Friday, December 28, 2012

I know how Richard Branson lost his virginity....(Spoken Word Poetry Video) #WordUpVol2

I don't know how to say this, 
but I know how Richard Branson lost his virginity...............
but I ain't telling you :).
I also know spending time in the "gym" 
might not make you have the physique of a "Jim", 
you know, 
Jim Iyke, Jim Ovia, Jim Nwobodo 
or even, Jimoh Ibrahim :).

For me, the video below was the best spoken word piece at 
Word Up Volume 2. 
The poet was so on point.
But then, 
who can deliver such a masterpiece, 
if not Plumbline, 
the man with witty and tight punchlines.

Spoken Word Poetry by Plumbline at WORD UP Volume 2 November 17, 2012, in Unilag, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Your behind is messing up my mind...(a Spoken Word Poetry Video) #WordUpVol1

Nigeria's premier Spoken Word Poet, 
Sage Hasson,
 was in town during
WORD UP Volume 1 
(the biggest Spoken Word Poetry Event in Nigeria).

He was the last act of the day and made us understand why he is a master of the art.
He oozed so much class and style, 
flowed with ease and skill. 

If you are wondering on why and how I chose the title for this article, well, listen to the very last part of his act
and you won't be able to stop singing, 
"your behind, messing with my mind....!!!!" :) 

How to set up your first poetry event

Whether you’re going away to university in a new town, you want to discover fresh talent or you have a fantastic new idea you feel should be explored further, starting up your own poetry night can be a great way of generating interest in the art of spoken word.

So we’ve drawn up a step-by-step guide to help you to organise your first poetry event.
1. The first thing you should do is crowdsource. Ask friends and those in the industry what they think of your idea. There’s no point going through all the trouble of organising an event if there is no interest in it. You need to build a close network, so that people will attend your event. It’s important to remember that if you’re passionate about your idea, you’ll have much more of a chance of selling it to others.
2. Draw up detailed plan of what the event will involve. Is it solely a poetry night, or will you have other creative acts also? Is it for all ages or just adults? These specifications will help you decide what kind of venue is best for you. A bar would be completely unsuitable, for example, if your target demographic is 14-18 year olds!
3. Approach a venue you think would be open to poetry nights. This could be an exhibition hall, a gallery, a theatre or a bar. Remember, the settings must be appropriate for the performance. Is there a stage or an area the artist could perform from? Is there sufficient space for the audience to see and hear the act? Will they be comfortable?
4. Set up a professional email address so that the venue, fans and performers can contact you directly. You don’t want to miss important information because you thought it was just another Groupon spam mail!
5. Ask relevant poets to perform at your event. At this stage, you probably can’t pay them. Most poets enjoy performing, they’re not in it for the money. So stress that it would be a great platform for them to get their work out there. If you’re having an open-mic segment to the night, make sure you advertise your new email address so artists can sign up to perform.
6. Advertise and promote! Use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word and generate interest. Message blogs (such as this one) to inform them your event is coming up. Post on forums and society groups. Make posters and flyers and staple them around town.
7. Finally, don’t forget to have fun. You’ve worked hard to make this night a success, so stop stressing and enjoy it!
We look forward to being invited to your first poetry event.

by Nadia Khomami

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jesus and Religion, 2 amazing Spoken Word Poetry Videos....!!!

Jesus and Religion....!!!!
2 poets, 
2 poems, 
2 different views, 
2 different messages, 
2 different meaning, 
and I love them both. 
The poems I mean :). 

Jefferson Bethke – Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion
What if I told you voting Republican really wasn't His mission?
What if I told you republican doesn't automatically mean Christian
And just because you call some people blind doesn't automatically give you vision

I mean if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor
Tells single moms God doesn't love them if they've ever had a divorce
But in the Old Testament, God actually calls religious people whores

Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice
Tend to ridicule God's people, they did it to John The Baptist
They can't fix their problems, and so they just mask it
Not realizing religion's like spraying perfume on a casket
See the problem with religion, is it never gets to the core
It's just behavior modification, like a long list of chores

Like let's dress up the outside make it look nice and neat
But it's funny that's what they use to do to mummies while the corpse rots underneath

Now I ain't judging, I'm just saying quit putting on a fake look
Cause there's a problem if people only know you're a Christian by your Facebook
I mean in every other aspect of life, you know that logic's unworthy
It's like saying you play for the Lakers just because you bought a jersey

