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Poet JP Clark is dead, aged 85

He was considered the most lyrical of Nigerian poets

Poet and playwright, John Pepper Clark, better known as JP Clark has died.

He died Tuesday, 13 October, 2020.

This was announced in a statement signed by Prof. C. C. Clark and Mr Ilaye Clark.

The family said it “appreciates your prayers at this time.”

Clark was Emeritus Professor of Literature and well-known for his published works which include ‘America, Their America’, ‘Song of a Goat’, ‘A Reed in the Tide’, and several more.

He is considered the most lyrical of Nigerian poets, whose poetry celebrates the physical landscape of Africa, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, in an entry on him.

He was also a journalist, playwright, and scholar-critic who conducted research into traditional Ijaw myths and legends and wrote essays on African poetry.

While at the University of Ibadan, Clark founded The Horn, a magazine of student poetry.

After graduating with a degree in English in 1960, he began his career as writer and journalist by working as a Nigerian government information officer and then as the features and editorial writer for the Daily Express in Lagos (1960–62).

A year’s study at Princeton University on a foundation grant resulted in his America, Their America (1964), in which he attacks American middle-class values, from capitalism to black American life-styles.

After a year’s research at Ibadan’s Institute of African Studies, he became a lecturer in English at the University of Lagos and coeditor of the literary journal Black Orpheus.

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