It is poets’ day

As Unima hosts performances

PHINDU—I do not think poetry has been
given the space it deserves

Today, the world celebrates one of the artistic genres, poetry, and, as expected, venues will be abuzz with activity.

Leading the list is the University of Malawi (Unima), which has organised poetry slam, poetry performances and a panel discussion at the Little Theatre in Zomba tonight.

Unima Associate Professor Wesley Macheso said Monday that poetry is one of the promising genres in the country, more so because there are a number of good poets coming up.


“The variety and experimentation we see in our poets is something of interest.

“In fact, poetry may be the only literary genre where we still have vernacular languages dominating— and that is worth noting,” he said.

He expressed hope that, at the event, new voices will be unveiled.


Poet Phindu Zaie was equally ecstatic.

She lauded poetry for its artistic and healing elements.

“Emotions, no matter how conflicting, can be channelled through the vessel of poetry, which I regard as a vessel for healing.

“In fact, there is so much emotion that can be channelled through this art form to send messages. I can testify to that power, as well as its ability to influence change by appealing to the softness of humans, [enabling them to tell] stories in ways that allow people to look at issues differently,” she said.

Phindu, however, bemoaned poetry’s status in Malawi.

“I don’t think poetry has been given the space it deserves, in terms of infrastructure and platforms poets can depend on and return to,” she said.

Poetry Association of Malawi (Pam) President Robert Chiwamba said they organised a poetry performance and commemoration event, which was initially set for March 26.

“However, we have postponed it to April month-end due to Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

“We will also launch our amended constitution and poetry media plan at the event. Nevertheless, Pam Northern Region chapter has organised a performance on March 25 2023 to be held at Umunthu Space and Lodge in Mzuzu,” the Pam leader said.

The free-entry event, themed ‘Reflecting the Times: Paying Gratitude and Mind over Matter Open Mic on Mental Health’, will feature performers such as Conscious, Alick Harawa, Brimo and Morton.

Chiwamba said, aside from music, poetry is the most influential genre of art in the country, with almost all the media houses having poetry programmes on television and radio.

The day was declared by Unesco in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.

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