Foremost Nigerian poet, John Pepper Clark, popularly called J.P. Clark, is dead. He was 85.
The poet, who has been ill for a while, died on Tuesday, a close associate, Jahman Anikulapo confirmed.
The poet, born on December 6, 1933, was the younger brother of a former federal commissioner for information and South-South leader, Edwin Clark.
Mr Clark, who is famous for his much-eulogised poem “Ibadan”, drew on aesthetic and cultural autonomy in his earliest poems as a form of protest against colonial hegemony.
His poetry, which is highly regarded as one of the finest African pieces, often treats heterogeneous themes, such as in Poems and sometimes focuses on Clark’s background and his travel experience in America and other places such as in A Reed in the Tide.
Asides poetry, Mr Clark was also reputable for great theatrical works including Song of a Goat – which premiered at the Mbari Club in 1961, a tragedy cast in the Greek classical mode in which the impotence of Zifa, the protagonist, causes his wife Ebiere and his brother Tonye to indulge in an illicit relationship that resulted in suicide.
The play was followed by a sequel, The Masquerade, in which Dibiri’s rage culminates in the death of his suitor Tufa.