THE RISE OF SPOKEN WORD POETRY IN NIGERIA

Over the years we’ve seen many art events like
comedy and music take center stage in different
parts of the world. The new addition to Nigeria’s
entertainment industry, is Spoken Word Poetry.

Spoken word poetry is a form of poetry taken out of
its literary written context and dramatized through a
vocal medium. Unlike other forms of poetry, spoken
word is written to be performed. The art has been in
existence for a long time but it is just coming to
limelight in Nigeria’s entertainment industry.

When one listens to some spoken word
performances, they can be likened to rap music but
spoken word poets are not rappers, they are
creative performers who make use of words and
delivery in a rhythmic style. They make use of
rhythm, rhymes and punch lines, and other
elements that make the art stand out.

The rise of spoken word movement in Nigeria can
be traced back to a decade or so, with the likes
of Sage Hasson, who is regarded as Nigerian’s
premier spoken word poet, championing the cause.
But recently, the art branched out in search for
publicity when some spoken word poets came
together to aggressively create awareness through
different events.
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Speaking with the promoter of WordUp, the biggest
spoken word event in Nigeria, Olumide Holloway, he
said “Spoken word poetry event in Nigeria is
growing, though we’ve not gotten to where we are
supposed to be but we are getting there”.

Olumide said the art is getting bigger by the day. He
also made it known that the art needs sponsors in
order to gain a better leverage. “The key places
that we need help from is funding and awareness
because awareness brings funding and funding
brings awareness”.

He said that spoken word poetry has few funders
because most corporate organizations do not
understand the significance of the art form. Olumide
said they need more people in the entertainment
industry to show interest in the art.

Also speaking with the season three winner of war
of words, Graciano Gracious Enweren, he said “With
the help from God and spoken word artists in
Nigeria, poetry will be recognized like any other
art.”

Graciano added that “many people need to be
schooled on what the art form is about, in order not
to get the wrong breeds of poets”.

He also emphasized on the opportunity the art form creates.
For example, wordup gave him the opportunity to
showcase his talent.

Meanwhile, K- Meks Otuya believes spoken word
poetry is not just performing art but a medium to
pass a positive message, “It is a medium where
stories can be told message can be passed across
to individuals and people.”

He also added, “spoken word poetry is going to hit
the industry. There was a time when nobody knew
anything about comedy but today comedians are
well recognized. Spoken word is getting to that
point”.

Another spoken word poet, Foursyte Bogani,
cautioned poets against the culture of comparison
in the industry. “We should not compare the foreign
industry with Nigeria because we are still
developing,” he said.

First published on http://www.ruralreporters.com

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