lyrikline blog

Nigeria celebrates Niyi Osundare’s 70th birthday on World Poetry Day

Posted in Niyi Osundare, our network partners, Remi Raji by lyrikline on 21. March 2017

Niyi Osundare is Nigeria’s most acclaimed poet. He turned 70 only some day ago, on March 12th. In his home Nigeria he is honoured with an impressive event organised on World Poetry Day in Ibadan. On the occasion of his 70th birthday and World Poetry Day we are proud to present Niyi Osundare on lyrikline where you can now listen to him read seven of his poems.

Remi Raji of Diktaris, the Nigerian partner organisation of lyrikline, pays tribute to this great Nigerian poet.

 

Niyi Osundare: Gardener and Warrior of Light at 70

by Remi Raji

The gardener of redolent words, the warrior of light, is three scores and ten years on Mother Earth. Niyi Osundare is undoubtedly one of the most enduring voices of Nigerian second generation poetry.

Niyi Osundare, photo: gezett

Fire in the bushels of barbarians, scourge of tyrants and traitors, the predictable voice against the conclaves of corruption, he of million metaphors, neither tired nor tiring of speaking truth to crookedness in high and low places.

Born on March 12, 1947 in Ikere-Ekiti, Nigeria, Niyi Osundare has achieved solid fame through hard work, diligence, and a dogged commitment to creativity and intellectual distinction. Grand and multiple award winner for his numerous books of poetry, he is always in great and real elements in the classroom, as trainer and high priest of knowledge. I am certainly not the only witness to Osundare’s unique teaching style…being one in a long list of his Creative Writing students at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Ten years ago, on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, I penned a tribute about Osundare’s philosophy of art:

Chinua Achebe teaches us a masterful and disarming narrative style filled with both lessons and puzzles; Soyinka bequeaths to us a large canvass of artistic genius and political daring; and Okigbo, the combination of the puzzle and the daring that the real author is all about, provides us with the limitless possibilities of the Muse, the true excitement of imagination. In his poetry and essays, Osundare, the scion of Osun captures the vagaries of the African dilemma, with the deep emotive insight of a revolutionary artist. Always, he queries the “jangling discord” of the Nigerian nation in a harmonious language made for intimacy and intelligibility; he draws consistently on the heritage of Yoruba verbal elegance which he transforms onto the graphic and permanent intelligence of the written word; for him the page is only a tangible site for the performance of the poetic text, and the voice, with the atmosphere of delivery, is the thing. To read a poem sitting, or standing like Sigidi, he insists, is to commit an abominable act, a disservice to the pageant of the enchanted word!
Indeed, Niyi Osundare is the poet of the alter-native tradition par excellence.

Global Nigerian. African Patriot. Engaging Poet. Three odd things to be at the same time, at all time, Niyi Osundare continues a healthy dialogue with his country and continent, without apologies, without compromise and without anxieties. Master of romantic and satirical verses, his most recent poem to the Nigerian/African public sphere is indeed both topical as it is provocative: “My Lord, Tell Me Where to Keep Your Bribe”.

We celebrate Olosunta’s child, Katrina’s survivor, we celebrate decades of unrelenting writing and activism. Many hearty cheers to the author of Songs of the Marketplace, Village Voices, A Nib in the Pond, The Eye of the Earth, Moonsongs, Songs of the Season, Waiting Laughters, The Word is an Egg, Tender Moments, Random Blues…etc.
May many more celebrations come and go like the rains in the predictable hour.

World Poetry Day Event
A special interactive event on World Poetry Day (Tuesday, March 21, 2017) is dedicated to Niyi Osundare’s ideas and poetry under the title “Poetry, Politics and Society.”

Participants include Nelson Fashina (author of Gods at the Harvest, 1998), Ademola Dasylva (ANA Poetry Prize winner, 2006), Tade Ipadeola (NLNG Poetry Prize winner, 2013), Jumoke Verissimo (Creative Coordinator of Ibadan Poetry Foundation, and author of I am Memory, 2008 and The Birth of Illusion, 2015) and Matthew Umukoro (author of Dross of Gold, 2002).
Also scheduled to perform at the event is a list of emerging and engaging Nigerian poets like Funmi Aluko, Ibukun Adeeko (Winner of the Babishai Poetry Prize, 2015), Charles Akinsete, Ndubuisi Martins Aniemeka, Bartholomew Akpah, Sola Ojikutu, Oladele Noah, Oredola Ibrahim, Theo Edokpayi, Danladi Sunday, O’Busayor, Saddiq Dzukogi (ANA Teen Author Prize winner & Brunel International African Poetry Prize, 2017 Shortlist) and Rasaq Malik (Brunel International African Poetry Prize, 2017 Shortlist).

The venue of the programme is the Faculty of Arts Quadrangle, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
Time: 18.00 – 20.00.

This is an Open Event.

Event Coordination:
DIKTARIS-NIGERIA, in partnership with LYRIKLINE, BERLIN-GERMANY
Supported by:
IBADAN POETRY FOUNDATION (IBPF)
RSVP
+2348088636663
+2347032483428

 

Remi Raji is a Nigerian poet, scholar, literary organiser, and cultural activsit. He is a member of the lyrikline partner network with Diktaris and his poems can be read and listened to on lyrikline.

 

Poetry from Burundi

Posted in Adams Sinarinzi by Heiko Strunk on 20. April 2016

Presenting poetry from Burundi is not an easy task. T.S. Eliot seemed to think true poetry is hardly translated, and one needs to truly sense where those words are from. Until the emergence of the modern, there was no need of presentingpoetry, for poetry was part of life.

….do you feel her drive?
Look at his eyes,
Do you read his verse? 
[1]

But the unity of life, some will say, was lost with the last myth and cosmic societies, that Burundi belonged to until a century ago. Dissolved by the increasing requirements of the modern world, several separate and independent spheres were born. One of them, the arts and culture, has grown (often unwillingly) to acquire the function of precisely representing the lost unity.

Beyond their powers to express the various contradictions and sensitivities, the world literature offers us symbolic levers for an understanding and appropriation of our lives. The young contemporary Burundian literature is best understood in this context, which is of an attempt to understand its environment and express its sensibility to the world.

In his academic book La Littérature de langue française au Burundi, [2] Professor J. Ngorwanubusa of the University of Burundi regrets however the few avenues for the literature of Burundi. There is barely any publishing house; a few reviews had been existing in the 1960s and 1970s but never survived except a few Christian reviews run by a few members of the Burundi Catholic Church.

samandari_10_SW.jpg

But the interested literary person won’t miss the corners behind the central market where the old (often stolen!) books are sold, the oldest book storeLibrairie St Paul, or the French cultural center (whose interesting café hosts the unfortunately more and more penniless intellectuals in the city!) and of course the newly opened Lire Africa in Gallerie Alexander, specializing in fiction from Africa. A blog by the poet Thierry Manirambona (“la plume burundaise”) lists an impressive archeology of Burundian books old and new, and a few poets do publish their poetry  directly on the internet as the acclaimed Ketty Nivyabandi.

Poetry in print might be hard to find in the country, but if you are insisting you will discover the underground intellectual and literary scene of the marvelous Café literaire Samandari that meets every Thursday evening at the Burundi Palace right in the middle of the city center. But one should say they met there, for since a year now these meetings are no longer held. (more…)

Map of a Thousand Lives – A Brief Introduction to Poetry in Malaysia

Posted in about us, Latiff Mohidin by lyrikline on 18. April 2016

By Pauline Fan

An attempt to chart the origins and evolution of modern poetry in Malaysia unearths complex historical processes and cultural interactions that have shaped contemporary Malaysian society. To speak of the writing of poetry in Malaysia, one must grapple with – or at least try to imagine – the essentially pluralist and polyglot nature of its people as well as the changing socio-cultural landscape, where “the map of a thousand lives will be seen* ”.

Malaysia is a country where at least four main languages predominate – Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil, further punctuated by a multitude of dialects and colloquialisms according to clan or region. The multicultural and multilingual population of the Malay Peninsula has been evident since at least the 15th century, when the Sultanate of Malacca rose to become one of the most thriving entrepôts in Asia, drawing merchants, scholars, and envoys from neighbouring kingdoms and faraway empires alike. Successive waves of immigrants from all over the Malay Archipelago, China, and India – some of whom settled, intermarried, and formed new distinct communities and cultures such as the peranakan or Straits-born communities – added yet more layers to the inextricable diversity of Malaysian society.

The conquest of Malacca by Portuguese (1511) and Dutch (1641) imperial powers preceded British colonial control, and later the Japanese occupation, of the Malay Peninsula and the northern provinces of Borneo.  Each of these imperialist presences left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of Malaysia, including on the Malay language in the case of Portuguese, Dutch and English, adding to the vast compendium of loanwords in Malay from Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Chinese. The Malay language served as a lingua franca for the Malay Archipelago for centuries, and forms the basis of the standardised national languages of both Malaysia (Bahasa Malaysia) and Indonesia (Bahasa Indonesia), mutually intelligible with some differences in vocabulary and spelling.

