Monday, April 2, 2012


The 3rd Lagos Black Heritage Festival, LBHF, presents A NIGHT OF POETS, featuring 16 Nigerian and 16 Italian Poets in a public reading and performances under the thematic framework: BLACK MEDITERRANEAN: THE NIGERIAN-ITALIA CONNECTIONS

Date: TUESDAY April 3, 2012
Time: 7pm
Venue: Food’s Court, Freedom Park,
Broad Street, Lagos

The poetic dialogue will be captured in a collaborative anthology — already underway — on the theme of MIGRATIONS: poems by 15 Italian/Italo-African poets North of the Mediterranean, and 15 Africans south. This Coffee-table collection will be published in time for the Festival in an illustrated bi-lingual edition.

The public reading on TUESDAY night will provide a poetic fiesta as Italian and Nigerian contributors perform their own lines, punctuated by vintage Italian and Nigerian music snatches.

The cross-generational Nigerian poets featuring in the project are:

Richard Ali, editor Sentinel Nigeria Magazine, Divan of the Four Winds;

Gimba Kakanda, whose works have been published in various local and international media, including the Indian Journal Prosopisia: An Anthology of Poetry and Creative Writing;

Razinat T. Mohammed, whose collection of short stories titled, A Love Like a Woman’s and Other Stories won the maiden prize for the Association of Nigerian Authors/ Lantern Book Prize 2005;

Uche Peter Umez, an alumnus of the International Writing Program (IWP), USA, and UNESCO-Aschberg Laureate;

Tolu Ogunlesi's poetry, essays and fiction have appeared in World Literature Today, Transition, Wasafiri, The Caine Prize Anthology and translated into Chinese, Italian, Norwegian and Turkish;

Jumoke Verissimo, author of the poetry collection I Am Memory, and winner of the 2009 Carlos Idzia Ahmad Prize for a first book of poetry, second prize 2009 ; among other prizes;

Ify Omalicha (late), author Amidst the Blowing Tempest, They Run Still & Now that Dreams are Born;
NB: Ify passed on in a tragic auto accident recently while this programme was being prepared.

Tade Ipadeola, is author of A Time of Signs (2000) and The Rain Fardel; his third volume The Sahara Testaments is about to be published.

Ben Omowafola Tomoloju, dramatist, poet, singer and author of Jankariwo, Askari among other works, and producer, director of the yearly poetry programme, P.L.A.Y.;

Olufunmi Aluko, winner 1st Prize for Poetry in the Poetry/Painting Competition of the Communion and Liberation Movement;

Deji Toye’s collection of poems Millennial Liege is awaiting publication;

Chiedu Ezeanah’s first book of poetry, Solar Energies (Book 1 of The Tristia Trilogy), is soon to be published;

Chris Abani is author of the collections Sanctificum (2010), There Are No Names for Red (2010), Feed Me The Sun - Collected Long Poems (2010) and Kalakuta Republic(2001) among others;

Ogaga Ifowodo, poet and writer, teacher of poetry and literature in English at Texas State University, USA is author of three collections of poetry:Homeland and Other Poems, Madiba, and The Oil Lamp; and

Odia Ofeimun whose numerous collection of poems include The Poet Lied (1980), A Handle For The Flutist (1986), Dreams At Work and London Letter And Other Poems (2000).

Wole Soyinka, Playwright, Poet, Essayist and Human Rights activist, and Nobel laureate (1986);

John Pepper Clark Bekederemo, poet and dramatist, and recipient of the Nigerian National Merit Award for literary excellence (1991).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

WordSlam... explosion of live poetry in Lagos

It was by every measure a weekend the power of the spoken word took centre-stage and audience that had gathered savoured every bit of it.

But by far, the most humbling was when playwright, actor, singer and culture journalist and advocate, Ben Tomoloju, stepped up to the microphone and took the audience into the intricate resources of the rich Yoruba oral literary performances laced by his musical compositions. It all happened at Freedom Park, Lagos Island last Saturday. The theme was: Homage to the Environment

Although it had been long he performed in public, Tomoloju left no one in doubt that he is indeed a master of the performance craft. Also pairing affably with another exceptional performer, Yemi Oyewo, Tomoloju showed that he is in a class of his own both in verbal dexterity and musical gift.

