By Ogar Monday
It was a gathering of literary minds earlier in the week at the Marina resort for the first ever Festival Poetry Calabar 2015 organized by Poets In Nigeria (PIN) and the Calabar Literary Society (CLS) to revive arts in this part of the country.
The event which was well attended by poets, and lovers of the art from Lagos, Ibadan, Benin, and Port- Harcourt was themed exploring the cultural richness of poetry.
While speaking at the event, Mr. Asuquo Bassey of the Calabar Literary Society (CLS), said that the event was timely, as it came at a time in the history of the country when reading is generally taking a back stage, and hope the continuous staging of the event will revive ‘sleeping’ art in this axis of the country.
Also speaking, Mr. Eriata Oribhabor, a poet, Columnist with the Leadership Newspaper and a one time President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Abuja Chapter wondered why Calabar which is rich in history and was at the forefront of colonial education and artistry has become laid back.
“Calabar has within the city relics of colonial experience which presents perfect motivation for not just poets, but prose writers, photographers and all other spheres in the act, why Calabar has allowed the West, especially Lagos and Ibadan to steal the show is what we will find out today”. He said.
While giving the theme presentation, Kolade Olanrewaju who has many books to his name, including Punctured Silence, said poetry cannot be swept aside in any society as its importance is unquantifiable.
“Over the years, poetry has functioned as a means of educating and enlightening people about their cultural backgrounds using culturally inclined imageries and themes. Poetry serves as a form of arts capable of propagating and promoting cultural values beyond boundaries”.
Olanrewanju said that it is their hope to sustain what has been started in Calabar. His words “undisputably, Calabar remains the No.1 tourism destination in Nigeria for its prestigious culture, scenic serenity and hospitality.
“The poetic mission of ‘Poets in Nigeria’ is therefore to support and promote the aforementioned attributes. Going forward will require credible collaborations to put in place an annual event to attract literary-minded people from all over the world”.
The two day event featured water-side discussions, open-mic session, poetry reading, on the spot poetry writing contest and spoken word contest, panel discussion and poetry performance.
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