Oral traditions and pan-Malay poets

The origins of Malay-language poetry can be traced to the vast and various oral traditions that have been cradled in the Malay Archipelago as well as classical Malay texts known as Hikayat that date back as far as the 14th century. Traditional Malay poetic forms include the syair, the pantun, the gurindamand seloka, all of which are found in both oral and written literature. While traditional or classical, many of these poetic forms are intrinsically innovative, urging improvisation and spontaneous composition. The pantun, for instance, was sometimes performed as balas pantun, a call-and-response ‘duel’ or ‘flirtation’ between two poets, especially during performances of the Dondang Sayang (love ballads) of Malacca. (more…)

10 New Voices from Europe

Posted in Anja Golob by Heiko Strunk on 14. April 2016

Ten of the most interesting writers working in Europe today have been selected for special promotion by an international jury drawn from prestigious literary venues and festivals.

The list includes poets and novelists as well as translators and non-fiction writers from ten European countries – Catalonia, Croatia, Hungary, Portugal, Macedonia, Malta, Norway, Scotland, Slovenia and Turkey, and was announced at the 2016 London Book Fair on Thursday 14 April 2016, as part of the Literary Europe Live project led by lyrikline network  partner Literature Across Frontiers.

The New Voices 2016 are:
Juana Adcock (GB)
Bruno Vieira Amaral (PT)
Clare Azzopardi (MT)
Rumena Buzarovska (MK)
Erika Fatland (NO)
Albert Forns (ES)
Anja Golob (SI)
Arpad Kollar (HU)
Ciwanmerd Kulek (TR)
Zoran Pilić (HR)

Over the next twelve months, the work of these ten literary creators will be promoted in a series of live and digital events across the European Union and beyond. An anthology of their writings will also be published.
The aim of the New Voices from Europe selection is to highlight the richness and diversity of European writing in all its genres and languages, including minority languages.

Our New Voices will be given an opportunity they might not otherwise have with similar international or European awards,” said the Director of Literature Across Frontiers, Alexandra Büchler. “Some of them write in a language which a national jury might not read or their own state does not recognise, despite the fact that it is spoken by millions. Alternatively, they may be writing in a language so small that their readership at home is limited to hundreds and there are few literary translators who can render their work in other languages. But all this does not mean that they should not be heard – so with the New Voices selection, we are doing what Literature Across Frontiers has done for the past fifteen years now. We’re making literature travel, sometimes from the most unexpected places.

http://www.lit-across-frontiers.org/

Biographies

1. Juana Adcock is a poet and translator who has lived in Scotland since (more…)

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Looking back on the relaunch day – a summary

We had been eagerly awaiting the “relaunch day” for months. As of 1 September, the new lyrikline is up and running!

Many people helped to bring the new site into life and many people came to celebrate with us and followed the relaunch event at c-base in Berlin or online via live stream. For all who couldn’t be there or want to relive the event here’s a little summary.

Ready? Go!

What ingredients does an event need that celebrates the new lyrikline? Next to having a look into what is new, there should be the elements that make lyrikline the living project that it is – poets, users, national partners, voices, languages, poems and translations. We tried to add a bit of it all and stir well…

The event was opened by our two charming presenters, Joel Scott of Australian partner organisation The Red Room Company and Per Bergström who is the Swedish partner with Rámus förlag. Many other local lyrikline partners
sent their video greetings or organised relaunch happenings in their countries

IMG_9914

Heiko Strunk speaking about the new website (© gezett)

Heiko Strunk, who managed the project right from its start in 1999 and masterminded the website relaunch, gave us a showcase tour of the site and introduced all the new features.

So, what’s new?

To mention all the new things in detail would extend poetry length by bar. Best go and have a look! But here are some of the essentials…

Navigation languages:

Next to the five existing languages to navigate the site which were Arabic, English, French, German, and Slovenian there are four new languages: Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Start page:

The new site opens new ways to access the content of lyrikline so the users don’t get lost amidst the 900 poets, 8,000 poems, 11,000 translations or 60 languages of poetry. Next to thematic teasers, the start page offers a radio like theme stream, recommends poems or poets to discover and informs about new content. From the main menu you can now select poets not only from A-Z or by languages but also by countries and you can browse the site by poems also, e.g. many poems can be found by categories like humorous poetry or issues like alcohol & drugs and many more everyday life topics.

