JUST before the month of October runs out, poetry enthusiasts will bring an artistic kind of energy and buzz to the city of Lagos, as the Lagos International Poetry Festival takes center stage. The event, which was first held last year, has become one of the major highlights of the year for arts and culture in Africa, and easily the most significant of its kind in Nigeria.
This year’s edition of the Lagos Poetry Festival will feature over 30 poets from Nigeria and across the world who will be performing, speaking, and engaging audiences in thought-provoking exchanges and sharing inspiring ideas in sessions spread over five days. The event is themed Paging the Future; accordingly, presentations and discussions will revolve around the artists’ role in shaping tomorrow’s reality in various spheres of the human experience. Poetry readings, master classes and panel discussions will also be held in different parts of the city, with the epicenter of things being the Freedom Park, located in the heart of Lagos.
Efe Paul Azino founded the Lagos International Poetry Festival in 2015. Efe Paul, who is one of the recognized voices of contemporary Nigerian poetry and known for his spoken word performances, says this year’s version builds upon the success of the first edition, which had the theme Borderless Words. That festival was built as a celebration of, and a reflection upon the power of words to transcend borders and variations in experiences. And although the 2016 edition sets its sights on the future, there is also more than an echo of history about it, as Azino himself points out.
“This year’s festival coincides with the 50th anniversary of Lagos State and the attending celebrations”, reads a statement from the poet on the website dedicated to the event. “As a result, we are compiling, directed by Professor Wole Soyinka, fifty poems, by fifty poets on Lagos. The poems will be blown into life-sized digital banners and one of the city’s art and cultural nerve centres.”
We can expect an exciting feast of ideas at LIPFEST 2016 as poets present their thoughts on what the future holds for us all. Some of the poets expected to present at the event include Kwame Dawes, Shailja Patel, Inua Ellams, Titilope Sonuga, Dike Chukwumerije, Mandi Vundla, Adrian van Wyk, Sonny Kwaku, Dami Ajayi, among others. Thinking deep thoughts about tomorrow and creatively articulating them to an eager audience could provide these enormously talented acts with enough fuel to ignite an artistic flame capable of engulfing the city of Lagos.
The Lagos International Poetry Festival will take place from October 26 to 30, 2016. To find out more about the event or register for it, click here.