Call to re­vive po­etry

Lesotho Times - - Entertainment - Mo­halenyane Phakela

PLAY­ERS in the po­etry sec­tor have called for more plat­forms for po­ets to show­case their tal­ent amid fears the art form is in de­cline.

In sep­a­rate in­ter­views with the Week­ender this week, Po­etry Farm founder Peter Ma­hase, Po­etry is Alive founder Sheila Khala and prom­i­nent poet Mpho Se­fali said they were “very few” fo­rums left for bud­ding po­ets to per­form and de­velop their craft.

Ac­cord­ing to Ma­hase, his re­lin­quish­ing the po­si­tion of di­rec­tor at Po­etry Farm in May 2014 re­sulted in the stag­na­tion of the move­ment.

“I stepped down from Po­etry Farm to give oth­ers the op­por­tu­nity to take the group for­ward while I pur­sued other in­ter­ests. Un­for­tu­nately, those who took over also started fo­cus­ing on per­sonal is­sues to the detri­ment of the po­etry,” he said.

“As a re­sult, bud­ding po­ets in the move­ment be­came dis­il­lu­sioned be­cause they did not have any­one to give them di­rec­tion.”

Ma­hase said the art form could re­gain its mo­men­tum if more plat­forms were cre­ated for po­ets to per­form.

“I be­lieve po­etry can re­claim its lost glory if we could have more plat­forms such as we used to have pre­vi­ously. It is a pity that pro­mot­ers are not will­ing to give po­ets a plat­form to per­form,” he said.

Po­etry is Alive founder Sheila Khala echoed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments, say­ing po­etry was a con­duit to re­lay var­i­ous im­por­tant mes­sages to the peo­ple.

“Po­etry is a gift from God. I be­lieve po­etry can be re­layed through var­i­ous means to make a pos­i­tive im­pact on so­ci­ety. Live shows only cater for rev­el­ers and yet there are so many peo­ple in hospi­tals and pris­ons who need the spo­ken word,” she said.

“My wish is for bud­ding po­ets to think be­yond the mi­cro­phone and trans­form from just be­ing en­ter­tain­ers to artists who make a pos­i­tive im­pact on so­ci­ety through po­etry.”

Khala added that she was cur­rently work­ing on two books, The Truth and Psalms and Songs of Sheila Ce­leste as well as help­ing other writ­ers through her Sheila The Ea­gle Pro­duc­tions pub­lish­ing house.

On her part, Se­fali con­ceded that the lo­cal po­etry scene had lost its mo­men­tum.

“While po­etry is alive and well, as ev­i­denced by the shows at lo­cal restau­rants such as Vic­tory and Cloud Café, what has cer­tainly de­te­ri­o­rated is the hype,” she said.

“The move­ments that were once pop­u­lar a few years ago have fallen by the way­side. The men­tor­ship pro­grams and plat­forms cater­ing for young peo­ple have also dis­ap­peared and those are some of the things that need to be re­vived. How­ever, I am work­ing with other po­ets to form a move­ment which will re­claim our legacy.

Se­fali added: “My plan was to visit dif­fer­ent schools around town to in­spire kids to love po­etry but due to other com­mit­ments I will not be able to go to most of them, I went to Maseru Prepara­tory School last week and it was great.”

RAP­PER T-mech

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