Lagos and the New Media in John Koethe’s “This is Lagos” and Rashidah Ismaili’s “Lagos” Online Poems
This paper examines two online poems by two different poets; John Koethe and Rashidah Ismaili as they both describe Lagos to the world. This paper adopts both a Formalist approach and Reader-Response Theory to examine the way John Koethe and Rashidah Ismaili portray Lagos in their poems. These two poems were purposively selected because they happen to be the first two poems on Lagos presented when I searched the internet via Google search engine with the catchword “poems on Lagos”.
Through formalist lenses, Lagos is projected as a place of chaos, filth, and inhabited by people who don’t have regard for their heritage, and have not learned from their history; for these reasons, the present day and future of Lagos and Lagosians is jeopardized. This image of Lagos is projected by the two poets who ironically are not Nigerians more or less Lagosians, neither do they stay in Lagos, but their finite conclusion of Lagos is drawn from maybe a visit, or hearsay as explained by Koethe. Through Reader’s Response Theory, instead of writers and poets in Lagosians or Nigeria countering these allegations, not even a single response and silence means acceptance to the issues raised by the two poets.
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