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Première partie : Montagnes poétiques et esthétiques

Mountains of the Mind

Niyi Osundare
p. 9-16

Editor's notes

Keynote Speech at the Conference on "The Mountain in Image and Word in the English-Speaking World: The Landscape Figured and Disfigured", Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, 4-7 October 2007

Full text

I am child of the river, child of the rock
Child, of rocky hills holding hands
Above the tallest roofs.
Dawns are grey, dusks brown;
Whoever craves the blue legend of Ikere skies,
Let him turn his neck like a barber’s chair
For here, the rock is earth, the rock is sky
I am child of the rock
Too high for the legs of the eye;
For the elephant is feast for any sight (Midlife 11)

Mountains of My Beginning

1I am flattered by a lofty feeling that the organisers of this gathering must have had me at the back of their minds when they decided on "Mountains" as the theme for this conference. For, mountains have always loomed large in my circumstance and consciousness. I was born and bred under the watchful eyes of rocky mountains. My laughter bloomed in their light; my sadness in their shadows. Their slopy tracks toughened my fledgling legs for life’s bewildering journey. Their inscrutable silence wrote/compiled my first book of wisdom. On their brows was the unwritten lore which guarded the community; behind those brows a quarry of legends. The rocky mountains spoke in ancient tongues whose syllables were water and fire, mud and magic, poetry and pebbles; whose syntax was sound and silence. The mountains sang the Deep Song which rattled the roofs and whispered rocky tidings in the ears of the walls. That Song rumbled right in the stomach of the earth because its tenor was thunder; lightning’s forked tongue was its guiding torch.

2Everywhere I turned, the rocky mountains were in my eye. I watched the evening sun set on their crests, suffused in gold and dazzling orange, and never stopped wondering why the sun always chose to bleed so lyrically, so spectacularly, on its way to night’s distant realm. "Will you come back tomorrow, dear Sun", I asked in my song. "Can you squeeze back your way through the narrow strip between the mountaintop and the sky?". But the sun always came back, as did the mountain, and the streets and the trees and the people, and the little ants beneath the roots of the grass. The mountains always loomed back into view at the break of day, dew-drenched, mist-mobbed, sometimes bigger than they looked the previous evening, sometimes smaller; but in whatever size they chose to return, they were always a feast inexhaustible for the eye.

3Olosunta is the undisputed king of Ikere’s skyline. No wonder its oriki is "Olosunta orun Ukere" (Olosunta, sky/heaven of Ikere). Round-browed, flat-topped, divinely tall, this imposing rock-mountain commands different views/aspects from different angles of Ikere: galloping elephant if looked at from certain areas; reclining buffalo when viewed from some; indescribable Leviathan if seen from others. This apparent visual metamorphosis is but an index of Olosunta’s protean propensities as god and man, poet and prophet, farmer and artisan, priest and griot. Its top is flat because its provides the launch pad for the voyage to the land of spirits. It is also where the sun reclines in the evening, where the gods sit in conference over their own affairs and those of human beings below. From whatever angle you choose to look at it, with whatever eyes, Olosunta is the giant in the sky. And who can say of the elephant: oh, I only saw some speck in a glance?

4Oroole comes next. Some say it’s a rock-hill. "Experts" tag it an inselberg. The wise simply call it a piece of wonder. Towering into the sky like a majestic pyramid, Oroole looks like a mammoth obelisk constantly probing the clouds with its pointed/narrow head. With this head it perforates the sack of the clouds, forcing them to release some of their hoarded water. No wonder elephant grass blooms at its foot; cornfields thrive with bountiful ears, and the atmosphere is thick with the riot of pollen grains. Oroole witnessed "every stroke and every dot" (The Eye of the Earth 15) of my secondary education at Amoye Grammar School, Ikere, taught me to do with the tip of the pen what it did so magically with the tip of its own head: prod the elements into releasing some of their showers/blessings; let them water the garden of the imagination so I could plant my words and watch them grow and fruit. Fairy and friend, companion and consort, Oroole loomed so close in cold, foggy harmattan mornings, withdrawing into stony distance as the sun licked up dawn’s dew with tropical relish and banished the mists to the house of vapours. Legend has it that in ancient days, Oroole was a wrestler; so he robbed his head to pay his foot:

for earth is where we stand
earth is where we strive,
and what greater vantage to a wrestling rock
than a platform of a thousand feet (The Eye 15)

