9 Promising Nigerian Poets to Watch
In recent times, poetry in all its several forms has been on a remarkable rise in Nigeria. Coupled with this growth has been an increased awareness and appreciation for the art form. Not only has its recognition as a viable industry experienced a resurgence, there has been quite a noticeable change in the manner poets are regarded. Suffice to say that at this period in the history of the country, poets aren’t just seen as performing artistes but as stars in their own right.
In no particular order, let’s take a brief look at some of the most promising poets, currently in Nigeria.
Her poetry is as defiant as it is mesmerising. Kemi Islamiya Bakare a.k.a Kemistree though a political scientist by training, is a spoken word poetry artiste of much renown. She’s won a few competitions including the Goethe-Institut Poetry Slam (2011), Eko Poetry Slam (2014) and was Poet of the Year at her alma mater Olabisi Onabanjo University in 2016. She also served as a judge in the maiden edition of SOS Poetry Slam.
Efe Paul Azino
Where poetry and other literary matters are concerned, he is both artiste and Kapellmeister. Paul Azino is a maven and while his poems are undoubtedly stellar, his work behind the scenes also hasn’t escaped notice. Much like a Don Jazzy of the Nigerian poetry scene, he’s credited for organising most of the biggest poetry events in the country, as well as the production of Nigeria’s first spoken word poetry theatre production, Finding Home.
The Punch describes Jumoke Verissimo as “one of those who will change the face of literature in Nigeria”. Whether on the Nigerian scene or globally, she is no beginner where poetry is concerned. Her works have appeared in several prestigious online and print platforms around the world with some translated into Italian, French and Chinese. She has won several literary honours and was the proud recipient of a Chinua Achebe Centre Fellowship in 2012.
Perhaps, his most notable work till date is Nna Anyi – a video tribute he dedicated to late literary colossus, Chinua Achebe. Chukwumerije is a writer, poet and performer who is well-known in Abuja poetry circles. Though his early poems were more like the internalised scribbling’s of a lovelorn poet, his work has since diversified to explore impersonal topics like politics and other societal issues.
Graciano Enwerem’s awards and honours, include a 9-time win of the Sea View Poetic Challenge. His spoken word poem 12 Million Nonsense is one of his most popular works and is a satire of the 2014 National Conference. He is also a media practitioner and teacher, and manages a football club. He’s credited as the co-founder of Figures of Speech – a WhatsApp group for creatives.
Donna Ogunnaike a.k.a Donna K was labelled ‘Queen of spoken word poetry’ in Nigeria (2013) by spoken word platform, EGcreativity. She’s an energy Law specialist and a partner at law firm; Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor and Segun. Notwithstanding, Ogunnaike has made her presence felt throughout the Nigerian poetry landscape with her stirringly sensual performances.
He is undeniably one of the foremost poetpreneurs. His journey into the industry started with consistent prowling of spoken word events around the country. With a group of creative friends, Holloway has been able to set up platforms, for example ‘Word Up’, dedicated to promoting and developing poetry and budding talents in Nigeria.
Olayinka Samson Aremu’s moniker of a Japanese warlord is well-earned. His rare talent is evidenced in his ability to breed poet who can also write poetry in his indigenous language (Yoruba), some which he claims remain untranslatable. His literary honours includes a War of Words and Abuja Literary Society Poetry Slam Title. He emerged as the Nigerian Writers Awards’ Spoken Word Poet of the Year for 2017.
Her repertoire of professional skills includes acting, performance poetry and engineering, Sonuga began her career as a civil engineer before dabbling full-time into performance poetry. She won the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award in 2011 and the Maya Angelou Poetry Contest in 2012. She plays the character Eki in the popular NdaniTV sit-com Gidi Up.
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