Seasoned performing poet, teacher and journalist, Akeem Lasisi, has enjoined up-and-coming poets to read, cultivate the habit of reading other people’s works, works from other traditions across other continents to have an understanding of what they have written.
Lasisi made this known during the maiden edition of Pen Nigeria Creative Writing Workshop via Zoom recently.
He noted, as a writer, even when an individual decided to disagree with what another writer had written, first of all, you had to react to the poet’s work to have an understanding of what the poet wrote.
“I always unleash the works of performance poets by reading or listening to their performance (Yoruba poetry), which makes one to read and research other people’s work, which is inevitable.
“The late Chinua Achebe was able to master the use of language, and that was why he had a good mastery of the language. If you are not good at English language, then you can write in Pidgin Language. Poetic license is real, and it should not be abused.”
Also, Dr. Niran Okewole, a medical doctor, added that poetry did not just happen, but there had to be a commitment to craft. “You must put in the time and hours to be conversant with rules,” he said.
Okewole said further that, “being a poet is a vocation, and not a hustle, because the best poets are not really hustlers, but they approach poetry as a life calling.”
He opined that poets should strictly follow grammatical rules, “because it is a language and there should be a mastery of that language.”
Besides, “It cannot be good literature if the rules of grammar are not mastered. When we were growing, we were made to read literature because we needed to have a mastery of the language.”0
In his address of welcome, Folu Agoi, President, PEN Nigeria, said the webinar event was launched because of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The conference aims to defend the linguistic rights of individuals and serve as a platform for mentoring aspiring writers,” he said. The conference was moderated by PEN’s General Secretary, Daggar Tola.