For the benefit of the mixed audience, including both non-Yoruba speakers and foreigners, Tomoloju caused Oyewo to do an encore of an Ijala or hunter’s chant while he interpreted. His seamless interpretation while Oyewo chanted was a real fascination and could only have come from a master craftsman like Tomoloju.

Indeed, as Honoured Guest Poet at WordSlam V, the poetry, spoken word, rap and music event put together by Culture Advocates Caucus (CAC) with the support of the German culture centre, Goethe Institut, Tomoloju showed he is a deeply experienced and skilled performer. Digging deeply into his Ilaje-Ese Odo oral roots, his versatility took his audience to the heights of oral performance and he capped it up with a musical rendition with reggae accompaniment from the Naijazz band led by Oyin Ogungbade.

At the end of his act, a standing ovation greeted the rare performance from a multi-talented artiste. Indeed, many young artistes wondered how lucky they were to have been part of the spoken word mini-festival. Younger ones would certainly take a cue from the master craftsman and learn a trick or two to better their craft.

While Tomoloju’s performance clearly turned out the climax of a glorious evening, other younger performers showed promise as usual as those certainly coming into the ripeness of time in poetic and performance art. Culture journalist and actress, Evelyn Osagie also took a cue from her Edo, Benin roots, to give the audience something to chew about in her piece, Nature’s Song. A love poem to Mother Nature, it calls attention to the environment and how positive action needs to be taken to preserve nature from the harmful practices of man that degrade it.

On another level and taking the earth goddess as her guide, Osagie raked up her Edo cultural riches in her soul-lifting verbal narration of the maternal relation between the earth goddess and her children, man; and how she is the mentor of lovers, who need her guidance to succeed, especially as Osamudiamwen was to find in his love quest for his heartthrob.

Not least to thrill the audience was revolutionary reggae artist, Cornerstone (Simon Eyanam Dose). With Rope of Freedom, Cornerstone showed what a musical force his soul-stirring voice could be. Indeed, it would seem that Cornerstone has remained on the fringe for far too long. With a little help, perhaps, Cornerstone could well be the next reggae revolution the world would see. His lyrics is steeped in revolutionary idioms as he speaks with such force that could shake an inert, docile citizenry like Nigeria’s into some form of positive action so the commonwealth could be redeemed from its current socio-political malaise.

Another culture journalist, Chuka Nnabuife, drew attention to the environmental degradation ravaging the South-Eastern parts of the country. Taking a little excerpt from his on-going project, Mbize… Landslide Down the Eastern, Nnabuife is insistent that the time to act is now to avoid a catastrophe waiting to happen, and that it would be easier to stem it now than respond to it later.

Read more on WordSlam... explosion of live poetry in Lagos

National Mirror - Poets, authors in word fest

The Goethe-Institut, Lagos in collaboration with Culture Advocates Caucus, CAC on Saturday, September 24, organised the regular Wordslam, one of its programmes which encompasses spoken word performances, poetry readings and open mic sessions.

According to Marc-Andre Schmachtel, Director, Geothe-Institut, this year’s Wordslam was being held “for the poets to give us a demonstration of their power”.

And what power that was as poets like Dagga Tolar (accompanied by students from a poetry workshop in Ajegunle); Cornerstone, Awoko, Iquo Eke, Onileagbon, Edaoto and Yemi Oyewo took the stage to thrill the audience at the Freedom Park, Lagos venue of the event.

Others who performed were Chuka Nnabuife of Compass Newspapers, Uche Uwadinachi, a surprise performance from Evelyn Osagie of The Nation Newspapers and from the quintessential Ben Tomoloju, who was the honoured guest poet. Most of the performances were accompanied by music from the band stand.

Mr. Tomoloju mounted the stage and had his first performance of spoken poetry with Yemi Oyewo, who doubled as the MC for the day. Oyewo spoke in Yoruba while Tomoloju interpreted. Then Tomoloju performed a song from his Songs for Nigeria album accompanied by Edaoto and earned himself a standing ovation.

Read more on National Mirror - Poets, authors in word fest

WordSlam… Live At Freedom Park

THE Culture Advocates Caucus, CAC, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Lagos presents the 5th edition of the big-stage live Poetry/Spoken Word/Rap performances featuring some of the city’s most tested and reputed Word artistes.

