Soyinka, 8 poets for 2023 Providus Bank World Poetry Day Café –

by Akintayo Abodunrin

Women poets from Nigeria, UAE, South Africa, Canada and Ghana to join celebrated icons in Lagos to celebrate female growth

Eight women poets from five countries will celebrate World Poetry Day 2023 at the third Providus Bank Poetry Café on Tuesday 21 March with Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka.

The café will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, and will feature poetry readings and performances between Soyinka and established, mid-career and young poets, including students.

Celebrating femininity under the theme “Retelling Humanity with Women”, the edition reached out to female poets from Nigeria, the UAE, South Africa, Canada and Ghana.

Five of the poets were Nigerians and three were other nationals. The Nigerians are Wana Udobang; Amra Aliyu; Acharugo Ilozumba; Kemi Bakare and Jumoke Verissimo (based in Canada).

The non-Nigerians are Nathalie Handal (French-American living in Abu Dhabi, UAE), Vuyokazi Ngemntu (Cape Town, South Africa) and Emma Ofosua (Accra, Ghana).

A statement from producers CAC’s Cultural Advocates Caucus said, “The general idea of ​​the theme is to explore poetic works that pay close attention to the various patterns of reduction and exclusion women face in many parts of the world, notably Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Asia. other countries and some other parts of the world.”

In his introduction to the edition, Professor Soyinka reiterated the power of poetry to overcome the difficulties put in its path by state authorities and extremists. He said: “Poetry has survived thousands of years of corruption, hatred and destruction. It will outlast all enemies of freedom of thought and imagination. Even in the dampness and despair of torture chambers and executioner’s dens, the embers remain, Purifying flames burst forth in effort from the most unexpected places.”

Providus Bank, which began the series in 2109, explained that its engagement with the Nigerian literary scene “was intended to be a cross-generational endeavor where established, mid-level and budding writers could share a large stage.

“We can’t think of any other iconic and eminent figure other than the legendary Professor Wole Soyinka to be a great patron of the project and, in a sense, the project and the many young People’s ‘Patron Saint’. The stage since the launch of the 2019 World Poetry Day series.

“It needs to be emphasized that Professor Soyinka is fully involved in the different themes and artistic direction of these events each year. We are honored, grateful and appreciated for his leadership and personal investment in this project.”

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