The recently concluded Performance Poetry Masterclass with Bash Amuneni was an eye-opener for all the upcoming Nigerian spoken word poets that attended and a first landing of the ladder for many on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th January 2020.
Poetry enthusiasts within the Abuja province and neighboring states took advantage of the two days poetry masterclass that was facilitated by published authors like Bello Mohammed Bello, Bash Amuneni and Richard Ali, venued in Ozidu House and Nu Space Gallery respectively. All in Maitama.
The sessions were divided into different parts, from the interaction section to the opened mic and the sophisticated techniques of stage performance which Mr. Amuneni was unapologetically honest with his students about.
Bash taught his enthusiastic students about voice control, breathing space, poise, stage fright, emotional portrayal, word mastery, eye contact, among many other techniques it takes to be a good performance poet.
Richard Ali, took the students on the metaphors, compositions and reading complexities of ancient poetry, citing examples from W.B. Yeats, John Keats, Federico Garcia Lorca, John Donne, I.S. Jones, etc.
Mr. Ali had every student read out loud to the class the poems he selected, gauging each student’s oratory strength.
Bello Muhammad Bello had an interactive session with all the students on the first day of the masterclass where the budding poets were allowed to pour out areas of their weakness and strength.
And when each participant was asked to define poetry in the best way they understood the complicated language, some had pretty interesting definition while one person said, poetry is an opportunity to imitate God.
All of these, Bash Alumenni and his friends of facilitators absolved into their teachings and gave the participants a wider range of what it means to stand in an International stage and perform.
Poetry is strings of language weaved into a tapestry to capture, illustrate and paint imagery of an event in the past, present or future prediction.
The conventional art of poetry is evolving into a more artistic and elaborating form, where writers are required to come on stage and perform their piece.
While the written page poetry form is an art that will survive ages to come but the performance poetry is the new art form that is redefining the conventional art itself.
Bash’ Amuneni is one of Nigeria’s foremost performance poets. His poetry is laced in love, memory and the dynamics of the human condition.
He has performed poetry at various platforms in and outside Nigeria – from the Lagos International Poetry Festival (LIPFest) in 2016 & 2019 and most recently at KABAFest 2019 and the 23rd Poetry Africa International Festival in Durban, South Africa. In 2017, Bash Amuneni was awarded by the Abuja Literary Society for his sustained work in the development of Literary/Arts Programmes in Nigeria.
Bash Amuneni was also a guest performance poet at the European Union Human Rights Night in December 2017. In January 2018; he was a guest performance poet at the commissioning of The African Development Bank
Head Office building in Abuja by The Nigerian Vice President.
He had also been a guest performance poet at 73rd Session of Executive Committee and 41st Congress of
Leaders of African Parliamentary Union in Abuja and the USAID IHP Program Launch.
He is the author of the collection of poems ‘There Is a Lunatic in Every Town’. His forthcoming projects are a collection of poems and audio EP with titles, ‘We don’t bury bodies ugly here’ and ‘Unboxed”. Bash is also an Architect.
Richard Ali is a Nigerian lawyer, novelist, and poet. Author of the warmly received 2012 novel, City of Memories, Richard was Editor-in-Chief of the Sentinel Nigeria Magazine and was a runner-up at the 2008 John la Rose Short Story Competition.
He has been Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (2011 to 2015). A founding member of the
Nairobi-based arts collective, Jalada Africa, he also sits on the board of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, based in Kampala, Uganda, which runs the BN Poetry Award—Africa’s only in-Africa continental poetry prize.
He has served as a consultant, holding a public policy-shaping role as Technical Assistant to the Honourable Minister of Interior from 2015 to 2017, working on the Ministry Strategy Group (MSG).
He is presently Programme Manager of the Association of Nigerian Authors Preventing and Countering
Violent Extremism (ANA PCVE) program, which seeks to use literature to counter extremism.
A noted expert on issues of violent extremism, he is an alumnus and member of the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) and has participated in several roundtables across Africa.
He is also an alumnus of the US State Department’s International Visitor’s Leadership Programme (IVLP). He co-founded Parrésia Publishers Limited in 2012 and practices law in Abuja, Nigeria.
His debut collection of poems, The Anguish, and Vigilance of Things was published in 2019 by Konya
Bello Muhammad Bello,holds a Master of Public Administration degree, with a concentration in Public Management, from the University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Bello acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee, also in the United States.
Besides writing, some of Bello’s other interests include running, reading, and perfume. “Small World, Golden Words” is his first published book.
See more photos from the event below: