New African poetry press, Konya Shamsrumi, has quickly gained attention with its 5 Questions series of interviews with emerging and established poets on the continent. In the last year, the series has hosted Unoma Azuah, Leila Chatti, Chika Jones, Lydia Kasese and many others. With its dedication to poetry, it now announces its first “conversation”, under the title #MeetingOfBards. This first conversation is between the poet and Naval officer Umar Abubakar Sidi (Striking the Strings, The Poet of Dust) and Saraba Magazine co-founder, the poet and medico Dami Ajayi (Clinical Blues, A Woman’s Body is a Country).
#MeetingOfBards is a free-ranging discussion between two talented poets on their craft, exploring the landscape of ideas and inspiration in Africa Lit, as well as laying emphasis on the tricky issue of the future of poetry. With very different ideas, we find here the very best of two young writers pitted against each other, standing head to head. The conversation is divided into five segments—Disenfranchising the Poet; Poetry and the Question of Utility; The Aesthetics of Listening; Women as the Cornerstone of the Material World and The Mechanics of Craft.
On a poem about women, Umar Sidi says, “While the erotic imaginary may be misleading, the poem is essentially a meditation on Ibn Arabi’s idea of the Unity and Oneness of Being (Wahdatul Wujud) and the idea of the Sacred Feminine. The poem is about fusion and union. It is about attraction and permeation. It is about the wedlock of the ‘sacred feminine’ (Surrealist) represented by a goddess and ‘unity of being’ (Sufi) represented by the poet.”
Dami Ajayi responds, on the same thread, with “I am not certain there is anything more deserving of praise than the female form and I say this for obvious reasons.”
Konya Shamsrumi is a traditional style poetry-publishing house built around the KSR Collective which comprises Richard Ali, Umar Sidi, Kechi Nomu, Funmi Gaji and Rasaq Malik Gbolahan. Richard Ali, who sent in this release, said, “The Collective is delighted to publish this conversation and we hope to carry out even more conversations like these. The first #MeetingOfBards will be published on the Monday the 11th of June 2018. In the meantime, poetry lovers can get exclusive access before it is published by signing up on our Facebook page here. Follow us too @KonyaShamsrumi.”