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Amatoritsero Ede; Globetrotter
Amatoritsero Ede was born in Nigeria. He is a former Hindu monk of the Hare Krishna persuasion. A former editor with Spectrum Books, he has been published in Nigerian literary newspapers and in the Nigerian arts journal “Olongo” as well as the international journals “Versal” and “Drumvoices Revue”. His poetry has appeared in many anthologies, including Voices from the Fringe: An ANA Anthology of New Nigerian Poetry Harry Garuba ed. (Lagos: Malthouse Press, 1988), The Fate of Vultures : BBC Prize-Winning Poetry, Peter Porter et al eds. (Oxford: Heinemann International, 1989), Und auf den Strassen eine Pest Uche Nduka ed. (Bad Honnef, Germany: Horlemann Verlag, 1996) May Ayim Award Anthology Peggy Piesche et al eds. (Berlin: Orlanda Verlag, 2004), Camouflage : Best of Contemporary Nigerian Writing Nduka Otiono ( Yenogoa, Nigeria: Treasure Books, 2006) and TOK , Book 1: Writing the New Toronto Helen Walsh ed. (Toronto: Zephyr Press, 2006). Amatoritsero won the runner-up prize of the Association of Nigerian Authors's (ANA) Poetry Competition in 1993, the 1998 ANA All Africa Christopher Okigbo Prize for Literature (endowed by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka) for Collected Poems : A Writer's Pains & Caribbean Blues (Bremen, Germany: Yeti Press, 1998) and, in 2004, the second prize in the first May Ayim Award: International Black German Literary Prize. He is currently writer-in-residence in Ottawa's Carleton University under the auspices of PEN Canada's Writers-in-Exile Network. He is editor of sentinel poetry journal.
Amatoritsero is a lightning rod of African sensibilities in rarefied Canada. In Globetrotter, he brings wide-open eyes and a taciturn tongue to perspectives gleaned from a sojourn through Europe and North America. I like the nimble images - Europeans who are yet to ford the Atlantic pond already know Toronto: she is 'amsterdam/ adrift at sea'! And then, there are the irreverent lines that sees 'soyinka's hair' in the woolly mane of a gruff, arthritic winter. There's excitement and suprise here...
                                     and that's poetry.



       toronto is
                adrift at sea

       it breathes the open atlantic
               where lines and angles blur
                                      and bend into mist

     toronto is
                          without her anchoring of

       narrow streets narrow sky
       virgin-tight apartment blocks

it is london long-jumping
        her imperial shadows
                           trafalgar-ing into space




       in winter the north comes
                to visit
        without her lights

       not even scheviningen
           could breathe
                    such bone-bending blasts

       sir winter
                    gruff arthritic old braggart
        with woolly mane

                                               is that snow on his head

       or is it soyinka's hair
fluorescent against the night

                                            of africa's dark politician

       as we sit in deusseldorf
       in a foyer of smoked hotelled wine
       and eye the question




       you have no perspective
       wide as the autobahn

       between scarborough and etobicoke
       where the roads scream and cry
rubber rubber

                                     tears long as a calendar year

           and look where the streetcar has left a scar
                          in the brush flower
             as it goes berlin-ing around queens avenue

       the white-draped reichstag is not here
       there should be no hurry to undress it
                                                     with tourist eyes




       what does the endless
                                north american sky

       like those sex-workers
in amsterdam's love quarters
                       she says simply

                                                  i am wide open

       so the street car becomes a tram
      in slow phallic rush on lan van meerdevort
                    in the hague

                                flirting foolishly with the horizon

                    the red-light flashes
                       where there are no red-light districts

       the streetcar


       to gaze at lovers
trundling down the avenue
down dundas

                           heavy with love and its weights

o eaton center
where hearts pump more round
from the fondling and folding of love's caress





       amongst the ruin and jazz
of the old distillery
young Toronto

                       steps outside of troy
in full teenage glare
hair streaked with lightening

       because a girl smells better…
she brushes a suitor's kiss
and the sun off her thundering skin

                                               where all colours meet.

© Amatoritsero Ede breathes the open atlantic ...

...where lines and angles blur
and bend into mist..
        Click to buy your copy
"Globetrotter" was first published in
TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Helen Walsh ed.
(Toronto: Zephyr press, 2006). Click image to buy.

Click to continue to Pius Adesanmi's Rise, Son, Rise  
©2006 Chuma Nwokolo, Jr.