We recently had a seat down with these five amazing poets and spoke about all things poetry, have a read!
- If poetry were banned tomorrow, what would you do instead to express yourself creatively?
Aisha: I am a writer and poetry is just one of the genres I love. If poetry were to be banned I believe the other aspects of writing would protect me from the loss that would come.
However, poetry cannot be banned. It’s a major part of literature and also aspects of linguistics are intertwined in poetry. Poetry has been existing even before Western education or Western influence came about. Poetry is infused with our way of life hence banning it would be denying human nature the creativity it needs to thrive.
- Do you have any funny stories or anecdotes about your experiences as a poet that you’d like to share?
Slim Shaka: This one time I was hired to perform in a club setting. The people didn’t quite understand what spoken word poetry is so they let the Dj hype the crowd(It was at night) Guys were already going to the dance floor and they were clearly drunk. I decided to take the mic & be a hype man. I helped different tables hook up. I even gave them pick-up lines and then allowed the Dj to continue. I went for my pay & vowed never to perform in such a setting.
- Do you feel that Spoken Word Poetry is doing an injustice to page poetry?
Mukonya: This is opinionated. I don’t think so. Spoken Word has its place and page poetry has its own. I fell in love with Spoken Word before page poetry and haven’t viewed them as competitors.
- What are some common misconceptions about poets or poetry you’ve encountered throughout your life as a poet?
Udo Chinecherem Precious: That poetry is all about rhymes and all poets are mostly dreamers with their heads in the clouds.
- What role do you think social media plays in the world of poetry?
Lexas Mshairi: Before social media, artists would have to use traditional means to reach their audiences. In the case of a show, they would print out posters or flyers. But right now, we have witnessed numerous shows that have sold out without printing a single poster. The audience can interact with the poet online. This way, poets can easily update their audience on new products and services they might be providing. It has allowed poets to reach a broad audience with ease.
- What do you wish people knew about poetry or poets in general?
Slim Shaka: Most people view our poetry as artistic expression. Very few understand that these pieces are special. They are part of who we are & therefore very valuable. A poet doesn’t like being treated like an entertainer even though they entertain.
Aisha: Poetry is not a joke. Poetry has had a stand long before other genres did. It deserves respect. Poets don’t want people joking about their art. We do not need jokes about our love for poetry. Poetry is a very respectable genre and as such should receive the respect it deserves.
Mukonya: Poetry is simple. It isn’t as complicated as High school made us believe. Not every poem has a hidden meaning.
Udo Chinecherem Precious: Anyone can write poetry and it doesn’t have to be the contemporary conventional way.
Lexas: I view poetry as a powerful tool for expression. In my experience, it has been my most valued way of therapy. Through being vulnerable and deliberate, my work has had the grace of touching people’s lives and hearts.