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Failed Competition

A week back I asked one fellow poet to invite members of a Facebook poetry group of which he is the administrator to a mini-competition where they were to write on the theme; Resolutions.

Once the poems were written and posted in the group, group members were to constructively criticize each other and hence vote on the best poem. The top three poems would be published on the Poetry Farm Facebook page and the best would be published on the Poetry Farm blog.

The idea was to help inculcate in poets’ minds that unless we grow a culture of constructively criticizing each other we can’t easily kiss the lips of growth, first as writers and secondly as poets.

Unfortunately or rather funny enough no one except Lebogang Scooter (the group admin) participated in that mini-competition. Maybe it was too boring for their liking or having their poems published on the afore-mentioned platform wasn’t incentive enough.

Anyway,how faithful have you been to your resolutions thus far in 2013?

That never constructively criticized shall never be mentally circumcised ” – LB

Below is a poem by Scooter on the theme; Resolutions.

Peace.

Resolutions scene one; forgiveness, hope, healing

The future is subjective it’s not written in stone
the past did it’s part.

One day
these dusty barren streets
will conceive again
a womb gathering dust and cobwebs
will be wiped clean.

When invisible pillars of the sky
rest their feet
on my heavily weighed shoulders
an erect pen will scribble
back and forth
back and forth
back and forth
back and forth
until it ejaculate ink
a feat of seeing hope
irrational as it is
rationalised to see worth
in a glimpse of a dust speck
just waiting to be ingested
to sprout
to thrive
to survive.

One day
some of us will purge hatred
let it sweat through our pores
we wipe our brows to dry despise
we were given
yet all was not given
we knew so much
yet we still wine and dine ignorance.

There are still fresh graves to be dug up
there are still ghosts to raise
as for now
we hold a night vigil
for the hatchet
read its orbituary
glorify
exemplify
magnify
its conquests
accentuate its sharp edges.

As the night is roused from sleep
morning will come un-announced
they’ll wash each other’s weariness with dew
an aftermath of darkness
we won’t even open sluice gates of tear ducts
what is done is done
what is done need to be undone
eventually
the leaping tongues of flames will get swallowed in its
own tongues
as did the great fiery rages
of London extinguished their self
smoke shading the sky mauve.

Father
we will find solace in desolation
call a truce
scatter ashes
bury the hatchet with its venom
with you father
i won’t even question the long absence
i’ll just appreciate your presence.

By Lebohang Kuenane (Lebogang Scooter)

:: Lyrical Bacteria 2013

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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Poetry, Poetry competition

 

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Woman Scream 2013 Invitation

Official 3rd Woman Scream poster

Official 3rd Woman Scream poster

I wish to invite poets, musicians, photographers, writers,bloggers, visual artists and graphic designers to participate in Woman Scream International Poetry festival 2013 – Lesotho Chapter (Online ).

Unlike in 2011,due to venue issues and other logistics there will be no event for the 3rd Woman Scream here in Lesotho but instead poems and other relevant material will be posted on this blog throughout the month of March.

For more info, and submission guidelines, please visit this page

Kindly spread the word.

PEACE!

:: Lyrical Bacteria 2013

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Poetry, Poetry Festival, Poets

 

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Respect The Stage

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 .

As a result he has been able to gather skills under the mentorship of Quaz of Likwid Tongue and other poets around him about writing and performance poetry.

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.

PEACE!

Mpoba’s Poets blog interview here.

