African traditional literature is fraught with songs, dances, riddles, jokes, proverbs as well as chants, incantations, invocation, rituals and musical performances. Some of these features are found in earlier poet, Christopher Okigbo’s Labyrinths and comparatively recent poet, Christian Otobotekere’s A Sailor’s Son: in the wake of dance and games. Oral poetry in Izọn tradition is diverse but one that is often neglected in scholarly discourse is the elegiac poetry of the ‘Obobo bi’ or necromancy which involves songs, dances, rituals, recitations, incantations and performances. The study will focus on the orality, performative style and creativity in the spoken word as a sub-genre of African poetry. This paper therefore seeks to investigate the poetry of Obobo bi with the aim of projecting into scholarly attention and reveal the alienation, liminality and the hidden literary aesthetics of the obobo bi tradition. The study hinges on the post-colonialism theory. Data for the study were collected from live performances in the Kolokuma communities of Bayelsa State as well as from the researchers’ introspection. This study is relevant for scholarship and society because the tradition which is fast fading due to influence of Christianity is now being projected to the consciousness of the world as a form of oral literature.
Key words: Orality, incantations, necromancy, creativity, liminality, alienation.