Search & Community:

Have a look at the new design of the poem page, lean back on your couch after you selected „listen to all poems“ by your favourite poet or find the needle in the hay by using the new search and its dozen refinement options. Moreover, you can remember content, create your own lists or explore what other users like by becoming a member of the community.

Whatever access point you start from to explore poetry on lyrikline you’ll be able to find all the six poets who performed at the relaunch event on stage in Berlin, be it Finnish poet Helena Sinervo or Norwegian Simen Hagerup, who were both published on the site during the live event, Els Moors from Belgium, Pedro Sena-Lino from Portugal or the German poets Steffen Popp and Jan Wagner. Since the latter is the most translated poet on lyrikline his poem champignons was read on stage in the languages of all the present poets.

Can you hear me?

andrej

google hangouts session: Andrej Hocevar waiting in Ljubljana

To give the lyrikline users the chance to follow the event via online streaming was a main aim since lyrikline is a web project and its main audience is sitting at a computer and not in front of a stage. Another idea was to establish live video connections to our partners and to poets in Nigeria, Russia and Slovenia during the event. In the end this did not go as well as we hoped and not nearly as well as it did when we ‘practised’ two weeks before, meeting in our first google hangouts session to check if we can all hear and see each other. At least we could hear Russian poet Linor Goralik read a poem in Moscow that night, but due to technical problems, the session sadly hardly worked and there was a lot of desperate asking „Can you hear me?“  This photo of a waiting Andrej Hocevar in Slovenia portraits the unlucky attempt. The more we’d like to thank the patient poets Linor Goralik in Russia and Benson Eluma in Nigeria and the partners Andrej Hocevar, Dmitry Kuzmin and Remi Raji who put a lot of time and effort in this. It’s a shame it did not really properly.

Messages from Space

Other connections to the outer world were more successful. It was fun to read what Julià Florit and Thomas Andersson, the partners from Catalonia and Sweden wrote while they took over our lyrikline facebook and twitter accounts to post some impressions of the event. The two of them and poet Els Moors also formed the jury that selected their favourite „space poems“ which were sent for the relaunch by users answering an open call. The space topic was inspired by the event venue, the c-base „space station“ in Berlin which is an association of IT activists and their headquarter was a great place for the lyrikline relaunch event.

literaturWERKstatt berlin

Left: the two presenters Joel and Per, right: Julià and Thomas connecting to the outer world (© gezett)

We’re happy that with the relaunch, this new era of lyrikline has finally started. It’ll certainly take a good while before all the little bugs left on the new site will be found and fixed. Continuously, more and more poems will be sorted into the categories, more new poets will be published and ideas for new start page teasers will have to be found. It is, as it was, work in progress so stay tuned and visit the new site every now and then.

Thank you all for coming to the relaunch event, for watching it online or for following the whereabouts of lyrikline!

Relaunch messages – a video greeting from Québec

Posted in Autoren / poets, our network partners by lyrikline on 4. September 2013

For our website relaunch, people affiliated to lyrikline like poets, local lyrikline partners and artists sent their personal videos. All the messages we received are uploaded here on our blog. Many thanks to all who sent us their greetings. Thanks also to everyone who gave us their feedback and congratulations on the new site and spread the word about it!

Here’s a video from our Québec partner, the UNEQ, that introduces all the lyrikline poets from Québec in a very special way.

Video message from Portugal

Posted in about us, our network partners by lyrikline on 4. September 2013

Video greetings from Portugal by Inês Pedrosa of Casa Fernando Pessoa, the lyrikline partner in Portugal.

By the way, Portuguese is a new navigation language on lyrikline. Have a look.

Video message from Macedonia

Posted in Autoren / poets, Nikola Madzirov, our network partners by lyrikline on 4. September 2013

A message by Macedonian poet and lyrikline partner Nikola Madzirov.

Nikola Madzirov’s poetry on lyrikline

Video message from Finnish Poetry Flashmob

Posted in Autoren / poets, Olli Heikkonen, our network partners by lyrikline on 3. September 2013

During Runokuu Poetry Festival in Helsinki, lyrikline partner Laura Serkosalo of Nuoren Voiman Liitto organised these greetings by poet Olli Heikkonen. We see many other Finnish poetry activists at their festival flashmob in the Helsinki railway station.

Poetic postcard from Croatia

Posted in Autoren / poets, our network partners, Tomica Bajsic by lyrikline on 3. September 2013

Poet Tomica Bajsic of the Croatian PEN Centre, the local lyrikline partner, sent this ‘poetic postcard’ from Dubrovnik for our relaunch.