WHY IS POETRY GAINING LIFE IN NIGERIA?

Generally, Poetry started gaining recognition in the 20th century, and to date, its popularity rate is ever on the rise. Bringing it home here, it is a known fact that this genre of literature’s gain of recognition is a much more recent development.

Poetry has always been here, alongside its sisters i.e. drama and prose, but it has always been relegated to the shadows, unlike the other two genres. Most people, youths especially, do not find it as straightforward or interesting as a story or drama. For others, they’d rather read a story than poetry because of its alleged ‘complexity’. For whichever reasons, poetry has been left to suffer neglect.

However, today, poetry is steadily been brought into the limelight and in some cases, is even more sought after than other genres of literature. We have the likes of Gabriel Imomotimi Okara to thank, whose poetic brilliance opened the way for other brilliant poets. And today, many other poets have emerged – the likes of Tolu Akinyemi, Ijeoma Umbenyiou, Anietie Isong, Daisy Odey, Akinola Bello, and Haneefah AbdulRahman, among others.

Poetry in Nigeria has not only grown, but it has also taken on a life of its own in terms of its incredible dynamic flexibility which in turn leads to its progress from one form to the other. The metamorphosis of this genre from the usual ‘page turning’ to visual arts is most especially commendable.

That is why one can say that the most famous type of poetry in Nigeria now is arguably ‘Performance Poetry’. It can even be said without repercussions that this genre of poetry is the main reason why Poetry is gaining life in Nigeria. Having to listen to beautiful renditions of mind-blowing poetry and also getting to experience it in the theatrical form at the same time is too good an offer to pass up. Even better is getting to see geniuses compete against each other using local dialects, that about seals up the deal. That being the case, such performances never fail to draw out people in droves, I mean, why sit at home and read it, when you can see it with your eyes?

Performance poetry leaves the viewers with vivid images strongly rooted in their brains which makes the experience hard to forget, which really, is the whole idea of the performance.

Poetry is steadily mounting that ladder of success and its process of etching out a seat amidst other important genres is paying off. At this point, it is safe to say that its days of being in the shadows are over.

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