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Poetry African

The Junta of Happenstance

by (author) Tolu Oloruntoba

Palimpsest Press
Initial publish date
May 2021
African, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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Personal, primordial, and pulsing with syncopated language, Tolu Oloruntoba’s poetic debut, The Junta of Happenstance, is a compendium of dis-ease. This includes disease in the traditional sense, as informed by the poet’s time as a physician, and dis-ease as a primer for family dysfunction, the (im)migrant experience, and urban / corporate anxiety. In the face of struggles against social injustice, Oloruntoba navigates the contemporary moment with empathy and intelligence, finding beauty in chaos, and strength in suffering. The Junta of Happenstance is an important and assured debut.

About the author

Tolu Oloruntoba is the author of the Anstruther Press chapbook Manubrium. His poetry has appeared in Pleiades, Columbia Journal, Entropy, and other publications, and his short fiction has appeared in translation in Dansk PEN Magazine. He founded Klorofyl, a magazine of literary and graphic art, and practiced medicine before his current work managing projects for health authorities in British Columbia. After a somewhat itinerant life in Nigeria and the United States, he emigrated to the Greater Vancouver Area, where he lives with his family.

Tolu Oloruntoba's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Tolu Oloruntoba’s The Junta of Happenstance left me dazzled to the point of squinting. In every poem, some piece of gorgeous, quotable language glittered in my eye: “Wake up. It’s the crescendo. // Here comes your / redaction from the world." The collection is neither burdened, victimized, nor apologetic about race. It does not put on race as a pair of glasses. Race is more like an eyeball. It remains a simple fact, even though, as he writes, “my mind has bent the facts, I know. / The facts have bent my mind.” One gets the sense that Oloruntoba is the alluring stranger, scribbling into a steno, “submerged into words on the bus,” seemingly absorbed in his world but really taking note of us.

Ian Williams, author of Word Problems

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