Poem: The Seed

::Lyrical Bacteria 2013

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Poetry

 

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Poetavango Taking Botswana poetry to new heights

As part of the research we’re doing on the state of poetry in the SADC region, having interviewed poets (some of which represented collectives) from South Africa and Swaziland we’ve now moved to Botswana where we managed to do an interview with the founder, chairperson of Poetavango Spoken Word Poetry and the 2010 Bessie Head Literature Award Winners: Legodile Seganabeng. (Link; http://www.seganabeng.blogspot.com/ ). Lyrical Bacteria Blog (LB). Poetavango Director (PD).
LB: How can you describe the poetry scene in Botswana for the past five years? (In reference to other poetry scenes in SADC)
PD: Well, unlike in the neighbouring Zimbabwe and South Africa, poetry in Botswana is still on its infant stages, except, perhaps, for a very few individuals who worked exceptionally hard through the years to reach where they are now. Although different groups and individuals have always tried to break through and make their voices be heard, there hasn’t been a lot of support from within the country. This was mainly due to the fact that contemporary performance poetry and spoken word were still not yet very well understood and let alone appreciated. But things are changing for the better now. We see more sectors of the private and government bodies stepping up to assist the growth of this art form in the country. It’s a very encouraging development.
LB: One understands that you’ve schooled in SA for sometime, how did being exposed to poetry scene in SA impact on you as a poet?
PD: Yes, I studied in Johannesburg for five years (2001-2005). Prior to this time, I wasn’t much of a poet. In fact, I wasn’t a poet at all, though I can say I had a lot of interest in writing – you know, creative writing in general and nothing specific really. However, Johannesburg introduced me to performance slam poetry and spoken word, something that wasn’t yet there in Botswana back then. It really felt wonderful and truly fulfilling to just sit there and listen to poets spill their heads out. Now you can imagine how it felt like when the inevitable inspiration ultimately made me take the pen and the paper. Simply put, I don’t think I’d be a poet had I not stayed in Johannesburg at that particular point in time.
LB: What realization or goal led to the formation of Poetavango?
PD: came up as an initiative to fill in the gap that has been open for a very long time. It is this gap that has not made it possible for the nation of Botswana to know, understand and appreciate the art of poetry and storytelling. With Poetavango in existence and very felt nationwide, we are confident that our goals are being reached, one way or the other.
LB: One would just be keen to know why the name ‘Poetavango’.
PD: Poetavango Spoken Word Poetry is based in Maun, the tourism capital of Botswana. Maun is known as the gateway to the mighty Okavango Delta. So, we live in a region which is generally known as the Okavango. So the name Poetavango is just an amalgamation of Poet and Okavango.
LB: What role is Poetavango playing in the Botswana poetry sphere that a collective like Exoduslivepoetry! Poetry might have not played?
PD: I can’t talk for Exodus but the one thing I can state about Poetavango is that the group has strived to not only promote poets in their region but in the entire country as well. Poetavango believes that for Botswana poetry to grow, poets in the country need to hold each other’s hands and support one another. Hence, whenever Poetavango host shows in Maun or elsewhere in the country, they always involve poets from other collectives. Poetavango has also been working very closely with school-going children. We facilitate poetry coaching clinics in secondary schools and engage learners in poetry slams intended to encourage and mould them into better writers and performers of tomorrow. Poetavango believes that for poetry to really cement its stance in society, it has to start from school level.
LB: Being a community-based and non-profit making poetry organization how has the organization managed to sustain itself?
PD: It’s never easy. It’s a blessing that members of the Poetavango collective are all determined, focused and, most importantly, united. Even when our coffers run empty after donating away, we still look forward to more and better events in the future. So, we survive from a very small plate but we are able, nonetheless, to move forth with our mission without distraction or discouragement.
LB: One of your objectives is; 1.To promote Spoken Word Poetry- Taking poetry out to the people’. Which mechanism(s) has the organization employed since its formation to carry out the above-mentioned objective?
PD: Right from the onset, that is, in March 2008 when the collective was formed, we started holding free bi-monthly shows to the members of the Maun community. Please note that by then, very many people in our community had not yet been exposed to poetry before. So slowly we induced poetry into them. In no time our free session were packed by both locals and tourist. As time went on, we started moving around the country to do a few shows. Then one of the very successful ways we used was the Maun International Poetry Festival which started in March 2011.
LB: Tell us about The Maun International Poetry Festival (MIPF) organized and managed by Poetavango. PD: The MIPF is an annual poetry event that takes place in Maun, Botswana. We came up with this initiative after we realised that no matter how many bi-monthly shows we hold, the audience still hunger for more. Maun has indeed turned into the Home of Poetry and everyone wants to come to Maun for poetry events. Then we found it fit that we create a platform that can cater for everyone from across all walks of life; a platform with a wide variety of poetry and performances; a platform where every poetry fanatics from around the country and abroad can sit under one roof and bask to the same fire. That had to be an international poetry festival in Maun.
LB: Being the Founder & Chairperson of Poetavango Spoken Word Poetry, International Performers Coordinator for the annual Maun International Poetry Festival [MIPF] What do your roles entail?
PD: My main role as the chairperson is to try as much as I can to stir the collective of Poetavango to the right direction, to strive to see us grow and reach outstanding international standards. And this, I can assure you, is happening. I’m glad that I’m working with a team of young and energetic people. As the international performers coordinator for the MIPF I focus on scouting for international performers and dealing with them from the word go until the last day of the festival.
LB: Which poets from Africa and abroad have been hosted at MIPF?
PD: Other than our own Botswana performers, we’ve had poets from Zimbabwe, South Africa, USA and Jamaica. This year we were supposed to have additional countries like Haiti, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and Canada. But due to the unfortunate postponement of the show, performers from these other countries could not make it any more. Names of those we hosted include Outspoken (Zim), Prince Shapiro (SA), Donna Smith (Jamaica), Upmost (Zim), Masoja Msize (SA), Clint Smith (USA), Zwesh Fi Kush (SA), Breezy the Goddess (Zim) and Aero5ol (Zim). We’ve also hosted, though not in the MIPF, award winning poet Beau Sia from the USA. Poetavango intends to bring to the MIPF as many representatives of different countries as possible.
LB: Apart from financial challenges what other challenges does the organization face in organizing the event?
PD: To be honest, financial challenges are our only hindrance. The MIPF is always set and ready to boom but finance always holds us back. We still hope to get more sponsors and donors. In that way, it would be easy for us to bring performers from across the African continent and abroad. Thank You You are welcome. One Word, One Aim,
One Destiny

