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Anindita Sengupta’s Thoughts on Poetry Africa 2009

Anindita SenguptaAnindita Sengupta was a participant in the recently-concluded Poetry Africa 2009. She shares her thoughts on the event:

I’ve been thinking about the intense, complex energies of South Africa which were spectacularly on display at the festival. What I found most fascinating about Poetry Africa was the diversity of the types of poetry, which ranged from rap / slam to poetry with music and quieter ‘page’ poetry. It was interesting because the old argument of ‘what is poetry’ starts kicking about in lively fashion in a place where a bunch of poems look totally unlike each other. At one poet’s forum (called an ‘indaba‘), it got a bit heated as seventeen different poets debated definition, purpose and aesthetics with the full knowledge that these debates can never reach any definite conclusion but are important to have in any case. Something new to me — apparently there are some South African poets using their poetry in advertisements and there were some charged debates about the ethics of commercialising poetry with some poets denouncing it and others justifying it with the argument that ‘if we can make money from poetry, why not?’ One rather surprising viewpoint was: ‘We are all selling something anyway — our opinions, our values etc — so why not shares or soap?’ Well, I’d rather be ’selling’ my own opinions than somebody else’s soap. But to each his own? Of course, I’m also curious to know what the quality of soap-selling poetry would be.

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 10th, 2009 @13:02 #
     
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    Hey, check this out! It's a fascinating vista of an SA literary event seen through another's eyes. Plus four local poets get singled out for special mention, including our very own Liesl and Loftus.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 10th, 2009 @13:31 #
     
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    Good bump, Helen.

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