editorial: Ever been kidnapped by a poet? 2012.01

zamantungwa | February 19th, 2012 | editorial | No Comments

“ever been kidnapped by a poet” ~Nikki Giovanni, kidnap poem

this is the first edition for 2012, in fact, it’s the last edition of 2011. it just didn’t make it and almost never it.

dealing with various factors in my personal life almost lead me to drop this all together. but that’s a story for another time.

this edition is special to me. this edition is like a revival. as 2012 kicks off, Poetry Potion is six months away from it’s fifth anniversary. so i’ve been thinking a lot about it’s future, indeed about my future in poetry. i guess when you’ve been doing something for a long time, it’s easy to forget why you started and what drove you in the first time. you know, just like we can have an economic recession, we can have a spiritual recession and a creative recession. but i’m glad that i’m finding my way back to purpose and also steering Poetry Potion back to purpose.

this edition is also special because of the poets that featured. i’m glad to be able to publish again these poets: Su, Khomotjo Manthata, Sihle Ntuli, Dina Koumatse and Simphiwe Phukwane. i’m pleased to be publishing for the first time: Mbuzobuciko, Daniel Bogogela, Galapagos and Bandung Poet.

i had the chance to speak with one of our legends, Oswald Mtshali. when someone is a legend, who’s poetry you studied in high school, it’s easy to get intimidated, it doesn’t help that i’m socially awkward anyway. but all my silly fears were blown away by the fatherly generosity and demeanour that bab’ Mtshali has. he reminded me of my uncle who died in 2009, a man of great wisdom who wants to share all he knows and remembers over his seventy something years. men, elders like Oswald Mtshali are easily forgotten because in their old age they no longer go to the open mics and all the sessions. they are easily forgotten even though we wouldn’t be writing poetry, performing poetry and going to open mics if they hadn’t laid down the foundation. it makes me realise that the open mic scene can lead one to have a very narrow view of what poetry is all about. makes me also remember why Poetry Potion is important.

i’m always excited when Poetry Africa comes to Johannesburg but this time i was especially thrilled to see Oswald Mtshali on the bill. for this i’m especially grateful.

i also had the chance to speak to Kwame Dawes about poetry, writer’s blocks and identity. both bab’ Dawes and bab’ Mtshali reminded me about the craft of poetry, their advice on how to handle a writer’s block was pretty much the same. the effect that my conversations had on me, led me to remember what drew me to poetry in the first place. both these poets are generous with their knowledge and experience. in style, neither of them are about the noise, the pomp and production of poetry yet with each word they touch and move us deep in our conscience. with out the production of poetry to focus on you have no choice but to focus on each word, each line, each stanza, each poem.

i hope that you will enjoy reading the poetry in this edition as well as the interviews. as for me, i have the next edition to prepare…

“Poetry is just the evidence of life.  If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
~Leonard Cohen



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