5Ugele is the rock-mountain of the sprawling, nondescript aspect. Splashed generously on the northern part of Ikere township, it serves as the insurmountable demarcation between roads and streets, quarters and family compounds. Shorn of the sacred aura of Olosunta and the lone-ranging location of Oroole, Ugele lives among the people, enduring the hurly-burly of town life, its gentle gradient having made its lower parts the haunt of curious climbers and fun-seekers. Ugele is richly associated with the ribald revelry of Ogunoye Festival during which men and women exchange graphically bawdy songs about each gender’s genitalia, and the entire town is awash in x-rated metaphors and the poetic detonations of long-held taboos. A little loosening of the tongue leads to a loosening of tension, and for one day in the year, songs expose the anatomy that custom has always kept under forbidding wraps.

6Let us call Olosunta and Oroole, then, the rock-mountains which oversee the spirit of harvest, the former too sacred to climb, the latter too steep even for the most adventurous feet; but Ugele is the guardian soul of play and pleasure, of lyric and laughter, of ritual transgressions and social freedom. Though somewhat different in their respective designations, these rock-mountains constitute a brotherhood of heights holding hands in the skyline, a range of heights and peaks extending for miles and miles to other towns and villages. Some of these mountains dominate the landscape of our family farm.

7My father liked nowhere else but Egbake (mountain, uphill region) for his tilling and farming. While his peers usually sought out the plains and verdant valleys, father preferred the high and craggy acre. He scraped hoefuls of earth from the rocks, with barely enough to make the mounds and heaps in which he planted his seed-yams. Weeding and tending the vines was always something close to an ordeal. Falls were frequent, especially when the stepping stones gave way or the rains turned the earth into slippery clay. We all constantly had to be on guard. Father had reasons for his risky choice. A soil scientist who never went to school, he talked about drainage and water retention, about loam and lush, about eriri oke, eriri okuta (mountain dirt, rock dirt) which was nothing short of a natural fertilizer which made the vegetation around the mountains so lush and green. Yam tubers thrived in this mountainous terrain; corn stalks bent to the ground with heavy ears. The winds never failed in the dry season when it was time to winnow the peas. There was also some kind of curious pleasure in having your farm close to the skies!

8If father was a savvy self-taught soil scientist, he was an even more perspicacious self-instructed meteorologist. He studied all the mountains around, noting their relative heights, their sometimes unpredictable humours. He noted the clouds and the way the winds affected their movements. He knew which mountains forced the clouds to drop their moisture, and what side of the mountains the rain always fell. He talked about "pregnant mountain winds" and "empty mountain winds". He knew which of them brought the rain and which merely brought the storm. He predicted with uncanny accuracy where and when the rain would fall by watching the interaction between the clouds and the mountaintops, by placing his hand on the pulse of the winds. Father’s familiarity with the mountains bred a handsome success: we hardly had a crop failure no matter how long the season of drought. It was not until years later in a high school Physical Geography class that I learnt that the distinction father made by instinct and experience was that between the "windward side" and the "leeward side" of the mountains in relation to the movement/direction of moisture-laden winds! My father was my first geography teacher on the eternal love-play between the mountains and the winds, with the sky sometimes as matchmaker, other times as an interested on-looker; the all-important rain as fruit of the union.

9I follow the mountain, or rather, the mountain follows me everywhere I go. From the brotherhood of rock-hills which oversaw my birth and lower secondary education at Amoye Grammar School, Ikere, to the impressive Agidimo hills on top of which sits Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti which provided my higher secondary education, and where I was editor of the school newsletter named after the Hill. Then, university education in Ibadan, a city which is, in the immortal words of the poet John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo, "flung and scattered among seven hills like broken china in the sun", and whose culture and politics imitate the breath-taking ups and downs of its rugged landscape. I have composed many songs in the solitude of those hills and performed them in the throbbing valleys below.

Mountains and the World

10Mountains. They are not mere abrupt elevations with rude aspects and untended tops. Mountains gasp and breathe. They grow fat and thin. They weather and are weathered. They talk, even sing, in unfamiliar accents. They eat, drink, and belch; sometimes it is lava, other times it is violent gases coming out of their afflicted stomachs. They walk, though only the careful eye can see their legs. Their feet are wide, their toes are big. They are born, grow old, then age into eternal youth. They do not only have a soul; they are imbued with a spirit—the spirit of earth, embodied, manifest. They bleed when hurt. Water-shed and fountain-head, they are the ancient parents of rivers and streams, mother of the sea, of the blood in the human veins. They launder the lakes. Although there are occasional cases of dissident inselbergs, mountains are a gregarious bunch. Holding hands above our heads, they never walk alone; they never forget their kin. The Ikere-Akure-Idanre mountain range in Western Nigeria, the Miliken range in Eastern Nigeria, the Alpine family in Europe, the Rockies and Appalachians in the United States, the Andes in South America, the Tor clan in Devonshire England...

