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Tolu Oloruntoba is the author of chapbook Manubrium, shortlisted for the 2020 bpNichol Chapbook Award  His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Harvard Divinity Bulletin, PRISM International, Columbia Journal, Obsidian, and Canadian Literature, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  His short fiction has appeared in translation in Dansk PEN Magazine.  He 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 in the territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, and Kwantlen First Nations.

The Junta of Happenstance

Palimpsest Press
2022 Shortlist
Canada

Judges’ Citation

The Junta of Happenstance, Tolu Oloruntoba’s dazzling debut collection, collides the language of revolution with the landscapes of the body.

The Junta of Happenstance, Tolu Oloruntoba’s dazzling debut collection, collides the language of revolution with the landscapes of the body. These poems go beyond the desire to ward off death. They emerge out of a life intimate with death’s randomness. Like the vicissitudes of war, Oloruntoba’s poems make peace with accident and fate. They bring breath to survival.  ‘If the timeline ahead is/ infinitely longer than the/ knives behind, perhaps/ as we set to mending/ we can heal more/ than we ever undid./ But we, too,/ would like a piece of the plunder.’ These exquisite poems leave an imprint both violent and terrifyingly beautiful.


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