“CRY FOR HELP”: SUFFERING AND HEALING IN EKPE INYANG’S DEATH OF HARDSHIP
Ekpe Inyang’s poetry is typified by a profound expression of pain and suffering. However, the humanistic poetic sentiments expressed in most of the poems apparently compels the poet to see pain and suffering not as a process of frustration and existential nihilism but as a source of recognition of the innate values of life. Suffering and pain, therefore, comes across in Inyang’s poetry as aspects that propel the individual to see what is missed or not seen. The value of Inyang’s poetry lies in the ability to express pain and suffering at one length, and still look forward toward a hopeful and meaning existence. In the context of Inyang’s poetry, both the poet and the personas are sufferers. The poet and his personas are at the stage of “expressive suffering”; the point whereby the “poetic process parallels the sufferer’s internal process of finding an expressive voice, which in itself can exercise some control over suffering (Coulehan, “Expressive Solidarity” 591). Thus, this paper is a critical exegesis of selected poems from Inyang Ekpe’s The Death of Hardship in which one perceives the cries of the suffering individuals expressing a condition that encompasses not only personal physical suffering, pain and distress, but also a loss and collapse of the very traditions that give value to human identity and dignity.
Keywords: Suffering, Pain, Healing, Poetry, and Distress