Voicing concerns about the environment

15 Mar

Selina Nwulu is London’s newest Young Poet Laureate and contributes a powerful voice to conversations about the relationship between climate change and race.

Of particular interest is Nwulu’s poem ‘Home is a Hostile Lover‘ which engages with the consequences of oil exploitation in the Niger Delta.

The first stanza, entitled ‘Remember’, includes a series of rhetorical questions, each reflecting upon the Delta waters prior to the discovery of oil; “Remember when our Delta waters were clean? / How we watched our faces in rivers / And chased fish with our bare hands?”  The stanza continues by personifying the Delta; “Remember before Delta had its throat slit / And bled its oily pipes into soil, / When we hummed words into the water / And it would laugh and sing back?”  In doing so, Nwulu renders the environment human and, in turn, characterises the oil companies as monstrous.

The poem is a haunting and evocative depiction of the scars – personal, social and environmental – caused by the actions of oil companies and, implicitly, those who rely on the oil without considering how the oil is sourced and produced.




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