11The human being regards mountains with a mix of awe and helpless envy. Consider the physical, elemental superiority of mountains, the romance in their vertical remoteness, the treat in their untouchability, the attitude in their altitude. Consider the miracle in their very mountain-ness. Consider their apparent triumph over gravity, over that force that for ever roots us to the earth. Consider the mountain’s effortless access to those places beneath the sky that we can only reach with the aid of sophisticated gadgets. The human being has a primordial reverence/fascination for altitudes. We tend to eulogise the tall and apologise and compensate—for the short. There is certainly an intriguing universality in a disposition now famously known as the Napoleonic Complex. One of the outstanding (mind the pun!) attributes that favoured Saul as king of Israel was the fact that he stood head and shoulders above his peers, a biological accident that went on to assume the status of divine arete. Examine the lore of Hollywood casting of heroes and stars and you see the premium placed on height and the predominance of tall men (and women) in its Hall of Fame. When Agent 007 says in his usual assured manner "My name is Bond, James Bond", the unwritten declaration behind this assertive bravado can also be: "My height is tall, very tall".

12It is this craving to escape the prison of the earth, to undo gravity’s severe curse, that is partly responsible for our hankering for tall structures: those high walls, totem poles and obelisks of the past; the biblical Tower of Babel by means of which humans tried to access God’s throne and explode some of the myths of distance by which he held them in perpetual awe. Of course, God, who wanted to maintain his rule from his unreachable distance/heights, frustrated the heady, inquisitive humans, and their tower fell brick by brick to the ground. By so doing, God denied humans the benefit of the heights. What about our modern-day skyscrapers and high-rise wonders? They are surely not just vertical expansions aimed at easing the congestion of overcrowded, choked-up mega cities. They have also been built, invariably at budget-crippling costs, as monuments to the human hunger for heights. Remember how many times we have encountered adventurers on the Travel Channel, looking for the "tallest building in the world"? Can’t you see the tower builders beat their chest and exclaim: "Voila, my tower is taller than yours?" The human being is a very proud animal. There is something in the height of mountains that challenges our hubristic propensities. Hence the sometimes quixotic quest to "conquer" the Everest; tame the Kilimanjaro; scalp the Alps. Some actually achieve this aim; many perish in the process. But our ostensibly large footprints are but tiny tattoos on the biceps of the mountains. The word "conquer" in this regard is the human being’s self-serving hyperbole. How we covet the birds for their supreme ability to fly over hills and mountains, and at times sit and settle on their peaks. Even the invention of the aeroplane has not cured us completely of that envy.

13Awe breeds reverence just as distance is sometimes the foster father of respect. Mountains intimidate us with their spectacular presence, their closeness to the sky which, in the belief of many cultures, is God’s abode. By its unusual prominence, its craggy physiognomy (the mountain never shaves), its frightening steeps and slopes, the shrill howl of the winds as they roar through its flanks, the eerie echoes produced by our voices as we try to shout our wishes (even as the mountain takes up those voices and returns them to us through the hollow throats of the winds), the remoteness and solitude of its ambiance, the total ease and divine aplomb with which it dwarfs the human figure... by virtue of all these, the mountain has come to acquire the attributes of a divinity. In many parts of Yorubaland, for instance, Oke (Hill/Mountain) is a deity worshipped annually or as the need arises, and children believed to have come through its beneficence bear its mark in their names: Oketunji (The Mountain has risen again); Okedara (The Mountain has wrought miracles); Okediran (The Mountain has become a wondrous phenomenon); Okeseyi (The Mountain has given us this). Olosunta (Olu-sun-ota: God rests in the rock), the rock-mountain encountered earlier in this essay, is Ikere’s supreme deity in charge of planting and harvest, fertility and procreation; his priest, whose word carries a measure of finality, takes care of deific/vatic rituals and civic jurispudence. He does not just adjudicate in social, secular matters; his word in this and other regards carries the irrevocable mandate of God. Olosunta is believed capable of working miracles: he is Agbomoagan (One who gives children to the barren); Amoye (The one you thrive when you know). On a jocular, though not less amazing level, he is eulogized as:

the elephant hand which hits the haughty man in the head and
his testicles leak to the wondering earth
like overripe oro fruits in a thunderstorm (The Eye 14)

