In his continued determination to revive poetry, an aspect of literature that has been relegated to the background in the country, Dike Chukwumerije’s Night of Spoken Words has been scheduled to hold on February 11, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Addressing journalists recently in Abuja, Chukwumerije said the introduction of performance poetry was aimed at bringing a bit of intellectualism into entertainment.
The 2011 Abuja Literary Society Poetry Slam winner explained that performance poetry is not the simple recitation of poems, but It is a modern and energetic form of poetry that combines the disciplines of traditional poetry with the power and charisma of dramatic performance.
He added that it was designed to be communicated verbally, because it tends to be easier to grasp than written poetry, but retains the same capacity for penetrating insights into the human condition, and dedication to the beautiful use of language.
Chuwumerije stated that “we are doing it because we are trying to bring a bit of intellectualism into entertainment. It is highly intellectual, but it is also highly entertaining. We have managed to fused poetry with dance, with drama with music. It is an entire stage performance that involves collaboration across many arts forms.
The poet stressed that the show would also chronicled the historical landmark of Nigeria from 1914 till date using poetry.
According to him, “have been doing an event called Night of spoken Words since 2013. We do it twice a year in Abuja when we gathered up and coming performance poets from around the country when we bring them and stage about a 2hour show. Last year we took things another level when we root a stage play using performance poetry titled ‘Made in Nigeria’. “
“This particular production tells a story of Nigeria’s history from 1914 till date using poetry, dance and drama. We showed it for the first time during the independence week last year, we did a three day showing at the Merit House and the reception was very good, and we took it to Lagos and also had a very good reception, and we are coming back to do the show again yet in Abuja.
He noted that, “Made in Nigeria is essentially twenty poems that are seamlessly linked by dance drama and music. We just come up through the decades telling different Nigerian stories that all together give you a feel of Nigeria socio-cultural political landscape over the years.
“We bring to life the 70s, the politics of the 70s, anti-apartheid struggle. We tell the story of coups. We talk about the 80s, we talk about the 90s , we do a poem about student unionism, we call it ‘Aluta’, so we dramatise students protesting against school fees and all that.
Chemukwumeije however gave a glimpse of what to expect on February 11 as he said performance poetry was giving tonic to poetry because it is gaining larger audience.
“For instance there is a poem called ‘The Revolution has no Tribe’. Do you know that poverty is not an Ijaw man? it will not spare the rest of us and afflict only the Esan, it will step across the river and come across the border so that when the drum sounds let everybody hear the sound. Do you not know that corruption is not from Nekede?
You will not know that Ife has no dealing with Modakeke, wake up our children at night with hunger when the drum sound let everybody hear the sound. Do you not know that HIV is not Kanuri?
It will not spare the rest of us and kill only the Fulani, it will set the land ablaze from the Delta to the Sahara so that when the drum sound let everybody hear. This is an example of the kind of poem we do,” he said.