By Akintayo Abodunrin
The female poets from Nigeria, UAE, South Africa, Canada and Ghana will celebrate womanhood with the renowned icon in Lagos
EIGHT female poets from five countries will join Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka on Tuesday, March 21, at the 3rd Providus Bank Poetry Café marking the 2023 World Poetry Day.
The café will hold at the Grand Ballroom, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos and feature poetry renditions and performances between Soyinka and established, mid-career and young poets, including students.
With the theme ‘Restating Humanity with The Woman’, the edition celebrates womanhood, hence the engagement with female poets from 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).
A statement from the producers, Culture Advocate Caucus, CAC, said, “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, notably Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and other countries in Asia and, some other parts of the world.”
In his introduction to the edition, Professor 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 dankness and despair of torture chambers and dens of the hangmen, the ember lives, straining to burst into purifying flames in the least expected places.”
Providus Bank, which started the series in 2109, explained that its engagement with the Nigerian literary community is “designed to be a cross-generational endeavour, where established, mid-level and budding writers could share one big stage.
“We could not think of any other iconic and preeminently qualified persona than the legend, Prof Wole Soyinka, to be the grand patron and, in some sense, the ‘patron saint’ for the project and for the many young people who have graced the stage since the inception of the World Poetry Day series in 2019.
“It is important to underscore that Prof Soyinka has been fully involved in the events’ different themes and artistic direction yearly. We are honoured, grateful and appreciative of his leadership and for being personally invested in this project.”
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