More about Poetavango (links)
Google search: Poetavango

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in interview, Poetry sphere, Poets

 

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Sheila Khala’s Book Launch

Sheila Khala in action

Sheila Khala in action

We caught up with Sheila Khala while preparing for her book launch in Lesotho, weeks after launching it first in South Africa, Free State Bloemfontein. The interview is captured below.

LB: In 2009 you published your first book. How has that changed your life as a poet and the lessons you learned?

SK: I published my first book in 2009, that stretched my name locally and internationally. It did change from being only a poet to being an Author also at the age of 19. It really brought so much attention on me,as a result my career as a poet blossomed with benefits of performing on variety of big shows. .

LB: One understands that after launching your first book, Formula you moved to the Free State on academic purposes, how did you find the poetry scene that side?

SK: Free State, Bloemfontein has an enormous crowd of poetry lovers .Their reception and support is a bit ahead from the one here at home. The government recognizes their art even though there’s always a loop hole of unsatisfaction everywhere but also they are ahead

LB: Having been a member of Poetry Farm & hence having obviously performed extensively how has performance poetry shaped your style of writing?

SK: Poetry farm gave me an opportunity on stage,talented and gifted as I am if I didn’t start with poetry farm I don’t think I would be a guru that iv become today. Even though we are not together now they are my family. Well,performing with people like Kgafela Wa Mogogodi a couple of times,Lesego Rampolokeng,David Wa Maahlamela, Napo Masheane, Hector Kunene, Jah Rose,Tania Tome from Mozambique the list is endless, who are also authors sharpened my writing skills as they are all big poets who differ in tastes of poetry,culture, presence. There’s written poetry and stage poetry,that needs to be noted.