With the theme homage to the environment, and sub-theme, Why are we so blessed with Flood; Erosion; Desertification; Dirty Habitat… Reflection on Environmental Hazards; Global Warming; Depletion of the Ozone…., the event will hold at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos Island (adjacent St. Nicholas Hospital), and it is free.

There will be performances from Dagga Tolar; Habeeb Ayodeji aka Awoko; Iquo Eke; Cornerstone, Uche Nwadinachi, Edaoto; Onileagbon, Ayeola Mabiaku, and other vibrant poetic voices.

The Young Flowers, will also be featured by Students of Secondary schools from around Lagos.

read more on WordSlam… Live At Freedom Park

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Culture Advocates Caucus, CAC, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Lagos presents the 5th edition of WORDSLAM, the big-stage live Poetry/Spoken Word/Rap performances featuring some of the city's most tested and reputed Word artistes.


Why are we so blessed with Flood; Erosion; Desertification; Dirty Habitat... Reflection on Environmental Hazards; Global Warming; Depletion of the Ozone....

DATE: September 24, 2011
TIME: 3pm
VENUE: Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos Island (adjacent St. Nicholas Hospital


On the line up are:
Dagga Tolar; Habeeb Ayodeji aka Awoko; Iquo Eke; Cornerstone,  Uche Nwadinachi, Edaoto; Onileagbon, Ayeola Mabiaku, and other vibrant poetic voices

Also featuring:
'The Young Flowers', featuring performances by Students of Secondary schools from around Lagos

The OPEN MIC session featuring extempore performances by members of the audience.
Please come along with your Poems or Rap or Spoken Word pieces.
Prizes available for best THREE choices of the general audience

Bandstand: NAIJAZZ collective
Supported by: EDUN Drum Ensemble

Compere/Word Priest: YEMI OYEWO

MBIZE... Landslide on Eastern Side; a poetic field report by the poet/painter/journalist CHUKA NNABUIFE.

GUEST POET: The poet/playwright/journalist, BEN TOMOLOJU

Free Entry!

It's a feast of poetic flights....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WORDSLAM... Poetry takes on Environment

Culture Advocates Caucus, CAC, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut presents the most vibrant voices in performance poetry in the fifth edition of the prime poetic on Lagos stage, WORDSLAM.

THEME: Homage to the Environment
DATE: Saturday, September 24,
VENUE: Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos
TIME: 3pm

On stage would be the lyricists, Dagga Tolar, Cornerstone and Edaoto; the spoken wordist, Ayodeji Akinpelu; the flutist-poet Awoko, the romanticist, Iquo Eke, Uche Nwadinachi and Onileagbon; and the activist Evelyn Osagie with the sensuous performer, Ayeola Mabiaku.

These word artists have in the past few years proven their mettle in the Lagos poetry performance circuit. They will be backed up by one of the most engaging jazz groups in the country, Jazzmatazz.

Free Entry!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WORDSLAM 5 - Word and Environment

Climate Change


Global Warming

The success story of the WordSlam organized by Goethe-Institut Nigeria in collaboration with Culture Advocates Caucus continues with this edition - WORDSLAM 5, with the theme: Climate Change and Global Warming. With this theme, we are challenging all poets and spokenword artistes to start weaving words to create awareness and proffer solutions on how best this worldwide epidemic can be mitigated if not averted. The Nigerian poets' voice must be heard on this global issue, and the platform is WORDSLAM 5.

Here are some websites for you research:




WordSlam School Outreach Programme

We shall continue this educational programme which has become an important segment of the project. This platform gives poetry-interested secondary school students the opportunity to train their writing and performing skills. We have worked in the past with students in Ajegunle (twice) and Ikoyi. As the focus of this project is to help the less privileged students in Public Schools to sharpen the exploration of their talents and its exhibition, we shall take some of our poets as instructors/conductors to some other communities in Lagos. The students shall be taken through the process of how best to use rhythm and rhyme, how to act on a stage and how to capture an audience with their performances. The results of the workshop shall be displayed along the other performances on the “WordSlam 5” stage in February, 2011.

Photo Gallery

Mayo and Sage Has.son

Audience trapped under the rains
listening to poetry and spokenword

Fraternity of the poetesses from left
Nonnie, Jumoke, Iquo and Chinneye