- Category: PA 2008
Kole Ade Odutola is a teacher, poet, photojournalist and activist. Kole trained first as a botanist, earning a bachelor of science degree, with specialisation in environmental ecology and genetics in 1984 from the University of Benin, Nigeria. In 1997, Kole received the British Council Chevening scholarship and in 1998, a master’s degree in TV/Video for Development from the University of Reading (UK). On relocating to the United States, he earned another master’s degree in Organisational Communication at Ithaca College. Kole is a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors and a founding member of the Coalition of Nigerian Artists. While working as a photojournalist he also coordinated the film viewers’ forum for the Goethe Institute in Lagos, Nigeria.
Creative writing for him is one of the outlets for internal conversations ignited by economic, environmental political injustices. His collection of poetry, The Poets Fled, was published in 1992. His second, The Poet Bled, appeared in 1998. His poetry has also been featured in online and campus publications, literacy magazines, and journals such as Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. He has given many poetry readings at locations in the United States especially in New York City.
Kole’s poetry collection The Poet Bled is dedicated to Ken Saro Wiwa, the author and environmental activist who was killed in 1995 by the Nigerian military junta. “I’m using Ken Saro Wiwa as an icon,” Kole comments. “He believed that there is a need for change in this world, a breaking forth, a new way of seeing things. I want people who read or hear these poems to be so engaged in it that they abandon the old contexts in which they have always lived and come to another kind of place. I want them to be taken back to a time before boundaries.” Kole lives in Gainesville, where he teaches Yoruba at the University of Florida.