Genuine euphoria, which accompanied the birth of multi-ethnic Nigeria nation-state in 1960, has been regrettably deflated and more than offset by the onrush of political tension that has ravaged its polity in recent times. Hence, the deforming pressure of inequity in contemporary Nigeria logically stands out as a corollary of political tyranny. From the standpoint of inequity, political marginality ostensibly poses a contentious decoding as it often raises poignant questions in the philosophy of meanings embedded in Esiaba Irobi’s Why I Don’t Like Philip Larkin. In connection to this, the historical referencing of the amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria in the poetry collection provides a test-case for the thematic quest for Biafra republic’s self-determination. Agonized by a perceived marginality, retreat to nationalism offers Irobi a convenient platform to affirm the predatory and ruthless suppression of the Igbo ethnic group during and after the Nigerian civil war (between 1967 and 1970). This paper asserts that Irobi takes power imbalance for his subject matter in order to build on these contrariety and contradictions. This build-up facilitates the exploration of tension between public duty and personal affections. Remarkably, the paper concludes that Irobi’s poetic thrust of marginality in the collection espouses a fury which verges on resentment at the lopsided Nigeria nation-state.


bewailing alien-nation, Biafra, divided we stand, Esiaba Irobi, marginality, Nigeria

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

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Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
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Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
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Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
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Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
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University of Cape Town (South Africa)
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
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University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
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University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
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Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
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University of Washington (US)

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University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
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Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

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Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
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Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)