LB: Tell us more about your new book,

SK: My new book,it just puts a huge smile on my face. I call it a manifestation of faith, ‘My Pen Is A Socialite’ As its titled is a collection of poems that some are experiences of good and bad times,appreciation of the hands of God,power tool I call love,creation,nature and a huge garden of motivation. Its a super revival. My pen in this case is branches in a tree,my pen my voice,my pen my ink,my pen my authority.

LB: One has observed that you launched your book first in Bloemfontein in the past weeks, and now to be launched in Maseru next week, why is this?

SK: This is a revolutionary book launch to spread my work and my gift extensively, after the 5th April launch in Lesotho I’ll be in Vaal, Limpopo, Durban, Mozambique, Namibia and many others. The pen is yet to affect nations as this year I’m touring Africa and signing my name in places. I,Sheila the queen of poetry I’m writing my name on the heart of Africa because I can.

Sheila Book launch; ‘My Pen is A Socialte’ will be on April 5th at Ster-kinekor -Maseru (cinema 3). Damage is M50. The launch features Free State poets; Hector Kunene, Jah Rose Nthabiseng Jafta and Lesotho’s Mpho Sefali-Moeketsi. The book features poems like; A prayer to the God of poetry,
Good morning Holy Spirit,When we write poetry,Phenomenal woman,
Breathing dreams and Nna to mention but a few.
Sheila is a former member of Poetry Farm, having joined it in 2007 to 2009.

-::Lyrical Bacteria::-.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Book launch, interview

 

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Woman Scream Poem #16 – Clean

You coward
Uncircumcised oaf- You ninny
Margin is your fore and surname;
You tie ropes unknowing-
You wear the mask of polite and decorum-you relenting washed bum,
Intention-twisting scum, nothing but hum-drum to be sung by your clean tongue…

You don’t move you merely stare,
You settle right there for fear of going somewhere/anywhere-
You surrender the nitty-gritty, rendering it spoilt, improper and filthy- what a pity.
In the face of scaled unforgiving demons you jump on immobility and choose nothingness over settling the score- YOU WHORE.

Look at the damaged inflicted by your silence and ignorance.
Dance to the beat-less music of your monotonous tune where you falsely think you are immune to it all-Afraid you will fall from your clean heaven?
What a sad, deplorable delusion.

Clean what do you mean by not wanting to be seen in the thick of the rowdy party and refusing to associate with the oppressed and desperate?
Is your crisp white worthier than the ruin?
Are the dusty feet of soldiers and warriors never right in your eye?
Your cataract-infested eyes that doubles as a spy of that infertile murderer called fear?

Clean language, clean footsteps, clean intentions and clean excruciatingly chilling cries as your world gets ingested by the silent, clean killer-SILENCE.

By: Liatile Mohale

Stop Violence Against Women

-::Lyrical Bacteria::-.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Poem, Poetry, Poetry Festival

 

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Woman Scream Poem #15 – Failed Union

“Till death do us part”, in unison they uttered,
Pledged before the priest and the congregation, this bond will never be shuttered,
In that day of ululations, the road ahead seemed golden,
Embarking on a fairy-tale journey, both convinced.

Now memories of that day torment and haunt her spirit,
Remorse dwells within brigades of her heart,
The holy matrimony transfigured into a hurt zone,
Though she depicts a fake smile, her eyes recite the anguish within,
She now coughs hurts and exhales agony.

In-laws dub her names for she fails to bear them grandchildren,
Verbally molested, her tribulations aggravate daily,
Relentlessly made to pay for a deed she has no power over,
No one can argue with what GOD has forecast;

Mother in-law hard at work to get her a substitute,
Corrupting her son’s mind with thoughts of divorce,
The once favorite ‘makoti’ made the community comic relief,
But what if the problem is within her son,
Why is it that women always fall preys and victims of prejudice????

© Letuka “Verbal-Saint” Qabalatsane

Stop Violence Against Women

-::Lyrical Bacteria::-.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Poem, Poetry, Poetry Festival

 

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