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Pam bemoans funding ahead of World Poetry Day

Robert Chiwamba

Poetry Association of Malawi (Pam) President Robert Chiwamba has said poetry has made great strides.

Chiwamba, of the ‘Uzafa Imfa Yowawa’ fame said this yesterday ahead of World Poetry Day this coming Monday.

“We, as poets, should not be contented with what we have achieved so far; there is still a long way to go. We still need to improve in some areas and strive for quality; otherwise there is progress from where we are coming from,” Chiwamba, who is currently in Europe for studies, said.

He said the growth of poetry can also been seen through the programmes in radios and television station in the country.

“Media houses created these poetry programmes in because people love poetry. Poetry is one of the artistic disciplines widely followed. Poets have used poems to express themselves and tackle important issues affecting society,” Chiwamba said.

He said, in order to improve their craft; they are looking at holding workshops.

“The biggest challenge we have at the moment is funding. If we had adequate funding, we would have managed to hold workshops in all our chapters. We are still pushing. We are thankful to companies that have come forward to support us,” Chiwamba said.

The Pam leader also said poetry was now being given a platform in festivals and other events.

“Last year we saw the cowming of Deft Poetry Festival and then we have seen some event organisers accommodating us and all this shows growth. In this digital age, we have not been left out; we have downloading sites with poems that people are enjoying,” Chiwamba said.

Chiwamba also commended poets who have created platforms that are there to promote poetry and unearth talent citing Vilipanganga Poetry Movement which holds poetry sessions at Kwa Haraba Art Gallery in Blantyre.

He said they were still engaging with Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) to make sure that poets benefit from their sweat by receiving royalties.

Some quarters have come out to hit at some poets for taking comedy as poetry.

Veteran poet Benedicto Wokoma-atani Malunga creator of ‘Ndizakutengera Kunyanja Ligineti’ and Siananso Awa’, has said now and again that poets need to take their time in crafting their work.

“Poetry has rules, it has the dos and don’ts and we need to follow them when creating our poems. We have poets who have done well but we have some whose work leaves a lot to be desired,” Wokoma-atani, who is retiring from University of Malawi having worked for 32 years, said.

World Poetry Day is celebrated on March 21 and 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.

The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.

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