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World Poetry Day 2024: Celebrating Wole Soyinka @ 90



All is set for the 5th edition of World Poetry Day (WPD), on the theme “World Poetry Day 2024: Engaging the Quintessential Poet Wole Soyinka @90.”

World Poetry Day is celebrated every March 21 globally as declared by UNESCO in 1999 to “promote the reading, writing, publishing, and teaching of poetry throughout the world” and, to “give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional, and international poetry movements.”

Sponsored by Providus Bank, the 2024 edition, which will be held on Thursday, March 21, at the Banquet Hall, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, coincides with the 90th birthday anniversary year of Soyinka, who is a globally celebrated poet, dramatist, memoirist, essayist; pubic intellectual, and above all, a human and civil rights defender.

The Executive Prog. Director, Culture Advocates Caucus (CAC), Jahman O Anikulapo, in a statement, said the event will feature presentations and performances by nine poets – six Nigerians (Uche Uwadinachi, Salamatu Sule, Evelyn Osagie, Akeem Lasisi, Ocho Oko Owi, and Ruth Mahogany) and three from other countries, noting that cutting across age and experience, the poets have been selected based on their varied styles and techniques of poetry writing and renditions. In their individual presentations and performances, the poets will be having a “conversation with Soyinka” by engaging their chosen poems of Soyinka – in their individual diction and styles.

The event will also be accompanied by an exhibition of artworks and photographs of his life and career, as well as a reception.

Since 2020, the Providus Bank under its CSR initiative – “Providus Bank Poetry Café” – has hosted the celebration of the Day, curated by the Culture Advocates Caucus, CAC, directed and produced by Jahman Anikulapo, under the supervision of the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.

Officially titled, “ProvidusBank World Poetry Day Café: An Evening with Wole Soyinka,” the past editions have treated themes relating to the general human conditions, especially on matters relating to the preservation of the environment, education, and mental empowerment of the youth, protection of the Girl-Child and respect for the female gender, among others.

The project has been held every year since its inception but the 2020 edition was cancelled at the last minute due to the outbreak of COVID-19, which compelled the lockdown of cities around the world, including Lagos on March 19 – two days before the staging of the edition.