WATCH: Spreading hope during lockdown with 21 poets for 21 days
Poet and co-founder of Impepho Press, Vangile Gantsho said: “We have a huge network of poets, so we reached out to a few of them and they agreed.
“As time went by, poets reached out to us. We deliberately wanted different languages and, predominantly, women of colour. But we also wanted to make sure that there was a poet for everyone. This is so that people could find a poet who speaks to them.”
An initiative by Impepho Press, 21 Days. 21 Poets, allows one contributor to share a poem for one day of the lockdown, which is then shared on social media platforms - such as Youtube and Facebook.
This will continue for the duration of the now extended lockdown.
“Msaki said something beautiful the other day, and I completely relate to it. She said, ‘I choose to be available because I am built for times like this’.
“‘Born to encourage, lament, to comfort, to hold.’ I think this is what I was feeling. It felt right. Something said: ‘We need poetry, and I listened’.
“We had already gotten some momentum following the virtual World Poetry Day event. We saw that people needed poetry, because we also need poetry. And we did it. If we are to be in crisis, let us at least have poetry,” she said. Bell Hooks said hope is essential to any political struggle, for radical change, when the social climate promotes disillusionment and despair.
“Poetry lends itself to hope. We want to be a part of what is keeping people alive and healing them, rather than what adds to the despair.”
Poet Diana Ferrus said: “I was asked to submit videos of where I read my poems. I read three poems. One was ‘The Peace Song’ which speaks about war and peace. We are constantly at war, in spite of all the wars before.
“This poem is important for me, as I always want to advocate for peace.
“The second one was about a dancer from Nyanga, who was knifed to death for his sunglasses.
“Our young are exposed to so much violence but still want to pursue their dreams, and the third was a love poem called ‘Bitter Coffee’.”