Vivid Verses is a platform that boasts over 100 poets under its belt. Spoken word is growing rapidly in Nigeria, and Vivid Verses is right at the centre of the growth. It has given voice to both the known and the unknown, and is fast becoming a gem in the poetry world. It recently gave spoken word artists an opportunity to send in their content for a chance to have their poetry professionally produced. In light of this, we decided to interview the founder of Vivid Verses – Ayokunle Komolafe.
What inspired Vivid Verses?
Vivid Verses was born out of my love for poetry and believing that poetry should be given its rightful place in the society. I discovered that a lot of poetry recitations are restricted to open mic events and poetry slams, so I thought, why can’t we also have it on radio and television as a regular programme, this made me decide to create Vivid Verses as an avenue to showcase poetry on mass media.
Where does your love of poetry stem from?
Sometime in late 90s to early 2000, I discovered my ability to play with words. I then got interested in the works of Beautiful Nubia, who directed me to attend the readings of the Association of Nigerian Authors at the National Theatre, Lagos. I learnt a lot from the events and this actually sharpened my poetry.
What is your long term plan for Vivid Verses?
The long-term plan for Vivid Verses includes organizing big events to bring old and new poets together on one platform. The essence of such events is to also include people that are too busy to attend open mic events, for example, CEOs, business owners and military officers.
We are also planning workshops and competitions for secondary school students. These will be held quarterly and geared towards creating awareness for poetry performances in secondary schools.
There will also be competitions for poets across Nigeria and we are going to have different poetry shows on television.
Have there been any surprises since you began Vivid Verses?
Yeah. I have discovered that so many people are into poetry but are barely known. I have met a lot of talented poets, both old and young. These discoveries fuel my passion to pursue the dream more than ever.
Where do you think spoken word in Nigeria is headed?
Spoken word poetry has come to stay. I foresee a huge industry that will be doing as great as the music industry is doing at present in Nigeria. We just need to work together to make it happen. So many poets want to work in isolation and many people are not even seeing the financial opportunity in poetry.
Everybody wants to be poetry slam organizer, which I don’t think should be so. It is like where every actor is a producer. Let each one identify a different sector of the industry, then work hard to develop it. There are many things to be done, we have – poets that can only write, we have the ones that can perform, we also have talent managers, event organizers, spoken word producers, video directors, marketers and so on.
If everyone abides in what he can do well instead of trying to do everything alone, I believe we can harness the power of togetherness to make poetry the next big thing in Nigeria.
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