Poetry Written in English by Kenyan and Ugandan Women from 1967 to 1976
Mary Elizabeth Reed
Anne Adams Graves
Thesis DT 3.5 1985 R325
v, 112 leaves; 29 cm.
This study examines poetry written in English, published in college journals and poetry anthologies by Ugandan and Kenyan women. It uses this material to analyze poetry as an artistic rendering of the economic, political and cultural environment of these countries and how it is affected by these forces between the years 1967 to 1976.
The examination of this material was pursued through the use of the functional approach to literature. This approach acknowledges the existence of both content and form in a poetic work. This method asserts that the poetic message is of primary importance and insists that the style or form of the poetry is secondary as it is the vehicle for the communication. Therefore the primary function of poetry is communication. This approach also observes the existence of social groups whose growth and development become indicators of change in a society. Therefore it is the interaction of these social groups that is the focus of the criticism in a functional approach to literature. It is further argued that a primary indicator of the relations of production in any given society is the status of its laborers-the workers and peasants. Thus it is the movement of this particular group that is highlighted. These concepts are viewed in their concrete form in the following chapters. The concern of chapter one is to give historical background to this contemporary study of both the poetry and the historical forces that have shaped the theme and style of the poetry. Chapter two pay attention particularly to poetry written in English, produced between 1971 and 1975 by Ugandan women. Chapter three focuses on poetry written by Kenyan women between 1967 and 1976. These chapters analyze poetry especially for its theme as it yields allusion to the social context of that region.
The conclusions drawn from this study reveal that this poetry can give us an indication of the social forces in motion at a certain point in history, and that this poetry is useful as a source that can be used to unravel the complex relationship between art and society.
Most of the poetry examined in this study for example, employs the use of symbolism to give form to the theme of corruption in their society, This poetry was influenced by these concrete conditions which in turn help to shape the way this message is communicated.
This can only be viewed as a preliminary study in that it is confined to an analysis of contemporary poetry written in English by Ugandan and Kenyan women. A more complete study can be undertaken that takes into consideration poetry sung by women in the rural and urban areas who up to now, communicate mostly through indigenous African languages.