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Young poets dish out word feast

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Young poets took audiences on a delicious feast of words when they staged a mind-blowing poetry recital at The Mannenberg jazz club in Harare on Tuesday.

The poetry show, which was entitled “Jungle Griots”, featuring poets such as Keep Change, Breezy, Poet Virus, Ethiopian poet Nebila, Black Pearl, Aero5.0l, Love, Phar-I, Police State Poet (PSP) and Flowchyld could be best described as a fresh, out-of-the box, revolutionary, mind-twisting juggle of words supplemented by similes and metaphors that were simply mesmerising, to say the least, leaving one to wonder why local publishers have not yet harvested this vast mine of artistic talent.

“The idea is to have a concrete jungle of storytelling featuring modern, young, urbane poets who write and recite poetry in diverse traditions, including hiphop, beat box and afro punk,” said Innocent Fungurai, aka PSP, one of Zimbabwe’s most innovative young poets and mastermind of the show.

“The basic idea of the show is to bring out the rebellious spirit of the youth so that they can passionately express their interpretation of the world. What we are trying to build is a passion that does not seek to destroy but to warm the body and give life.”

Although poetry is largely sidelined in Zimbabwe’s arts industry, there is a groundswell of young people who are taking the art form to a whole, new dimension, albeit, on an underground level.

“The few people that do poetry are viewed as an elite, avant garde lot but this is a misconception because the purpose of poetry is to communicate with expressions that go beyond language, poetry expresses the pulse of life. And with “Jungle Griots”, the idea is to encourage a natural form of expression,” said Fungurai.

He added that the purpose of the show is to expose the public to an otherwise primitive form of communication, poetry, in an age where people are exposed and accustomed to electronic means of communication.

The Mannenberg manager Tom Brickhill said “Jungle Griots” would provide a new platform for poetry exposure.

“The idea of bringing a poetry showcase to The Mannenberg was to provide a platform beyond the Open Mic and Poetry Slam events for the poets who have already established something of a reputation as performers in the hope that we might help poetry to grow as an art form in Zimbabwe,” said Brickhill.

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