Spoken Waves (Issue 3)
Ifeanyi Bernard “Prestige” is a spoken word artist and a teacher who has participated in many poetry slams. He was the winner of the first BB Slam and the first runner up in Eriata Oribhabor Spoken call Contest. Bernard, who studied chemical engineering in Anambra State University, is the founder of “Express It”, an art group in Lagos and “Teach The Truth Campaign”, a movement that promotes poetry in schools and communities and also inculcates moral values and civic consciousness in young minds.
Why Spoken Word?
In 2003, I started writing quotes which I created from what I had earlier experienced in life. Afterwards, I started writing song lyrics and rap but then I never knew I was going to finally embrace poetry fully.
One day I took interest in reading the Holy Bible exhaustively. When I began, I got inspired and started writing creative stuffs like psalms and short poems. That was when I started writing poems and ever since then, I’ve been writing.
Meanwhile, when I was twelve, I was involved in the reading art and have taken series of training in the art which have helped me to develop skills in the use of my voice, so it wasn’t difficult for me to switch and use this talent to deliver my poems. This was when I practically fell in love with spoken word.
What do you intend to achieve with spoken word?
Spoken word is a tool I would use to send my message across to the world; the message of truth, love and life.
Edwina Amakievi Aleme goes by the performance name Neofloetry, meaning ‘A gifted New flow in Poetry’. She is a spoken word poet, a House of Tara trained professional makeup artist, multi-talented arts lover and a UNIPORT Graduate of Theatre Arts (Playwriting Major). She is also a Co-founder of the fast growing Poetry Movement called Figures Of Speech (FOS)
Why Spoken Word?
I remember taking a full dive into poetry some years ago. Going on-air every Tuesday mornings (Rhythm 93.7fm PH), I noticed that the way I read out my poems in a poetry club I belong to, back here in Port Harcourt, was quite different. I thought I didn’t fit in, even though my colleagues liked my style. I sounded really different from the rest; more like someone talking with some form of undertone musicality in their voice; as though I was rapping (Hip Hop influenced). But in April of 2009, when I attended ‘Chill and Relax’ in Lagos; organized by Plumbline, I immediately knew this was my line of poetry (fish in water experience). I stuck to it, and then started developing myself and craft by listening to and reading other poets works. I like page poetry, but Spoken word gives me that chance to express myself fully as a performer, while on stage with one Mic, and hungry eyes, ears and hearts waiting to take something home. Spokenword is my safe haven if I must say.
What do you intend to achieve with Spoken word?
It is said that “the youths are the leaders of tomorrow”, but if these youths are not well informed, they may never see that coming to pass. I intend to reach out to the teenager/youths of my immediate environment/schools with the advantages of being a poet and how they can stand out in the society with words that can heal or proffer solution to an anomaly in their immediate society. I have had one-on-one talks with some of these youths, and one thing they kept saying was “We don’t know where and how to express ourselves”. Who knows if these ones will one day become the likes of Maya Angelou of their time; performing reflective spoken word poems in Presidential inaugural ceremonies in Nigeria or Abroad. Providing or connecting them to such platforms is my aim, at least from this level until their voices are heard. I hope to achieve this whole task with greater proficiency in what I do with poetry in the lives of these young men and women through talks, readings/open mic session/competitions/church performances and literary collaborations. I also intend to achieve a greater level of recognition in the larger spoken word community within and outside the country (this has always been my driving force).