The following appears in:
Mark Willhardt and Alan Michael Parker,
Soyinka, Wole (Nigeria, b. 1934) Born in Abeokuta, Nigeria to Yoruba parents, Soyinka was educated in Nigeria and England. Best-known for his plays and his outspokenness on the social and political state of Nigeria, Soyinka received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, the first African to win the award. His first collection of verse, Idanre and Other Poems (1967), draws heavily on Yoruba imagery and modern poetic forms. Criticized by many as willfully obscure, Soyinka's poetry has become increasingly cosmopolitan in its thematic focus, drawing its imagery from numerous cultures and contemporary political events while adhering to the often complicated formal structures of his earliest work. Imprisoned and harassed by successive military regimes, Soyinka has spent much of his adult life in exile.