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THE JUNTA OF HAPPENSTANCE, Tolu Oloruntoba

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Winner 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize

Winner 2021 Governor General Literary Award for Poetry

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Tolu Oloruntoba

Winner 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize

Winner 2021 Governor General Literary Award for Poetry

Longlisted 2022 Gerald Lampert Award

Longlisted 2022 Raymond Souster Award

Poetry
ISBN-13: 978-1-989287729
$18.95 CDN / $17.95 US | Trade Paperback
May 2021

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.

Praise for The Junta of Happenstance

Tolu Oloruntoba uses a “safecracker ear” (“Child at Sleep”) to perceive both the subtle and overt mechanics of human interactions and to explore the interlocking parts of past and present, individual and community, and the here and there.—Samantha Jones, ARC Poetry magazine

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.—Judges’ Citation, 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize

Tolu Oloruntoba’s voice in The Junta of Happenstance is at once thoughtful and authoritative, metaphorically rich and lyrically surprising. Oloruntoba’s language travels through history and myth to speak to today and engage with a future transformed by new understanding. The combination of craft and spirit cuts a fine place for this debut work, expanding our literary view.—2021 Governor General Literary Award Peer assessment committee: Kaie Kellough, George Murray and Anna Marie Sewell

Weight 220 g
Dimensions 21.6 × 14 × 2 cm

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