You see this was me too, but no one seemed to be on to me
Acting like a church kid, while addicted to pornography
See on Sunday I'd go to church, but Saturday getting faded
Acting if I was simply created just to have sex and get wasted
See I spent my whole life building this facade of neatness
But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness

Because if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean
It's not a museum for good people, it's a hospital for the broken
Which means I don't have to hide my failure, I don't have to hide my sin
Because it doesn't depend on me it depends on him
See because when I was God's enemy and certainly not a fan
He looked down and said I want, that, man

Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it he called them fools
Don't you see so much better than just following some rules
Now let me clarify, I love the church, I love the Bible, and yes I believe in sin
But if Jesus came to your church would they actually let him in
See remember he was called a glutton, and a drunkard by religious men
But the son of God never supports self righteousness not now, not then

Now back to the point, one thing is vital to mention
How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrum
See one's the work of God, but one's a man made invention
See one is the cure, but the other's the infection
See because religion says do, Jesus says done
Religion says slave, Jesus says son
Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free
Religion makes you blind, but Jesus makes you see
And that's why religion and Jesus are two different clans

Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God searching for man
Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own
Not based on my merits but Jesus's obedience alone
Because he took the crown of thorns, and the blood dripped down his face
He took what we all deserved, I guess that's why you call it grace
And while being murdered he yelled
"Father forgive them they know not what they do."
Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of you
And he absorbed all of your sin, and buried it in the tomb
Which is why I'm kneeling at the cross, saying come on there's room
So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it
Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe he meant it.

Why I Love Religion, And Love Jesus 

by Fr. Claude (Dusty) Burns Aka Pontifex

What if I told you that Jesus loves religion
And that by his coming as man he brought his religion to fruition
See this had to be addressed, the use of illogical terms and definitions
You clearly have a heart for Jesus but its fueling atheistic opinions
See what makes his religion great is not errors of wars and inquisitions
It's that broken men and women to participate in his mission
Clearly Jesus says I have not come to abolish
I came to fulfill the law and I came to fulfill the prophets 
And lines about building big churches and tending to the poor
Sounds a bit like Judas when the perfume was being poured 
See His religion is the largest worldwide source of relief
For the poor, the hungry, the sick and repentant thief
Oceans of compassion, opening wide the doors
For single mothers, widows and orphans, married and divorced
We all detest hypocrisy, and empty show is just the worst
But blaming religion for contradiction
Is like staring at death, and blaming the hearse.
See the teacher will teach when the students are ready to listen
But those that choose to sit in the pews and refuse the good news
Is not the fault of religion. 
And If I have the Jersey and I'm playing for the Bulls
There's going to be some boundaries, regulations and some rules.
You can't have Christ without his Church; you can't have the King without his Kingdom
Sins of the Body and internal treason will never ever make me leave him
And that Jesus said it is done, is absolutely true
But he also gave us a mission with many things to DO.
Jesus says if you love me, you will Do what I command. 
Go and Baptize in the name of the Father, Son & Spirit in Every Land. 
And on the night he was betrayed he took his men in the Upper Room
Take at eat this is my body take and drink my blood for you.
A New covenant you see, an act connected to the tree,
Do this time and time again in Memory of Me. 
And at last with crown of thorns beaten beyond comprehension
His eyes were looking for yours and mine; it was divine, no human invention.
So as for religion I love it, I have one because Jesus rose from the dead and won.
I believe When Jesus said IT IS FINISHED, His religion had just begun. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Standards in Spoken Word Poetry By Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

What makes effective spoken-word or slam poetry?
One of my favorite activities to do in a workshop or class is just brainstorming around what makes effective spoken-word or slam poetry. We all have different standards, and since spoken-word is so new for so many people, sometimes those standards vary wildly. Obviously, there’s a lot of room for debate, and I think that that debate is a very healthy, necessary thing in our community. Here are the standards that I use, forged in those discussions and hardened by my experiences in the slam scene, in the arts education scene and elsewhere.

1. Context matters. Just because you scored a 30 in a slam doesn't mean that your poem will succeed at a rally, in a high school classroom or even at a different slam. Spoken-word doesn't have to be able to work in a vacuum—it’s okay to write with a specific performance venue in mind. Know your audience. A good poet uses this knowledge to hit as hard as he or she can in a particular scenario.

