With Sights Set on Thrilling His Audience, Akeem Lasisi Steps Out…

Yinka Olatunbosun

Akeem Lasisi, an award-winning poet, recently disclosed that the purpose of his composition and performance is to have readers and viewers riveted, even visibly, anytime they witness his performances. He believes that the ability of words to move mountains is what distinguishes good poetry from other literary disciplines. The trick, he believes, is the rich metaphorical vocabulary that lifts poetry above most other genres.

This is as he prepares to hold his maiden exhibition of poetry tributes tagged African Citations. The event, which will be held at the MUSON Centre, Lagos, today,  Sunday, December 10, celebrates distinguished people and organisations from various times and places across Africa. It combines an art exhibition with audio listening and video screening, with each poetic tribute unfolding in the various media.

African Citations, says the man who has hitherto exclusively experimented with poetry performance, is his most ambitious performance feast so far.

“When I say ‘performance feast’, I am not just talking in terms of mounting the stage at such a potentially upbeat show and scene,” he explains. “But I mean the multiple media involved and the calibre of people we are fêting with poetry. I’m glad it’s finally happening because it’s been brewing for a long time.”

Also in a statement, Afrocitations, which is powering the exhibition, notes that the project marries the past with the present and the traditional with the modern, adding that it is also about celebrating icons who have positively impacted society.

“In some instances, the poet has had memorable encounters with the subjects. In some others, he only pays tributes from a distance, with their services to humanity being the bridge,” Afrocitations says.

It recalls how Lasisi had experimented with some other Yoruba poetic forms. In Wonderland, for instance, he projects ijala, the hunters’ social poetry, while his award-winning Night of My Flight is a recreation of the Yoruba bridal poetry called ekun iyawo. The African Citations series, which echoes Oriki, is thus a continuation of the trend.

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