Browsing articles tagged with " Kenya"
Oct 7, 2017
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Atticus Review (2017)

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Matt Mullins from the Atticus Review just published a piece on Valerie LeBlanc’s Land of Shepherds and my video In Kisii. For more info: https://atticusreview.org/two-from-abroad/

Atticus Review is a daily online journal that publishes fiction, flash, poems, creative nonfiction, video, music, book reviews, cartoons, animation, and whatever else we find worthy of eyes.

Dec 21, 2016
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IN KISII (2016)

In Kisii is a poetic voyage through Kisii town, Kenya. From the still image of a truck stopped on the curbside of the bustling city, images from three moments in time rise to the surface.

This video was realized following participation in the Kistrech Poetry Festival.

Nov 1, 2016
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Notes from the 4th Kistrech Poetry Festival (2016)

I have participated in many poetry festivals, each series of events is unique, but the fourth Kistrech Poetry Festival had something that others don’t have. To begin, there are not many venues for international poets or artists in Africa, the economic realities of the continent dictate this scarcity of opportunities. Christopher Okemwa, the director of the festival has been working hard to create an event where the audience and the poets can share insights and discussions. Another thing that made this festival standout was the fact that our group, the invited poets and a large section of the audience, were always together. We were together in the conference room, at lunch breaks and we were together in buses travelling to different locations. This created a sense of belonging and gave us a chance to get to know each other more closely.

Most of the Festival events took place at the main campus of the Kisii University from October 3rd until October 8th with writers from Nigeria, the USA, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Canada, and Kenya. Student participants came from both Kisii University and Nairobi University. A series of readings by internationally based, Kenyan poets as well as student poets took place on the Kisii University Campus, at the Genesis Preparatory School, the St. