poet profile: Perpetual Eziefule-Emenkwum, Nigerian poet & performer

Poetry Potion | July 22nd, 2007 | poet profile | No Comments

Perpetual Eziefule-Emenkwum is a humble, quiet extrovert, who loves to exchange ideas and receiving constructive criticism.  Her love for people provides her with immense inspiration.  She finds inspiration in all people and everything.

I believe that a poet has an inner eye, a third eye, [that helps them] you see beyond the ordinariness of a person…’

Perpetual’s interest in literature began when she was eight years old.  Her primary school had teachers from different parts of the world and a Ghanaian teacher taught her how to use the rhyme scheme.  It started with adapting to the Twinkle Little Star rhyme scheme.  That’s when she started to love the sound of her voice and using words to pass meaning.  Her teachers’ realised early that she has a talent for language and nurtured her talent by allowing her to read allowed in class.  Only later in life did these lessons translate to something ‘more constructive’ and powerful.

Poetry is dynamic and can’t be shackled.  It’s our responsibility to promote the dynamism of poetry and entrench it’s relevance in our everyday life.

Perpetual uses her poetry to heal.  She writes poetry that has far reaching consequences, poetry that people can take home and reflect on, poetry that touches the lives of the audience.  With her voice, poem, voice, music and movement she leaves a strong, positive impact on the audience.

I just want my poems to solve problems.’

On stage Perpetual stands out from all the other poets.  Her elaborate costume, music and movement make her different from many poets.  She takes her stage act very seriously.

 ‘You have to distinguish yourself so that when somebody sees you [on stage] or [reads] your name they’ll know it’s you.  Or they hear your voice they know it’s you.’

Never one to read from paper on stage, Perpetual memorises her poetry and takes time to form her stage act.  From early on, she found that she had more room to use her body and pass the message through body language.  The folk songs embellish and add a different dimension to her performance.  Her costumes are flamboyant and glamorous, they work to draw attention to her and add more weight to her stage presence.

A voracious reader of all literature, she believes that her love for literature is what has made her a stronger poet.  Educated, reading poets are better off than the ones that are not, ‘do not try to separate your academics from your poetry; it goes hand in hand’.  She believes that even if you are educated in English you can write in your language or bring in your language by way of folk songs.

Perpetual is focused on performance and only has a few published poems.  As in South Afrika, Nigerian publishers are not keen to publish poetry, but Perpetual refuses to be held down by these obstacles.  She believes it is the responsibility of the poet to ensure that despite being unpublished the poetry gets out there to reach people.  She says that poets must get on the stage because it can still be hear even if you are not published.  And Perpetual gets onto the stage she is heard – and you continue to her hear her even when you get home…

Poetry must transcend the written word.’

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