The third edition of Poetry Café has begun at the Grand Ballroom Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos.
Titled ‘World Poetry Day with Wole Soyinka’, the event is designed as an evening of engagement in poetry rendition and performances between the grand poet and Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka
With the theme, Restating Humanity With The Woman, the event will feature established mid-career and young poets, including students of varied persuasions and styles.
Produced by Culture Advocate Caucus, (CAC), and sponsored by Providus Bank, this year’s edition is dedicated to celebrating womanhood.
As a result, the evening will feature eight poets from five countries; Nigeria, UAE, South Africa, Canada and Ghana.
Five of the poets are Nigerians, while three are other nationals. The Nigerians are Wana Udobang; Amrah Aliyu; Achalugo Ilozumba; Kemi Bakare, and Jumoke Verissimo, based in Canada.
The non-Nigerians are Nathalie Handal (French-American based in Abu Dhabi, UAE), Vuyokazi Ngemntu ( Cape Town, South Africa), and Emma Ofosua (Accra, Ghana).
The producers of Poetry Café say the overall idea of the theme is to explore poetry works that pay close critical attention to the various modes of reduction and exclusion that the female gender faces in many parts of the world.
The countries include Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and other countries in Asia and other parts of the world.
Also speaking about the event in a statement, Mr Soyinka reiterated the strength of poetry to triumph over odds placed on its path by state authorities and people of extremist persuasions.
He said, “Poetry has survived millennia of corruption, hate and destruction. It will outlive all enemies of the freedom of thought and imagination. Even in the darkness and despair of torture chambers and dens of the hangmen, the ember lives, straining to burst into purifying flames in the least expected places.”
On its decision to sponsor the programme, a statement from Providus Bank I was told that it has consistently promoted the World Poetry Day project since 2019.
They stated that its engagement with the Nigerian literary community is designed to be a cross-generational endeavour, one where established, mid-level and budding writers could share one big stage.
World Poetry Day
Celebrated on 21 March every year, World Poetry Day was declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999.
It aims to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increase the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.
Its purpose is to promote the reading, writing, publishing, and teaching of poetry worldwide in line with the original UNESCO declaration, which aims to “give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional, and international poetry movements”.
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