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Nsubuga decries poor reception of poetry

Written by on June 14, 2021

The poetry business in Uganda is one that gradually keeps taking a sip of growth over the years, bringing up young and vibrant poets on the scene, a number of avenues to perform on and different organisations on the surface to make ends meet for the world of ‘Poetry’.

At least there is a noticeable achievement stamped on its name. Growing as an art in a country enriched with a range of issues to put to pen with, this has equally breastfed the notion of ‘payment’ for such poetry performances which has since sought to dress a smile on poets faces.

On the flip side of it, what happens when the expected payment doesn’t fit in the equation? So to write, disappointment of course and continuous public wails that provoke attention.

This outstandingly has not been widely and rightly received by a number of people who seek to receive particular poetry services at least according to Muhammed Nsubuga, a Luganda writer and performance poet.

“Our society still undermines poetry in that, when you tell a person that you need a certain amount of money, they complain about the sum and say that performing poetry is a simple thing ― just putting words together. But the same person will pay millions of money to a musician who sings two songs for ten minutes maximum,” Nsubuga explained.

Speaking to 97.7 Record FM in an interview, Nsubuga went on to say that however much the poetry business is growing up in the country, what needs to be scaled and worked on is equally too much. This is a similar song that has been sung over and over by different artists ― encouraging people to treat poetry as any other art would be.

Before the lockdown was imposed and public events suspended since April last year, there were a number of poetry nights hosted almost on a daily basis within Kampala and outside plus, poetry tours across the country.

However, the suspension of the ‘would be’ sources of income for most of the performance poets that had made a name in the business, affected their incomes like it did most others. Nsubuga calls this an eye opener.

This aside, Nsubuga said that repercussions of the suspension of events among others is depression that is slowly eating up people’s wits due to the absence of poetry which he constitutes in his opinion as one of the remedies. “There is a lot of depression because artists are the mirror of society and this kicked in because artists have no chance to mirror society,” he said.

That put in context, poetry as an art needs to be strongly emulated and cherished in our society for first of all; mirroring societal issues that perhaps no leader or citizen would ever be courageous to address and generally, for entertainment. What is good is worth paying for. Pay for poetry performances if so, you deem them worth it.

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