I cannot believe it has been more than a year since you continued your journey, Ngozi, be well. My father Stephen Onyemaechi Azuonye (1916 -1982), my brother Chidi Iroanusi Azuonye (1963-1982), my fantastic nephew, the majestic mista mystic Nnamdi Obioha Azuonye (1982 - 2001). You travellers gone, I thank you all for the love we shared while you lived among us, and I thank God for the privilege of knowing you and for the honour of calling you nephew, sister, father, brother, friend, inspiration. God bless you.

2010, here we come.

Happy New Year to all.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dennis Brutus rests

After a most beautiful Christmas Day celebration with my brothers, our wives and children yesterday, I woke up this morning to the news that a Nigerian wanted to blow up a plane. As serious as at is, I was very pleased that he did not succeed. But as I was ready to swing back into the mood of the season, I learnt from the Blogazette Newsreel that Dennis Brutus checked out today. One of Africa's great poetic voices. He will be missed.

Dennis Vincent Brutus, 1924-2009
by Patrick Bond

World-renowned political organizer and one of Africa's most celebrated poets, Dennis Brutus, died early on December 26 in Cape Town, in his sleep, aged 85.

Even in his last days, Brutus was fully engaged, advocating social protest against those responsible for climate change, and promoting reparations to black South Africans from corporations that benefited from apartheid. He was a leading plaintiff in the Alien Tort Claims Act case against major firms that is now making progress in the US court system.

Brutus was born in Harare in 1924, but his South African parents soon moved to Port Elizabeth where he attended Paterson and Schauderville High Schools. He entered Fort Hare University on a full scholarship in 1940, graduating with a distinction in English and a second major in Psychology. Further studies in law at the University of the Witwatersrand were cut short by imprisonment for anti-apartheid activism.

Full article >


There is a postcard from yesterday on my desk
that tells the story of a yester-Christmastime,
of a village air taut with the aroma of burning hair;
goats' hair, cows' hair, and sheep's hair licked by
frond fires - in rears of houses where the animals
bleed from slit throats into the gullets of the earth.

Outside the African food shop in Woolwich, where
I shop for miserable portions of Oha leaves,
icy winds there hit me like a thousand knives -
winds that bear no clouds of beautiful tropical dust
raised by dancing feet of festive masquerades
and of women swinging to Nwangelenge xylophones.

Christmas will arrive tomorrow and London streets
will fall asleep, empty, like an endangered city
evacuated on the account of a plague.
There are no girls modelling Christmas clothes here;
pulling targets of on heat boys with fresh haircuts
asking of everyone, 'Dance Christmas for me.'

At times like this I wish to stand on a mountain
with a placard that says "MISSING TIME: CHRISTMAS
hijacked by the heathen, hedonised, violated."
Jesus the Christ's birthday party has transfigured,
and is now a carnival of Visa and Mastercard tricks
of over-eating, over-drinking, over-sexing, over-everything.

- Nnorom Azuonye
London, Christmas Eve 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009


Mugs of coffee hot on my lips
Radiator set to the maximum
Doors and windows firmly shut
To keep the chill out
To think that now at Isuikwuato
Doors and windows may be open
Palm Wine and Deer kind on tongue
It's man bonding with nature
Now tell me where is the sanity
In leaving sunshine and its warmth
In leaving that buzz of the village square
to come and live in a freezer
Damn! I'm going home someday
Good or bad to Isuikwuato
Where the world is sweet
And it's all mine, at Isuikwuato
Where the hunting knives
Their blades aglint
I want to see the sun rise
Over the hills and the palms
It is the only world I know
Where I'd like to walk on sand
And not on cold mounds of snow.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recent stuff online

A Father's Story

On Father's Day 2009, I read an early version of my everyman's poem "A Father's Story" in front of many fathers and future fathers in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Dartford, UK. I have since shared "A Father's Story" with friends on Facebook, and in December 2009, it was retold in the webzine Ink Sweat & Tears.

Enjoy the poem.

What is Illuminating about Adichie's 'The Danger of a Single Story'?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the golden girl of Nigerian literature we all love to bits. As a literary ambassador of Nigeria and Africa, she gets to talk about Africa vs the World a bit. In The Danger of a Single Story, she delivers a lecture on a subject so old the cobwebs on them have grey beards: If you have just one side of a story, you could be thoroughly misunderstood. This short essay in Maple Tree Literary Supplement (Issue 5, December 2009) is a quick post-mortem on Adichie's great new idea.

Enjoy the essay.