2. Substance over style. For me, spoken-word is more than pretty art—it’s an opportunity to say something to an audience. Too many poets waste that opportunity. I’m not saying that every poem has to be a grand political manifesto, but the best spoken-word is powerful and ultimately transformative because of what it says, not how it says it. Of course, form brings content to life, and good writing will give a poem’s message longer legs, but at the end of the day, pretty words with no meaningful foundation ring hollow.

3. Challenge the audience. The best art doesn't tell people what they want to hear—it pushes them out of their comfort zones. It doesn't repeat the slogans and platitudes that the audience already believes in; it helps them to see things in a new way. At the same time, remember point #1. A poem that is cliche for one audience might be revelatory for another.

4. Do not manipulate your audience; do not exploit your subject. A poem can be sad, a poem can be angry and a poem can deal with heavy subjects. But if there isn't some kind of deeper point to all of that raw energy, you run the risk of simply toying with people’s emotions in order to get them to cheer for you. So if a poem is going to be about dead babies or domestic violence or genocide or whatever, it damn well better have a message that goes beyond “wow war is sad” or “murder isn't good.” I like calls to action. I like poems that toy with the relationship between personal and political.

5. Being original and memorable is more important than being “good.” What new perspective do you have? From what new angle can you attack a given target? If you’re going to cover well-trod territory, how are you going to make your work stand out? Remember, any idiot can write good poetry. Creative Writing programs around the world churn out would-be masters every semester. Your challenge is not to “write well;” it is to slap your audience in the face with something meaningful, powerful and memorable. Again, good writing can help you do that, but it should never be your only goal.

7. Be specific. A poet is like an archaeologist. You don’t walk for miles with a metal detector, picking up bottle-caps  you find a little three-foot by three-foot space and dig as deep as you can. Less-effective poets often want to write a single poem that addresses everything that’s wrong with the world—“war is bad, racism is bad, poetry is good, we should save the environment,” etc.—and the result is a watered-down laundry list of social ills that doesn't really say anything. Instead, turn abstract concepts into concrete images. Don’t write about “war,” write about a specific person in a specific war dealing with a specific problem. Don’t write about “love,” tell a detailed story about a specific moment in your life when you felt loved.

8. Study the art of poetry. I know a lot of these points have forced “good writing” into the background, but it’s important to note that while I believe you can write a brilliant slam poem that isn't a brilliant capital-P Poem, good writing is generally a very important tool for bringing a message to life and making a spoken-word piece more palatable and interesting. So don’t just get up on stage and rant and rave. Understand dynamics, structure, metaphor, imagery, assonance & consonance, rhythm, concrete vs. abstract language and all of the little things that go into making what is traditionally considered good poetry. Even if you want to break rules, you should be able to do so intentionally.

9. Perform to the audience, not at the audience. This is a subtle point, but one that’s been very important for my growth as an artist. A good spoken-word poet doesn't beat the audience over their heads with words and ideas; instead, he or she attempts to create a real connection between speaker and listener. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how this is done, but good poets use everything—not just words and voice; it’s in the approach to the mic, the posture, body language, eye contact, use of negative space and more. It’s about manipulating the energy that exists in a room to draw the listener into the piece.

10. Poetry—especially spoken-word—is about communication. At the end of the day, you’re not up on stage to celebrate how brilliant you are; you’re up there to open up lanes of communication, to say something that might get someone else to think or feel something, to build community—artistically, intellectually and physically. We are all extremely privileged to be a part of this movement, and as artists, we are regularly given platforms that most people don’t have access to. Make it count. Be extraordinary. Do not ever settle for a first draft. Be tireless in your pursuit of the truth that can only be spoken through poetry.

11. Be clear. After hearing your poem once, virtually every audience member should be able to walk away and describe or explain your poem in one simple sentence. Your poem can be complex and layered and detailed (and should be), but it should leave one dominant taste in your audience’s mouths.

By Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

LETTERS TO MY LOVE....!!! by Olulu

Hi love, how are you settling down in camp? Hope you guys are cool. I did not realise this until I got back home after I dropped you off at the military base. I would have loved to tell you face to face, but I’m not sure when next you will be coming home my love, and I’m too excited to keep this to myself. Don’t scream when you read this my love, so read it carefully, I shall write it only once (lol), “I am having our baby!!!”

Just got home after a stressful day, wish you were here to help me rub my feet. Though, I can still see them as I’m just 3 months gone so my belly is not really protruding. I went for a scan today, and guess what? Well, the doctor did say it might be too early to tell, but what the heck, I’m having your son my love. The scan showed our baby is a boy, so now I will have two men in my life. Love you, miss you like crazy.

