Wreaths for a Wayfarer: A Poetry Anthology in Honour of Pius Adesanmi (1972-2019)

On Sunday, March 10, 2019, Pius Adebola Adesanmi, writer, scholar, educator, and public intellectual, was killed along with 156 others from 35 countries in the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed close to Addis Ababa airport shortly after take-off. Prior to his death, Payo (as he was fondly called by many) was the Director of the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. His tragic demise at the age of 47 has left people in the communities where he conducted his professional work and social activism reeling with pains. The tragic nature of his death invites us to reflect on his life and times, as well as to philosophize on the immortal lines of the English poet, John Donne, in his “Meditation XVII”: “All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated… As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all… No man is an island, entire of itself… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

As part of a collage of initiatives to memorialize the meteoric life of Pius Adesanmi, we hereby invite submissions of original poems for an anthology in his memory.  We are interested in poetry that celebrate Pius Adesanmi and his work, that may also philosophically reflect on existence, mortality, immortality and/or offer hope for the living. Poets who knew (or did not know) the poet should exorcise the pains of loss through provocative poems that pour out their beating hearts with all-consuming passion. Well-woven “wreaths” in the form of Requiems, Orikis, Spoken Word, Haikus, Limericks, Lyrics, Free Verse, etc. are welcome. Poems will be assessed by their poetic quality, thematic relevance, technical competence, and emotive force.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submissions must be original, previously unpublished poems
  •  Submissions attached to emails may consist of ONE to THREE poems of no more than FIVE pages maximum)
  • Submissions must be single-spaced and page-numbered.
  • Contact information, (name, mailing address, and email address) must appear on the first page of the submission. A short, third person biography of no more than 100 words should be included.
  • Preferred file formats: Word doc, docx (please no PDFs)

Submission Deadline: April 8, 2019. Please note: Any poems received after the deadline will not be considered. The anthology is scheduled for publication by a reputable Nigerian publisher in the summer of 2019.

The Editors:

Nduka Otiono                                                            Uchechukwu Umezurike
Institute of African Studies                                    Department of English & Film Studies
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada                   University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada