Ever since I entered into mainstream poetry or rather started paying heed to Poetry interviews, either those done on radio or print media one of the questions that have always took the center stage up until now is the question of whether the Lesotho poetry sphere is growing or not. What do you think?
Yes what do you think is it growing or what? Surely before you utter an answer as a poet or a poetry fanatic you will ask yourself the question of how does one scale growth of an art form like poetry especially in this country. Our poetry sphere is partly growing and partly entangled in hospital by serious coma.
For argument sake or for clarity I will support my answer with two or three points.
On the growing part of our poetry sphere I would like to base and support my opinion with the point of platform creation.
It is a well known fact no art form can taste growth if there are no platforms for those who are part of it and the same goes for poetry.
In December 2005 when Peter Mahase formed Poetry Farm, there were few poetry shows organized and hence less exposure for local poets, but shortly after that Maseru began buzzing with the spirit of poetry as Poetry Farm held numerous poetry shows both in the city center and the National University of Lesotho. It is in this period we can safely say some people were successfully baptized with the spirit of poetry and inspired to be like those who had the opportunity to perform at such shows. THAT IS GROWTH!
In 2007 when the Ultimate FM was established a radio personality affectionately known as Miss P introduced into her show; MISS P UNPLUGGED a segment called Poetry Corner which catered for upcoming and established poets. Up to this day the segment is still active and has seen more than 60 poets going to it. Most of the poets have gone from being underground to being known (me included) by those well within the station’s broadcasting coverage and this has added to the poetry sphere even those who hated poetry and inspired more people to sell their hearts to poetry. THAT IS GROWTH.
In 2008 when the Informative newspaper gave Peter Mahase an opportunity to run a column called POETRY FORUM we can’t deny the difference it made in our poetry sphere. In the same year when DJ BOOTS from PC fm allowed us, (Poetry Farm) to co-host with him a segment also called Poetry Forum on his Friday afternoon show, we also can’t deny the impact it made on the listeners of that radio station. In the same year again when the Weekly Mail newspaper accepted my proposal of running a column called Poets Paradise, a strong injection of growth was given to our poetry sphere. We also can’t deny the contribution the Weekly Mail newspaper did to our poetry sphere when it gave poets an entire page to run three columns; poets paradise, poetry through the lens of the microscope and poets blog.
There are so many platforms that have been created for us as poets ever since 2005 and I will not mention all of them here but the point I am driving home here is that such platforms have helped shape and make our poetry sphere bigger.
On the part of being in a coma, I will get straight to the point.
What good are all this platforms if we don’t fully and appropriately utilize them? What good is the inspiration given to us by these platforms and the people who created them if we don’t use it to have bigger and broad platforms? Are we saying our growth in poetry is marked by the number of poets we have now? What is most important, quantity or quality? What good is it to have over 60 poets in the country with none of us recording the happenings of our country? True that our poetry should be our therapeutic tool but is that where it ends? What good is it to our poetry sphere if there are over 30 female poets running on the same rail of writing, angle and recital? What good is it if none of us are willing to learn and improve our material by paying careful attention to how other African countries do it?