// An update on what's been happening online with regards to Poetry //
Wattup fam. I hope you're all good and keeping warm. The rains have (kind-of) arrived with the cold winds and yeah, we're still under lock down. Ever since the lock down started, a lot of creatives have been worried about their source of income for the next couple of weeks/ months: Gigs were cancelled left, right and center, but I'm glad some organisations and creatives decided to step in and take the initiative of coming up with solutions that will hopefully resolve the problems we find ourselves in. One of the organisations I'd like to talk about is Hear My Voice. They started a Poetry Relief Fund, and have been raising funds to assist poets throughout these challenging times. The Hear My Voice Poetry Relief Fund is in partnership with www.poetrypotion.com, The Market Theatre and The Windybrow Arts Centre, Poetry Africa and various other individuals who have donated to the fund. It's amazing to see how the fund keeps growing each week with new stakeholders coming on board, and how this is directly benefiting the poets that they have programmed into their dope online events.
You scan also contribute to this great cause - I know things are pretty hectic for most of us financially - bust whatever you can donate will definitely go a long way. I jut donated as well, and I really wish I could've donated more but eish, the hustle is real with these pay cuts lol. Anyway, Hear My Voice hosted their 4th episode of their "Live-stream series" yesterday, and it would be an injustice for me to not share the show with you (hopefully it will also give you a slight nudge to donate a bit more money as well). I was tuned in to an online discussion on "how this pandemic and lock-down has influenced the book publishing industry in SA" hosted by the South African Book Fair, but right after it ended, I had to catch up with what went down on the poetry show. It was hectic, but I'll let the video I've included below do the talking.
If you missed any of the previous episodes, then please check out Hear My Voice's Facebook page so that you get up to speed before the next show. The next one is tomorrow, same time, same place (you can stream the show from any of the partners social Facebook pages). Make sure you click on the image below to find our more on how you can support the Poetry Relief Fund / donate here. Big ups to Hear My voice and the whole team for doing an excellent job so far. I'll definitely brag about these times to my future grand-kids on some "Back in my day, nothing could stop the culture of poetry, not even a PANDEMIC!".
Let's now talk about Word n Sound's first ever Digital slam (which was held on the 25th of April). A big congrats to them for not just pulling it off, but doing a damn good job. If you missed it, then you gotta watch it, by clicking on the image below (its got the list of poets who competed in the slam). I was really impressed. I would also like to say congrats the the top 5 participants, and obviously the winner "Xabiso Vili", author of "Laughing in my father's voice". I guess it's safe to say that he's officially back on the slam scene, so it's going to be an interesting year (with hopes that we will still be able to have as many slams around the country (online/ offline) throughout the year. The results of the slam where announced on the 26th of April, and where as follows (from 1st to 5th): Xabiso Vili, Greengo Lee, Khayalethu Mguzulo, Hlox da Rebel then Clear. You can watch the slam here, or click on the picture below.
Word n Sound were not the only ones to host an online slam so far during this whole pandemic. Page Poetry Alive from Zimbabwe also hosted their slam online in partnership with Moto Republik earlier on in the month, so I would also like to congratulate them on hosting a successful slam. 1st place was "Shaldo", followed by "The Unspoken" and 3rd was "Hey Hey Preacher" . If you missed the slam, then you can check out the performances via the Page Poetry Alive / Moto Republik Facebook page. You really don't want to miss out on the amazing poetry that was shared.
We're going to head back to Hear My Voice's Poetry Relief Fund for a sec, and talk about another event to look out for, in collaboration with Poetry Zone ZA. This is "Home is where the mic is - Live poetry read" session 2, and it will be on the 1st of May from 7.00pm to 8.30pm. You can watch the session via the respective pages of the organisations involved. Some of the poets on the line up include Thando Fuze, Richard Quaz Roodt, Lex Lafoy and Afurakan, just to name a few. Fresh impressions has also jumped onto the scene and had their first online event on the 25th of April . They'll be having another event on the 2nd of May and the line up on the poster (second image below) speaks for itself. It's really great to see everyone coming up with different ways to keep the culture of sharing and receiving poetry active during these challenging times. You can catch the show via the Fresh Impression Facebook page. If you've already watched some of these online shows, you would've noticed that you can also donate to the poets/ and organisations hosting the show, so don't be afraid to do the right thing when you start your watch parties during these shows.
As you can see, a lot of poets and poetry organisations have been really active during this past month, hosting live sessions on Zoom, Instagram and Facebook, so there definitely hasn't been a shortage of online poetry content over the past few weeks. (Shout out to Impepho Press, Destro, Amory, Busisiwe Mahlangu and the list goes on and on and on - if you've been pushing poetry as well, shout out to you too - for keeping the fire burning by sharing poetry on your platforms). It's really inspiring to see that poetry is still alive and kicking, and why not. If we have access to the platforms and tools, we might as well make use of them. I know you're probably wondering why the Radioactive blog has not hosted anything online yet (apart from the Free State Digital Creative fest). Well, we are still working on something that's in the pipelines fam - while also planning our next Giving Poetry Wings (GPW) edition. The 3rd edition of GPW is going to be lit, so if you're poet reading this, you might want to subscribe to our blog and keep a tab on our social media pages. In the meantime, I'ma try watch as many online shows as possible while trying to keep up with my never ending To-Do-Lists. I'm actually glad that I'm not the only that has been drowning in work ever since the lock-down started (and this laptop of mine hasn't helped my efforts in trying to be as productive as possible).
Anyway, I just want to commend everyone for the work they've done so far, and I can only hope that the work continues to grow and be sustainable. If you know of any poetry events taking place in May, or you're hosting a live session on your platforms, please don't hesitate to tag us on Facebook at The Radioactive Blog (or @2tukani on Instagram or Twitter), and we'll share it with the rest of the fam (and if you tag us beforehand, we might start a watch party on our page as well). We're all about supporting the culture in whatever capacity we can.
I'm gonna end the article by sharing a great opportunity for South African writers organized by Law For All. The deadline for submissions is the 20th of May, so make sure you start writing ASAP. With all this being said, stay blessed fam, and I hope to see you in the comment sections of some of these online poetry shows. Peace out fam! @2tukani