When you first hear a poem, you do not necessarily have to attach a meaning to it immediately. Poetry speaks diffferently to each person, the meaning that Mr. A deciphers from it may not be what Mr. B thinks the poem is saying. It can speak to all, some or just the poet. This is the beauty of art in general and believe it or not, poetry is art.
March 21st is celebrated globally as World Poetry Day. Fortunately for this century, poetry is proving to be a calm yet exceedingly powerful means of convey bulk messages within a minute time frame. We could not help but recognize these 5 poets who are elevating the power of art through poetry.
Top of the list is the lady who has keeps sweeping us off our feet with her distinct poetry recitation. Titilope Sonuga is actually a Civil Engineer but she has been easily recognised through her captivating words of art. In 2011, Titi won the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award.
The following year, she won the Maya Angelou Poetry Contest. Three years later in May 2015, she got the fancy of Nigerians when she made an appearance at the Nigerian presidential inauguration. Sonuga is no stranger to Aké Festival, Lagos International Poetry Festival, Heritage Bank, GT bank and many other notable organisations. She also held a gripping TEDx talk titled “Speaking into the Void”.
What would have been more stimulating than hearing spoken word poetry in pidgin? Omooo! It may not be new but Abiodun reminded us that poetry is not restricted by language with his spoken word done in pidgin for Heritage Bank.
It doesn’t end there, the spoken word on his Instagram page will have you hooked. Our favourite is the one titled “For Women Across the World / You Are God” which he did in honour of women across the world for celebration of International Women’s Day.
Inua Marc Mohammed Onore de Ellams was born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. He lives for the art of words. A playwright, poet, performer and ambassador for the Ministry of Stories. He has written and performed a poem about Africa Diaspora on BBC’s Politics Show. He also founded a nocturnal urban excursion called Midnight Run and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Ellams has been awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival. He spends alot of time touring the globe to, of course, spread the good magestic gospel of poetry. Inua Ellams has performed at The Royal Festival Hall and The Royal Albert Hall, Stratford Theatre Royal, South London Gallery, Poetry café, Glastonbury Festival, Local 4 Global Festival, Latitude Festival and so many other creative spaces.
Tubosun is an creative mastermind who writes poem in Yoruba and English. He is a cultural activist, linguist, scholar and translator. It doesn’t end there, his mind-blowing experiences and works cut across the areas of education, journalism, linguistics, literature and technology. In 2016, he won the Premio Ostana “Special Prize” for Writings in the Mother Tongue in Cueno, Italy.
In 2017, he won the Magazine Manuscript Contest and is the 2018 winner Miles Morland Scholarship. The University of Ibadan graduate is well known for being a Nigerian English Google Assistant. His work has also been translated in Korean and featured on The Guardian Nigeria, Aké Review, Farafina, International Literary Wuarterly, The Guardian UK, Arts & Africa and many others.
Endging this fascinating list is Adebola Afolabi popularly known as REZthapoet. PoemHunter.com says, “REZthaPoet delves into different cultural and artistic shifts by using the spoken word poetry genre to educate, engage and entertain a growing and displaced middle class.”
In 2018, he performed Kwani Open Mic in Nairobi, Kenya. He is associated with Lagos International Poetry Festival, Lagos Books and Art Festival as well as Lagos Biennial Festival.
Which of these Nigerian Poets’ works have caught you off-guard or had you in a “moment”?
Happy World Poetry Day and cheers to a lifetime of enhancing the power of words.