Ah, “poets,” said Safi Abdi, “are linked by a call akin to faith.”
So last night they descended on the upwardly Wasanii Restaurant at the Kenya National Theater by this call to showcase their pieces, courtesy of PEN, reading tents.
First on the scroll was the deadlocked poet-activist and documentary maker Githugu, whose brief it now dawns on me was to fire the crowd to a militarized sort of poetry.
Then came Denis Inkwa, the versatile open micer, Mike Kwambo, Leon Kiptum and one Njeri Wangari, the foursome performing poets, whose poetry is summed from one of their piece by Mike Kwambo – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised/Its Happening Here And Now.
Come on, PEN Kenya Deputy President, novelist Onduko bw’ Atebe, tapped me during Eudiah Kamonjo’s performance, hear that, it is full of lesbian overtones!
Wherefore i retorted, but that is Eudiah, her poetry dwells in sexuality. True, lady Eudiah has a collection of poems that explores this subject and which are yet to be published.
Also performing was budding poet and Slum Poetry winner (2009) Wanjiku Mwaura, a student at Kenyatta University, Valentine Kamau, and then cane a blend of musicals by Grandmaster Masese and MC Sharon.
Ian Vale, from PEN – Poverty Eradication Network – described the PEN – Poets Essayists Novelists – poetry night as a wonderful performance.
Whats more, Tamsin Mitchell, International PEN (London), Writers In Prison Committee, said the event was inspiring, the fact that people came to hear poetry recitals, is a feat admired by many. Tamsin is in Kenya on a working tour. I met Daily Nation columnist Kwamchetsi Makokha, and spoke to Bill Odidi of Radio France at the performance. And there was George Orido from the Standard.
Bill engaged me on the subject of poetry and spoken word. Poetry, i said, has an element of absolute beauty. About the spoken word, i referred him to a friend. These are cheerful polemics.
Review by Khainga O’Kwemba – The Treasurer at PEN International Kenya Chapter
He can be reached on khaingao(at)yahoo(dot)com