In this book, Tanure Ojaide explains the uniqueness of modern African poetry, which he sees as a product of African orature and the Western literary tradition. The volume fittingly begins with "African Literature and Cultural Identity," which establishes areas of cultural identity of modern African literature in general. The next chapter strives to define modern African poetic aesthetics. The book then examines both the oral and the rhythmic aspects of modern African poetry.
Having established the defining characteristics of modern African poetry, Ojaide takes on the history of the art form. "The Changing Voice of History: Contemporary African Poetry" and "New Trends in Modern African Poetry" contrast the newer poetry to that of the older generation while acknowledging the influence of the old on the new. The book then goes on to highlight African women's poetry and compare African-American poetry with modern African poetry. After the author — himself a poet — talks about his background and generation, the collection concludes with "Poetic Imagination in Black Africa."
Ojaide brings the intuitive knowledge of a practitioner and scholar to his literary criticism of poetry, examining and interpreting modern African poems with lucidity, passion, and freshness. His knowledge of American and English literatures allows him to make apt comparisons and bring out the uniqueness of modern African poetry. Touching on the themes, techniques, and other areas, Poetic Imagination in Black Africa will help readers achieve a deeper understanding of the complex and diverse world of modern African poetry.