14Mountains and gods. God and mountains. Why did the God of the Christian Bible choose Mount Sinai as the site at which to give Moses the Ten Commandments? Consider the Hebrew leader’s protracted wandering in the wilderness, the burning sands, the chastening winds, days without food, nights without water, the solitary ambiance coupled with the total absence of distractive agents, the transformative power of these astringent conditions, the haunting altitude at which the Commandments were received, and the resultant closeness between God and Moses. Moses, indeed, has gone up the mountain to see God. He has heard his voice and seen his fire. He has stood on this higher pedestal and seen the Promised Land—a rare privilege and power unavailable to the masses of fleeing Hebrews who never veer beyond the plains.

15A passionate, if literal, belief in what may be called the "mountain effect" or "mountain magic" is discernible in the practice of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria virtually all of which believe that you cannot hear God’s words or see his face unless you stand on top of a high mountain. (As a matter of fact, one of these churches calls itself Mountain of Miracles and Fire). This theology of high zones/high ground is so pervasive that nearly all hills and mountains especially in the southern part of the country have been taken over. And where there are no such elevations, these latter-day Christians build artificial mounds with earth scooped from surrounding areas and plant a cross on the very peak. Welcome to the New Sinai in the heart of tropical Africa. After all, if Moses cannot find a mountain, he can always invent one. All it takes is a mass of faithful acolytes with an arsenal of spades and mattocks, moving earth and rock, erecting mountains. For, when you stand tiptoe on top of a mountain, you can always gain access to God’s ears, and he to yours.

16Mountains. Distances and darings. Barriers and obstacles. Shields and demarcations (capable of keeping out as much as they keep in, and vice versa). End of one road and beginning of another. Heady sweat on the ascent, knock-knee heavings of the sober descent (for the mountain that takes you up has a thousand ways of bringing you down). The mountain is helpmate and hindrance. It can land you straight on the windward side of a blooming relationship, or drop you dry on its leeward incline. Any wonder, then, that this Leviathan has left footprints in different terrains of language and culture, especially those zones dealing with the landscape of the heart. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell assured us all in the sixties that "Ain’t No Mountain [was] High Enough" to frustrate the traffic of genuine love. Millicent Small, the fairy-voiced pop singer of the same era, craved the "Wings of a Dove" so she could fly over cliffs and mountains to meet her waiting love. There are different Yoruba songs about sweethearts meeting at the foot of the mountain, or, better still, on top of it, away from the sharp blades of jealous tongues or the malevolent vibrations of the evil-minded. At the playful, ribald level, the poet may sing an oriki for the "pair of happy mountains" that adorn the rear-side of his lover as a prelude to a plea for a climb. Or pen a paean to the lush valley between the hills

17Beyond the pastoral, romantic realms, mountains have also left their imprint on the idiomatic territory of language. Quite often, we blame fastidious nit-pickers for making a “mountain out of a molehill”. Hostile nations engage in diplomatic confabs in order to remove or at least lower the "mountain of misunderstanding" between them. Didn’t Langston Hughes call attention, about 80 years ago, to "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain"? Not infrequently, a just-elected government makes a promise to clear the “mountain of mess” left by its predecessor. Alarmists are also accused of broadcasting their opponents’ peccadilloes from the mountaintop, while we all strive to remove or surmount the mountains between us and success. Something seen from a "mountaintop" or thereabout is assumed to possess a panoramic span and range; hence special premium place on "bird’s eye view". "The House on the Hill" is one that commands attention from a far distance; one that can never be hidden. Jomo Kenyatta, the founding President of the then new nation of Kenya, underwent a historical, cultural, and spiritual validation by Facing Mount Kenya, a vital act in the quest for salvation from an all-consuming colonial juggernaut. “Fire on the mountain” could be a scene from a child’s play or a grave warning, especially when accompanied by its lyrical refrain, "Run, run, run". How often we tell the self-righteous accuser about his pretence to the ”oral high ground”, or pulpit on the mountain. How do we react to those who address their listeners from Olympian heights? Doesn’t it make a whole celestial difference that the beatitudes came to us as "Sermon on the Mount"?

