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He also attended Cornell University, from where he obtained his PhD in 2008. He also holds the Master of Fine Art (MFA) in poetry, and a PhD in English (post-colonial literary/cultural studies) from Cornell University, New York. He previously taught poetry and literature at Texas State University, San Marcos. His work has been translated into German, Dutch, Romanian, Turkish and Italian. He served as a commissioner for the Nigerian government from 2016 to 2019. He remains active in the human rights sector and he currently practises law in Nigeria.
Work As A ColumnistIfowodo is a well-known poet and writer. He has published op-ed articles in virtually all of Nigeria’s major newspapers. He wrote the fortnightly column “For Crying Out LOUD!” in Vanguard until July 2016. He has also published four books of poetry and his poems have been widely published in several anthologies and literary journals across the world, including Voices from all Over: Poems with Notes and Activities, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry International, The Massachusetts Review, Crazyhorse, The Dalhousie Review, Atlanta Review, Mantis, Drumvoices Revue, and Migrations (an Afro-Italian anthology selected by Wole Soyinka for the Lagos Black Heritage Festival).
Arrest And DetentionIn 1997, while returning from a Commonwealth Heads of Governments Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland, Ifowodo was arrested by the military regime of Sani Abacha regime for calling for stronger sanctions against the dictatorship. He was incarcerated, along with other human rights activists, writers, and journalists, including his friends and writer Akin Adesokan and Babafemi Ojudu. He was never tried nor released until 1998, following sustained campaigns by Nigerian and international human writers and writer organisations. He was awarded the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, the Free World Award of the Netherlands-based Poets of All Nations and adopted as an honorary member of the PEN Centres of Germany, the USA, and Canada. Excerpts from his detention memoirs have been published in Gathering Seaweed: African Prison Writing (Heinemann), in New Writing 14 (Granta), in Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper, and on African-Writing.com.
PoliticsIn 2014, Ifowodo returned to Nigeria from the United States where he had done postgraduate studies and taught for thirteen years. He sought the nomination of the All Progressive Party for a seat in the House of Representatives but hampered by inadequate financial resources, did not get past the primaries.
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He had tried unsuccessfully to raise 57 million Naira for the bid. In 2016, Ifowodo was appointed to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board of Directors. He served as the federal government commissioner for Delta State until 2019.
Collections Of Poetry
- Homeland and Other Poems
- The Oil Lamp
- A Good Mourning
Awards And FellowshipsAssociation of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize for Poetry (1996) The ANA/Cadbury poetry prize (2003). The ANA/Gabriel Okara Poetry Prize (2005) The PEN Centres of the USA. Heinrich Böll Foundation (Honorary fellow). The Iowa Writing Programme (fellow). New Word Award of Poets of All Nations based in the Netherlands. PEN USA Barbara Goldsmith Freedom-to-Write Award (2008). Honorary membership of the PEN Centres of USA, Germany, Canada. Source: Wikipedia Featured Image Source: Hurs And Ryder
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