“WE SHOULD LEARN TO CELEBRATE LIVING LEGENDS” — REMI RAJI

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[Ibadan]–World-renowned poet and academician, Professor Remi Raji Oyelade, while speaking at the World Poetry Day celebration held at the University of Ibadan on Tuesday, in celebration of literary icon, Niyi Osundare charged the audience to learn to celebrate living legends, rather than pay homage to the memory of the dead.

“When someone dies, we say we are celebrating a life well-lived but that is a euphemism for the fact that they are dead. Why not celebrate those who are alive,” he said in reference to Osundare.

The event began around 6:15 pm and was kicked off with a remark from Oyelade, who spent the time advising the young audience of poets to be serious at their art and not delude themselves into thinking “placing words side by side and posting on Facebook makes you a poet.”

The program featured poetry readings from leading figures in the literary sphere, including Charles Akinsete, Noah Okadele, Professor Nelson Fashina, Sola Ojikutu, Oredola Ibrahim (The Page Editor) and one of the shortlisted writers for the 2017 Brunel University African Poetry Prize, Rasaq Malik Gbolahan.

Other poets who were expected but did not show up were Tade Ipadeola, one-time winner, NLNG Prize for Literature; Saddiq Dzukogi, also shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize this year; DS Lawrence, winner of the inaugural Remi Raji Poetry Contest and a host of others.

According to Oyelade, the program was planned within less than 72 hours, after his contacts at Germany asked what was being planned in Nigerian for World Poetry Day 2017. The first thought which he said popped into his mind was Niyi Osundare, in whose honour he then organised the event.

He took the time to single out Gbolahan for praise, labeling him a pride to Ibadan and the university.

He reminisced on his beginnings as a poet to an internationally-recognised scribbler.

The event ended at about 8:05.




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