I hope you are alright my love. I just got off the phone with Fred. He told me that you are a very brave man and he owes you his life. He said you were the leader of the commando unit that rescued him from being a prisoner of war. I know you don’t like writing but please reply this letter because Fred said you went back to get one of your injured unit member as their helicopter came under severe enemy gun fire. Please reply my love, I love you.

The baby kicked today my love, I felt it. The kick was hard and strong; wish you were here to feel it. I’m sure he will grow up as strong as you my love. Passed by some baby shops on my way back from antenatal classes, I bought some babies clothes, nappies, toys and games. But I could not decide on the colour of crib to buy, as I know blue is your favourite colour but I love the pink crib. Well, I will wait for you to come back so we can decide on the colour of crib to buy. When are you coming back my love? Do hurry back dear; I heard making love during pregnancy is exciting, I can’t wait to try it out with you my love, I miss you so so much.

It’s been 4 months since I last heard from you my love, four months since Fred told me about the rescue operation. Nobody is telling me anything anymore, neither have u replied my letters. I saw your commanding officer in church last Sunday, but he pretended not to see me and hurried away as I walked towards him. I tried to run after him, but my belly is now so big I can barely walk. I can’t even see my feet anymore. Wish you were here to rub my feet and back for me. I miss you; please reply when you get this, I love you.

I wore your shirt and cried myself to sleep last night. The apartment, the room, the bed seems so lonely and empty without you. Been playing our wedding videos and looking at the wedding pictures all morning. I miss your touch, your hug, your warmth, your smile, I miss you my love. I can’t drive the car again as my belly is so big, it keeps rubbing against the steering wheel. So I always have to walk down to the bus stop to take a bus to and fro the hospital for my antenatal. My legs are usually swollen when I get back home. Come home my love, me and our baby need you badly, and I do miss you like crazy.

I’m in the hospital waiting to be operated upon. I’m so scared, because I’m one month ahead of my EDD. But the doctor does not want to risk me losing the baby as I fell on my belly when I fainted. Your commanding officer finally told me you never made it back to camp after Fred’s rescue mission, though the pilot of the helicopter was found 3 days ago barely alive in one of the villages. But he is in critical condition and could not really explain what happened to you and the other 3 members of your unit, he just kept saying, “we crashed, pursued for miles by enemy, jump into waterfall, everybody disappeared.” I believe you are still alive and I know you will soon come home to meet me and your son. I know you might not have been getting my letters but I’ve a copy of each one of them and I will read them to you when you come home my love. Please stay alive for me and for your son, I miss you, I love you. Please come back to me.

by Olulu, the King not from Zulu

The British Red Cross launched a creative writing competition to commemorate people across the world who are missing due to situations of violence and armed conflict.

Each year, International Day of the Disappeared (30 August) presents a stark reminder that thousands of families across the world are still unaware of the fate of missing family members.

The International Day of the Disappeared (30 August) commemorates people who have gone missing throughout the world in situations of violence and armed conflict. It’s a reminder that hundreds of thousands of families are unaware of the fate of their loved ones.

The Red Cross works every day to restore family contact between separated family members. And you can help give a voice to the thousands of missing people throughout the world.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

WORD UP (the biggest Spoken Word Poetry Event in Nigeria) #WordUpVol2

Did you miss WORD UP Volume 2, 
the biggest Spoken Word Poetry in Nigeria?

Well, you are in luck. 

The DVD is out.

Watch Spoken Word Poetry in Nigeria 
like you have never ever seen before.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Eagle's Eye" (A Spoken Word Poetry Video)

Spoken Word Poetry by Yommy Bishop, 

"Eagle's Eye" 
Chill and Relax (October Fever) 
October 14, 2012 
Gbagada, Lagos, Nigeria. 

Chill and Relax is a monthly open mic Performance Poetry, Spoken Word and Soul Music Event.

Puff, puff, pass (Spoken Word Poem by Ndukwe Onuoha)

Puff, puff, pass

Puff, puff, pass
Pain don’t last
‘Long as we got this grass
Puff, puff, pass
That’s all I hear
Yo; who’s that shawty
Over there?

