By ADEOYA AJIBOLA
“Justice has been kidnapped in my country and nobody is willing to pay her ransom, she was absent at the tribunal when the verdict was given, so the marauders were declared winners even though the votes were phantom…”
THAT is a snippet from a poetry rendition by Efe Paul, one of the leading voices in the Spoken Word movement at Read It Loud, a literary forum organised by the public affairs section of the US embassy here in Lagos.
The movement evolves from having small cells to having a capacity filled audience. It is safe to say a new generation of youths are rising but certain sections of the society are yet to catch this bug, and so It became imperative to inform members of the public on what exactly this movement is about.
Spoken Word is a form of poetry that often uses alliterated prose, or verse and occasionally uses metered verse to express social commentary. It’s a form of poetry intended for on-stage performance rather than print because it’s beauty lies in its delivery pattern where the poet assumes the position of a prophet or sage reflecting on issues affecting his society.
This kind of poetic performance is usually a product of deep meditation, views of the artist, which encompasses frank and sometimes satirical comments on politics, religion, gender, sexuality and other social behaviours.
The genre often contains references to current events and issues relevant to a contemporary life; using clever punch lines, witty remarks, poignant allusions and sarcasm.
The Spoken Word artist echoes the yearnings of his society by offering scintillating performances in the form of a dramatic monologue, which are not mere reverberations or tintinnabulations but are the very pulse of a generation.
It’s important to note that Spoken Word originated from blues music of the Harlem renaissance period. The modern poetry as it’s known today became popular as far back as 1960 in the African American communities with the last poets, a political and music group borne out the American civil rights movement.
Spoken Word Poetry is at its peak with poets making a living out of their talents. However the same can’t be said of Nigeria as the Industry is experiencing snail paced growth.
This could be due to the fact that it started out as an elitist movement, with open mic sessions held mainly on the Island at Taruwa, Freedom Hall, and Terra Kulture. However, the Industry received a boost recently when international spot light fell on Chiedu Ifeozo, who was featured on CNN, inside Africa.
And another plus for the industry is Bassey Ikpi; a Nigerian, who became a regular feature on Russell Simmons Def Jam poetry. Several other poets however have emerged on the Nigerian scene presently. They include Sage Hasson, Plumbline, Olulu, Torpedo, Nini Efem, Dark Poet, Wana Wana, Bob Ekat and Floetry.