Recently I had a long phone call chat with one of my fellow Lesotho poets who is based in South Africa most time of the year . As an advantage of schooling in Johannesburg where there are numerous poetry platforms and workshops like Word n Sound, Likwid Tongue open-mics and being a member of Afro Alphabets Mpoba Knowledge Monyeke has been able to attend and perform at numerous poetry stages that side including the annual Poetry Africa festival and UJ Imziboni Poetry festival .
I simply asked, knowing he wouldn’t hesitate to share his knowledge :
“What advice can you give to poets especially performance poets about performing?”
If I were required to summarize all he said in one word, that word be ” Respect . His reply is captured below
” Lyrical Bacteria our poets need to start respecting the stage and hence the audience. One needs to familiarize themselves with the stage prior to performing. If such an opportunity doesn’t avail itself then a poet’s role is to quickly find their comfortable spot and deliver as though their lives depended on it. It is a shame when a poet comes to the stage and gives excuses about why they weren’t able to memorize the poem. The audience doesn’t care about that. You have only a few minutes to captivate them. Some of them aren’t even hardcore poetry fanatics, so every minute counts. I fail to understand how our poets think they can pull off a powerful performance without practising. “
So dear poet(s), always remember to Respect the stage, respect the audience and respect the art and the audience will in turn find more reason to appreciate you.
Mpoba’s Poets blog interview here.
Poem: The Seed
::Lyrical Bacteria 2013