My people excel on self-delusion
Puffing on this government-sanctioned infusion
Of misery and pain
Systematic degradation
Political polygamy laced with state oppression.
But that’s alright my friend,
Tonight we puff, puff, pass
Puff, puff, pass
Pain don’t last
‘Long as we got this grass.
Long as we got these lies
While still they ‘off’ our lives
Pain don’t last
‘Long as we got this grass.

My mom swears I was born into a good economy,
My dad says “screw it; the government’s a euphemism for sodomy”
My brother’s too busy working for the white man to pick up his phone
My sister goes “where?” when I ask if she’s coming back home
My cousin’s got a Shengen visa – says he’s going to husle
And back home Alex O’s lost the means to shuffle
‘E go beta’ – this too shall pass
‘Cos pain don’t last
‘Long as we got this grass

Jos is burning – your life’s not worth a penny, so lose it
Kidnapping is brown gold – there’s the fixed deposit account to prove it
The new ‘Joseph’ of our time is an ex-convict come from two years behind bars
But see, pain don’t last, ‘long as we got this grass.
‘Cos we will puff
We will pass
We will passWe will puff
‘Cos pain don’t last, ‘long as we got this grass.

So what if they keep kids off school, and on the streets ‘cos that’s cool?
So what if in the process they all turn to drugs?
Wouldn’t that be the perfect army for politicians in need of warlords?
Look, pain don’t last, ‘long as we got this grass!

So what if our mothers are kept in perpetual poverty?
Let’s keep making more laws that derail our own humanity,
While we allow our lawmakers corner the wealth of our nation
‘Cos pain don’t last, ‘long as we got this grass!

It doesn’t matter if our roads are another name for death traps;
And as long as no one says something, then perhaps
We can all get bye till the sweet bye and bye
‘Cos pain don’t last, ‘long as we got this grass!

So what if every mayhem is termed religious?
We might as well kill each other, for that might make us righteous,
‘Cos we know it’s election season, and the President won’t make a fuss.
Hey, pain don’t last, ‘long as we got this grass!

Anyone can aspire – as long as he has a godfather,
‘Cos they’re having a hard time making the votes of you and I matter,
And they’ll get top honours, even if they don’t pass class.
But pain don’t last, ‘long as we got this grass!
What if we were to have a moment of rare clarity
And our eyes were opened to the grave calamity
Of our leaders’ unabashed vanity
A fostering collective insanity
A nation’s wasted opportunity
Seized by policies of clear-cut ambiguity?
Will we puff, puff, pass
Or will we pass to puff?
Will we ask for more,
Or will we say “enough”?
Will we stand for truth,
Or will we waste our youth?
Will we puff, puff, pass,
Or will we pass to puff?

by Ndukwe Onuoha

Thursday, December 13, 2012

MYTH OF MY CHILDHOOD (A Spoken Word Piece by Yommy Bishop)

There is a myth that was told since I was born

The myth that gladdens my heart when I was young
The myth of where I came from, and where I belong
The myth of our fathers
Of who takes over when they are gone
The fallacy that left us shattered
The truth that doesn't matter
The colors they painted with their palette
The path they treated as a scarlet.

When I was young father once told me to be strong
That one day to the top I belong
My teacher mantra me ‘leader of tomorrow’
Perhaps they said these to wipe away my sorrow.
But seems tomorrow never come
Or maybe I’m just forever young.
Though I can haul and urge them no more
No more can I endure to bear their brunt
Its dawn but the cocks still don’t crow
Ticking of time but our infants still don’t grow
Days roll into months, months into years
Our drumming rain turns lazy dew in the ears
While our waving sun changes to sleeping moon.
Our well is running dry, metamorphosed into a stony pit
Surrounded by dancing leafs
From the leafy branches of a sheltering tree
In the still of the night, our fathers stole away our right.
Rotating and revolving in selfish pride
They raped her and left the groom with no bride.
The rulers I know are still ruling
While tomorrows leader are trapped in their childhood myth looking.

The myth of my childhood
The myth that rips me off my manhood.
The Ecstasy that bind us
The love that blind us
Lying on my mother's chest
Sucking on my father's breast.
My lips on his hard on nipples
Excitement spread in like ripples.
Federal character a wailing abracadabra
A predicament sweet as venom, 
the treasure stolen in billion
We seek freedom from the rulers of this kingdom
They using us to rise to stardom, while our lives abandoned.
Sing it in their ears that again she’s in her period of Ovulation
Sing it all through the nation, 
on TV and every radio station
As we the youth are set on edge, for an un-ending Revolution.

Yommy Bishop