Wokoma-atani sings splendor of poetry


Today is World Poetry Day, which was declared by Unesco in 1999 with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression.

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

Legendary poet Benedicto Wokoma-atani Malunga Sunday said poetry should be celebrated globally, as it was a cathartic in many respects.


“From time immemorial, poetry has been a repository of culture, rich language, captivating soccer commentary of the Peter Drury type that has captured the world, [created] useful knowledge; and it has yielded amazing music and titillating advertisements,” he said.

The architect of ‘Ndizakutengela Kunyanja Ligineti’ and ‘Siananso Awa’ said, in Malawi, the few genuine poets that are there were making progress with their art.

“The real big challenge is mastering language and deploying it to effective use. The remedy to this in both English and Chichewa is wide reading,” Wokoma-atani said.


He said resuscitation of Poetry Association of Malawi (Pam), currently being headed by Robert Chiwamba, has created a convergence point where seasoned poets are showing the way to budding poets that are willing to learn and have passion for poetry.

“Additionally, some radio stations are engaging competent poetry producers that are airing authentic poetry one can learn from. When all is said, it is important to appreciate that honing poetry skills requires patience and persistence. This being the case, up-and-coming poets should desist from believing that they can become poets overnight,” the veteran poet said.

Furthermore, Wokoma-atani said poets should not write poetry to become famous as some think but rather they should compose it out of love for it and that fame and popularity are just results of it.

“It is also important to strive for originality and not to copy what masters have produced. Good education is also a prerequisite for good writing. It helps you with generation of profound ideas that become a good foundation of powerful works,” he said.

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