Contributions of Poemify Magazine and Boys Are Not Stones Series To Current Nigerian Poetry
I have cause to believe that without poets, civilization would not exist. Poets do not live in a bubble, even if they conduct their creative work alone. They are not reclusive hermits living in ivory towers; rather, they are the architects of a shared reality. Poets have a crucial part in teaching, whether their poetry is written down or performed through song. As members of society, poets cannot be neutral towards events they observe in their environment.
In this article, I will discuss the contributions of Poemify Magazine and the Boys Are Not Stones Initiative (series) to current Nigerian poetry.
To live in society and at the same time to be free of society is impossible. So, works of writing and art bear a definite social stamp embodying their respective ideals and demands. This is why at Poemify Magazine, we use poetry to address societal issues that affect us, poets, both directly and indirectly.
In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in violence, suicide, terrorism, sexual abuse, and community disputes that have displaced thousands of people killed a thousand more, and ruined many more. In light of this, Poemify Magazine has contributed to the effort to make the world a more just and humane place.
Poemify Magazine was conceived in 2019 as a response to the prevalence of extreme specificity. We at Poemify believe in the ability of the thousands of unknown writers who have received little or no success. We believe that the best writing collects the most rejection letters. With this in mind, we seek only work that has been rejected by multiple other venues; work that is eye-catching and original; work that should not be abandoned.
Our mission is to give young writers a space in the literary world to showcase their creativity, inspire young writers to strive for excellence using their talents and skills, and also to impact lives, initiate positive change in the African continent, and also entertain.
For four consecutive times, we have called for submissions on four themes: “Recoil” in 2019, “Memories” in 2020, “Isolation” in 2021, and “Peace” in 2022; collated, and published poems written by young Nigerian poets who passionately addressed issues that affect them as young Nigerians.
We have featured Nigerian poets like Tukor Ridwan Loban, whose poetry chapbook, “The Forgiveness Series” was recently published by Ghost City Press.
Tydale Bassey Abigail, a regular contributor for Poemify Magazine, went on to win the 2022 series of the Pengician Poetry Chapbook Contest.
Martins Deep, who’s featured in two issues of Poemify Magazine, is currently a multi-award-winning poet whose works have been featured in top lit mags globally.
Sa’id Sa’ad Abubakar, a regular contributor for Poemify Magazine, has been making exploits in the literary sphere. Recently, he organized and hosted Bornu state’s first book and art festival in Maiduguri, Bornu state.
Boys Are Not Stones Initiative
The maiden edition themed “A Country of Broken Boys” which was launched in 2018 echoed the brokenness of boys and men all over the place. This was greeted with much controversy. Many mocked the initiative, but the organisers of BANSI were not deterred. The initiative is dedicated to lending loud voices to the silent groaning of the boy child.
In all honesty, I dropped tears reading the submitted stories. True life stories that wouldn’t have been told, hadn’t we given the male folk a platform to vent and tell, and rant.
“Anatomy Of Boys, Men, and Others”, the third in the BANSI series focused on the plight of the boy child who is under the weight of societal expectation to be strong. Just strong, never permitted to show weakness. This assumed strength of the boy child and men folk becomes their undoing as they become beasts, scums, and flawed gods. If strength has made them so, maybe they should tell the world that they are not stones. That they have been weakened by burdens.
BANSI IV was themed “DEMIGODS” and focused on the plight of the boy child who is under the weight of societal expectation to be strong. Just strong, never permitted to show weakness. This assumed strength of the boy child and men folk becomes their undoing as they become beasts, scums, and flawed gods. If strength has made them so, maybe they should tell the world that they are not stones. That they have been weakened by burdens.
The BANSI series has featured top performing Nigerian writers like Ubong Johnson (Ubee), founding editor of Fiction Niche; Nwuguru Chidiebere Sullivan, an award-winning poet; Praise Osawaru, an award-winning poet; Kalu Amah, a sensational spoken word poet, and solo stage performer; Umar Yogiza Jr., a renowned poet; and Iwu Jeff, a poet, and published playwright.