There’s almost no older art form in the entire history of the ape descended life form than poetry, which is probably why a section of these life forms have tried so hard to kill it. Seeing no chance of success, they’ve decided to coin phrases like ‘poetry is dead!’ , ‘poetry is for square douche bags’ , etcetera and circulate them just for the hell of it, but poetry has gone right on doing its thing.
This, I suspect, annoys the hell out of them who look at it in the same way one would at a relative whose age nobody can remember, who occupies the best seat in the house and loudly voices his opinion on absolutely everything and yet physically, he’s nothing more than a suggestion of a mildewed shadow. Point is, as an art form, poetry not as virile as it once was but it’s far from dead.
Jerry says, ‘Personal reading and writing of poetry is the only way I can keep my temper in check and vent without things getting bloody. It’s not easy being civil in a world that is chock-full of bastards. I run to poetry when things are threatening to overwhelm me.’
In Uganda, there are numerous societies, platforms and fraternities dedicated to the spoken word. From the lantern meet of poets which began almost five years ago, to Luminous Sorrels which is debuting in June, Ugandans have started to take this form of self-expression very seriously.
According to Ntaro, getting together with the express intention of celebrating words helps one learn a lot about themselves as a writer, among other things. When asked what drew him to the Lantern Meet of Poets, he says, ‘First off, I love my words. The stories told in the individual poems I got to hear in other people’s work spoke so clearly of what surrounds the youth of Uganda .’
Here are four reasons why you absolutely must join one of them:
SERIOUSLY: There’s only so much bar hopping, club hitting, intoxicant quaffing that one can do in one lifetime. This is one of the only forms of entertainment that doesn’t hold a blade to your vital organs.
BEDDINGFIELD: Is your favorite lyric ‘I bruise easily, so be gentle when you handle me’? Are you prone to sighing with eyes downcast and feet shuffling, that nobody understands the sensitive side of your soul? Stop being a bane in the existence of the people who know you. Put your drama in verse and attend one of these celebrations of the written and spoken word where you will definitely find at least one person who shares your taste for emo philosophies.
YO!: It’s cool. Poets are no longer square in the way geeks are no longer unsexy. Attend one of these events, if for no other reason than its trending.
MEET n GREET: Beats every form of networking, mostly because you’re not under any pressure to sell yourself off as the most amazing being on the planet but have gathered to celebrate the beauty of words the appreciation of which doesn’t discriminate between bank balances.
These are some of the more popular Societies/platforms:
Poetry in session which is occurs on the last Tuesday of the month, every month is held at Isha’s art gallery in Kamwokya. The ambience here is extremely cozy and entrance is free.
Bonfire, a story telling platform, is more upbeat, with the presenters regularly working their crowd with ‘mo fire! Bonfire! MO faya!…etc’ a warbling chant that the audience is all too willing to respond to.
Open Mic Kampala, like the rest is a platform for the spoken word but its aims are slightly different. Promoting Slam poetry along with other forms of expression that don’t involve words; like music and dance is one of its biggest objectives. If you’re looking for a bit of variety, this is the one for you.
The Lantern meet is the oldest. It was founded by a group of poetry nerds on campus who wanted to be able to freely critique and discuss poetry. It meets twice a month on Sunday afternoons at national theater. Everybody is encouraged to bring a poem to the meet but there’s no pressure to.
If your feet are still shivering their apprehension at you, start by attending the Grand poetry recital, which will be at National theater on the 10th and 11th of June and watch poetry being performed by people who a few years back would’ve balked, spat and gaped in confusion at the prospect of even READING a poem.