This is perhaps the most exciting news I have received today. Nigerian born and American based poet Bassey Ikpi will be in Nairobi for the September edition of Kwani Open Mic.
I got introduced to Bassey Ikpi and her work through the Def Poetry videos that I watched religiously as I was transition from a writer poet to a performance poet. Def Poetry is credited for make spoken word popular and turning poets to celebrities. It also ‘removed’ poetry from the lecture rooms to the coffee and Jazz clubs starting in New York and spreading the phenomenon to other countries globally including Kenya.
One of my personal favourites from the many poets who graced the Def Poetry stage was Bassey whose delivery and the subject of her poetry resonated very much with my work. Her themes dwelled alot on identity. Being a Nigerian who moved to the US at the age of 4 and the assimilation that was taking over her struggle to hold on to her ancestry, this dilema can very be seen in her performance, Homeward.
Bassey will be the featured poet at the monthly event that will take place on 1st September at the Phoenix Players theater.
Bassey is also scheduled to hold a Spoken Word workshop and a special edition of Basseyworld Live: Nairobi (hosted at PAWA254 in partnership with WGLive) as well as visit a local school with Kwani Trust’s Soma Initiative.
Kwani open mic is the longest running poetry event in Kenya having started around 2005 and has consistently brought together poets with poetry lovers for a night of Poetry 1st Tuesday of every month since.
I hope to see you there.