18Mountains. Mountains of the mind. The topography of thought. The complex attitude of altitudes. How do they thrust their spectacular masses at us; how do they impose themselves so inevitably on our imagination? How do they get the fire of the mind to penetrate, to melt, the ancient ice on their peaks? Pablo Neruda on the Heights of Macchu Picchu. Air to air. Mist to mist. Ultimate summits, "uttermost time... high places holding human beginnings" (Neruda 71). Transforming, almost trans-substantiating. Purified above, beyond, among, the clouds. The stone’s sermon takes on a vatic resonance, clipped and fluent, fluid and faltering. The heights proffer the clarity of vision and amplitude of the mind. The Bard of Chile sees America spread out before him: land and lore, continent and conundrum, closure and continuity. The stones open up to vaults of memories, ancient, stubborn, imperishable. Skeletons of the body-politic. Incas, Mayas Aztecs... Terraced pyramids to the Temple of the Sun. Gold. Metals and mettles. Native. Before the conquistador’s cancerous coming. Before the curse of the Cross, and the dispossessing theology of the gold-digger. Before the map murdered the man, and edicts rang out in new metallic tongues. In "this high site of the human dawn" (Nolan 08), Neruda’s mind migrated to the "entombed tower" of buried glories. His song assumed a grave, incantational pace as the interplay of past, present, and future take centre-stage in the theatre of his mind, and vision makes way for prophecy. From the ruins and silent stones, from these feverish and frightening heights, Neruda divines a future of a human voice in full bloom, without alienation, its gravitas restored.

  • 1 Ogun is the Yoruba god of iron and metallic lore; hunter, warrior king, and artist.

19Enter Soyinka’s Ogun1 seeking "absolution", chasing knowledge, on the distant peaks of the rock-hills of Idanre, above the "grey corrugations" of earthly roofs (Idanre 61), beyond the sanguinary chaos of the secular politics below, on to the problematic cosmos of the heights. On top of Idanre’s "rock of genesis" (69), the hunter-god looms and broods, mist-mobbed, alone, his mind on his fecundly active forge and the blood-drenched battlefields in the wake of his many battles. These "terraced hills" which aid his "self-surmounting to the skie" (72) provide both home and sanctuary for a god who holds a primal place in the pantheon, but who is also warrior and king over the human fold. Ogun and his Idanre story remind Soyinka of another "hill of the Beginning": the one from whose top Atunda/Atooda the slave rolled down the Primal Boulder which split his Master, a once monolithic godhead, into a thousand deities, thus shredding "the kernel into a million lights" (68). From the master’s hegemonic, ostensibly invariable System, an astounding variety of systems was born; from his Master-Knowledge, a plethora of epistemes. Always, the transgressive, revolutionary impact of that bolt from the blue, invariably a reward for an arduous journey to and sojourn in the heights.

20This "vertical voyage" (Nolan) is at the very heart of Fagunwa’s story in Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmale. Here a handful of brave and outstanding men are sent by their king to go up Mount Langbodo and seek solutions to the problems plaguing the town. They go and return with a boon in form of a bag of wisdom. Perilous and punishingly long, the voyage up the mountain becomes a kind of pilgrimage, a moral odyssey in which wisdom only comes through suffering the stiffest challenges. The teachers in this school of the wild are the elements from whose murderous savagery we think civilization has provided us with escape. But the juiciest palm-nut is buried between the sharpest thorns. Wisdom lives, not in the valley of sloth and easy pleasure, but on the mountaintops with their roadless tracks and killing cliffs—regions of daring and possible death, of virgin outlines and chastening winds.

21The mountain as moral and psychological, social, cultural, and political emblem climbs forcibly into Derek Walcott’s drama in Dream on Monkey Mountain. The mountain metaphor enhances this play’s trajectory as the meeting-point of fact and fantasy, memory and mask. It is both background and dramatis persona, both vehicle for and subject of prodigious metamorphosis: "Below the moon is the stark silhouette of a volcanic mountain. Reversed, the moon becomes the sun" (Dream 212). Makak’s dream dominates, and is in turn dominated, by the "illogical, derivative, contradictory" (Dream 208) world of this drama. Isolated on top of a physical as well as psychological mountain, he sees himself as "black", "poor", "tired", and "ugly"; but taunted and teased by his dream as a king in Africa. The wild hallucinations on the mountaintop are counteracted by the sobering realities of the jail-house below where the fig in the figment of his imagination is hardly food enough for a flawed and famished psyche. In a curious reversal of the spatial symbolism seen so far in this essay, Makak has to climb down from his mountain of illusion to learn who he really is. He came down, a mad Makak; now he goes back up as Felix Hobain, his real name/self.

22Mountains. Myth and matter. Metaphor of the heights/lofty regions. Terrain and terror. Open scripts. Poems in progress. The Kilimanjaro eyes the Himalayas across a leering ocean. The Penny Fan comes in an accent unmistakably Welsh. Piedmont’s large foot touches the Alps with its small toe; the Pyrenees loom afar like their distant cousin, the City of Toulouse basking securely under their protective shadows. An over-rhapsodized Monadnock yawns in the New England sky, trying to recover from a surfeit of songs and fables spawned by its fame, wondering how the Adirondack has been coping with its own flotilla of trampling feet. The tourist’s fantasies are in no way as devastating as the developer’s steam shovel, but they too scatter the birds and slip the disc of the mountain’s spine. In Robinson Jeffers’ grave observation, magnificent landscapes are "defaced with a crop of suburban houses" (759); that "pristine beauty" that lives "in the very grain of the granite" (759) is squandered by the spoiler brigade. Clean cliffs are roughed up, rock and ocean, once friends and helpmates, flare up in toxic altercations. War’s blind bombs reduce towering outcrops to craters and sickening rubble. Even "the extraordinary patience of things" (759) has its own limit. When the hills are harassed, the mountains mauled, what becomes of the quiet river in the valley? When these landscapes of the earth are torn and trampled, what happens to the landscapes of the mind?

23Mountains. Silent griots. Poets of roaring heights. Some worship them. Some see them as objects to be climbed and “conquered”. Some regard them as feast for the eye. Some adore them for their magic and their muse. From whatever angle we look at them, and in whatever age, mountains remain some of the world’s most spectacular sites of inspiration, terrains in which humanity is constantly losing and recovering itself, places our lungs crave for air—and song. The mountains of the universe shake hands above our heads: over severing oceans, beyond petty territorialities and colonies of greed. They sometimes laugh at our vanity. They sometimes mock our grief. As for the songs and fables we compose under their shadows, they must chuckle occasionally at the human being’s impertinence—and endless creativity...

24Now back to my own Rocks of the Beginning: Olosunta, Oroole, Ugele, siblings of Esidale, ready to welcome me back after this journey through the mountains of the world, wondering what I have brought back from the Pyrenees:

The rocks rose to meet me
Tall rocks, short rocks
sharp rocks, round rocks
some with the staid steps
of war-wise warriors
others with the gaysome gaits
of pandering pilgrims
The rocks rose to meet me (The Eye 16)

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FAGUNWA, D.O. Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmale. Edinburgh: Nelson, 1950 (First published by the CMS Bookshop, Lagos 1938; translated as The Forest of a Thousand Daemons by Wole Soyinka, and published by Nelson 1968).

JEFFERS, R. "Carmel Point", The Norton Anthology of Poetry (Shorter Fourth Edition). M. Ferguson, M.J. Salter, and J Stallworthy ed. New York: Norton, 1997.

NERUDA, P. "The Heights of Macchu Picchu", Pablo Neruda: Five Decades: A Selection (Poems: 1925-1970). New York: Grove Press, 1974.

NOLAN, J. Poet-Chief: The Native American Poetics of Walt Whitman and Pablo Neruda. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.

OSUNDARE, N. Midlife. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books, 1993.

OSUNDARE, N. The Eye of the Earth. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books, 1986.

SOYINKA, W. Idanre and Other Poems. New York: Hill & Wang, 1969.

WALCOTT, D. Dream on Monkey Mountain. New York: The Noonday Press, 1996.

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1 Ogun is the Yoruba god of iron and metallic lore; hunter, warrior king, and artist.

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Bibliographical reference

Niyi Osundare, « Mountains of the Mind », Caliban, 23 | 2008, 9-16.

Electronic reference

Niyi Osundare, « Mountains of the Mind », Caliban [Online], 23 | 2008, Online since 13 December 2016, connection on 25 February 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Niyi Osundare

Nigerian poet, University of New Orleans. Poète, universitaire et journaliste, Niyi Osundare est né dans l’ouest du Nigeria. Lauréat, dans son pays comme à l’étranger, de nombreux prix littéraires, il a écrit plus de douze recueils de poèmes parmi lesquels Waiting Laughters, qui est traduit en français. Il a longtemps enseigné à l’Université d’Ibadan et il est actuellement Professeur de littérature à l’Université de La Nouvelle Orleans. Il est Docteur honoris causa de l’Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail

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Licence Creative Commons
Caliban – French Journal of English Studies est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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