Being A Poet In Nigeria
Of all the forms of performance art in society, spoken word poetry is yet to get to the height it belongs in Nigeria. To most great poets in Nigeria, poetry is a hobby. Most of them pay their bills through other means but poetry.
But this doesn’t mean that Nigerians do not appreciate poetry. Far from it. Most cities in Nigeria have an active literary society, and open mic events are saturated with yarn-spinning from lyricists. The country has seen commercial banks and other big companies infusing spoken word in their commercials. Nevertheless, with the high penetration in the system, this vocal art has not measured up with other forms of performance art like acting and music.
The Present And The Future Of Poetry In Nigeria
Speaking to TheHeadBridge, Anambra State-born slam champion, Divine Adachukwu Onyekwena popularly known as Dee, lamented that poetry is not appreciated enough in Nigeria. She compared what being a poet in Nigeria is like and what is obtainable in other countries where art activities happen very often. On a comical tone, Dee said that creating poetry is as tiresome as farming.
‘In Nigeria, if you present something like poetry, people don’t feel like investing in it. – Dee (Being A Poet In Nigeria)’
She envisaged a future where great poets will spring up in Nigeria, and become the pride of the nation.
Divine Adachukwu Onyekwena (Dee) is a spoken word artist that developed her skills by accident. She heard about poetry slam in Awka, Anambra State, read up about spoken word poetry, and joined the contest. Surprisingly, in that first trial, she ended up the second runner-up. She tried a second time and became the slam champion. She has performed in different cities in Nigeria – Enugu, Awka, Onitsha, and Abuja. The first time Dee joined a national competition – during Alitfest (Abuja Literary Festival) – she came third.
In the video below, Dee shares her journey into spoken word poetry and the challenges poets face in Nigeria.
She is a member of the Anambra Literary Society and Oliona Foundation For Creatives.
Watch The Interview Below: