I’ve been a storyteller most of my life. I told stories in the dust with stones and houses drawn on the ground. I told stories when we played house – while insisting on playing the father, I always ‘directed’ which way the story went.
Poetry came to me in high school. English class was fun with Mr Rissi, but the poetry of Shakespeare and all those dead poets of the Romantics era and the Victorian ear never quite hit the spot. It was a sandwich encounter with a homeless person on my way to school one day, that a poem burst out of me.
… He lies on a bed of cardboard and some
Plastic with only one dirty, holly blanket
To cover him; that don’t bring any
Warmth or comfort to him
He sleeps though; he’s used to this….
It was from then on that the poetry Muse lived in me. Helping me express the things that I could never express with a twist of a word. A crush on a boy, a frustrating piece of gossip, a crush on a boy, an attempt at understanding my identity, a head over heels crush on a boy… And so it went.
Poetry is almost like the black sheep of the literary family. Poetry is too difficult to understand, it’s too into itself and what’s worse, you can’t make a living writing and selling poetry books… They like telling us not to do it – there’s no money in poetry but then again…
“… there’s no poetry in money, either.” ~ Robert Graves
Poetry Potion started out as a platform inspired by the Staffrider era and also by publications like Timbila Poetry Journal. Poetry Potion has always been about giving poets something more than just a space to have their worked published. But it was also about letting the world know that Poetry doesn’t only come from a dead poet. That poetry came in many shapes and forms and that the youth of this age, also have something pertinent to say. While we were inspired by the Madingoanes, Serotes, Mtshali’s, Tlalis, Thembas, Mphahlele’s even Mbulis of the era, usually called, though not strictly, “protest poetry”, we too had our own stories to tell and our own opinions to express.
Most importantly, Poetry Potion though drawing from and inspired by the South African literary landscape, this was an international platform. This still is an international platform. And I have since published poets from as far as Canada and Ireland, Nigeria and Somalia, and all over South Africa. Poetry Potion is read by the world – from South Africa to Morocco, from the UK to France, from the US to the Phillipines.
So, now that the first five years has gone by, and it almost ambushed me, I have to think about what the future looks like.
If I could tear myself away from poetry then I think, I could probably grow wings too… Poetry Potion is not a moneymaking scheme it is about, for and by the poets and their poems. It’s about creating a free space for poets known and unknown to be themselves – to entertain, inspire and amaze with their word antics. It’s for poetry lovers to indulge and never have to be sated because there will always be more and it’s all good for you.
It’s a potion, an elixir, a mix, a tonic, a brew … a magical mind altering journey into the self. Here, there are no gods, prophets or celebs (even though we dabble with it all) but souls open to what all the universe has to offer us.
In this edition, the fifth year anniversary celebration, I spoke to two poets at different places in their careers – the more established and inspirational Napo Masheane and the young, focussed and hilarious Andrew Manyika. We also feature over thirty poems – new and the best of the past five years of Poetry Potion.
We also feature two Q&As with up and coming poets from Kuruman interviewed by our new contributor, Nthabiseng Kgoronyane. And we gain some insight into what inspired ProVerb to write his latest single “Writer’s Club.”
I look forward to the future, more changes and improvements will be announced on the coming weeks on the website. I hope you enjoy this edition.
editor, publisher, founder of Poetry Potion
Featured poems: Poetry Potion is Five by Victor Akarachi Nwogu & Survive on Poetry Potion! by Morula Wa Kutukgolo | poet profile: Napo Masheane | poetry: Seeds and growth by Sihle Ntuli, Growing Bones by Saaleha Idrees Bamjee, Growing perfection by Indigolunarh, Congo and Cameroons by Tommy Dennis, To my Pain by Gnosis, Plant Seeds and Watch them grow by Victor Akarachi Nwogu, Ndopembera newe by Tinashe Muchuri, When we are One by Kabelo Mashishi, The Delivery Man by Kabelo Mashishi, A Story of the Mind by Ashraf Booley, Commedia dell’Arte by Charl Landsberg, When its time to let go and grow… by Rose, Progression by Desiree, Men are Like Dresses by Andiswa Onke Maqutu, You and I by Mohamed Sheikh Abdiaziz | q&a: Andrew Manyika
the best of Poetry Potion: afrika without borders by Nyakale Mokgosi, Give ME Love (Cry of a Common Man) by Righteous the Common Man, Tshegofatso by Tshegofatso Monaisa, One Night Stand by Chisanga Kabinga, We are Kings and Queens by Maikutlo, Stardust by Nyakale Mokgosi, I heard fame and fashion calling your name by Neo Molefe (shameeyaa), Letter to those in the democratic republic by Dafa, On Xenophobia by Mandy Mitchel, Celebration by Fathima Dawood, Kiss Me Honestly by Liya Bona, Heritage by Khomotjo Manthata, Lest we forget by Vuyokazi Yonke, Free by Mapitsane Maila, Let Us Deliver & Change The World! by Ntanjana Sisipho, In times of distress by Keletso Thobega, In Response to the Blood by Elizabeth Wurz, Hymns of Tatane by Reitumetse, Nanúa by Yolanda Arroyo-Pizarro, A Ditty Dance for Dalai Lama by Mbuyiseni Oswald Mtshali, Always a Suspect by Mbuyiseni Oswald Mtshali, Why shed blood for bread? by Morula Wa Kutukgolo | Manifesto by zamantungwa