“I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.” – Ben Okri
Born in Nigeria on March 15, 1959, Okri spent his childhood years in London before returning to Nigeria and starting his writing career as a teenager. Although convinced that he was destined to become a poet, he was encouraged by his teachers to try other writing genres, too, and had a bestselling novel, Flowers and Shadows, published at age 21. After serving as poetry editor of West Africa magazine for half-dozen years he wrote his acclaimed The Famished Road, winner of the 1991 Booker Prize for Fiction, making him the youngest person ever (at age 32) to earn the prestigious award.
To date Okri has authored 12 novels and 12 books of poetry, been awarded 7 honorary doctorate degrees and been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to literature. For Saturday’s Poem, here is,
We plan our lives according to a
dream that came to us in our
childhood, and we find that life
alters our plans.
And yet, at the end, from a rare
height, we also see that our dream
was our fate. It’s just that prov-
idence had other ideas as to how
we would get there.
Destiny plans a different route or
turns the dream around, as if it
were a riddle, and fulfills the dream
in ways we couldn’t have expected.
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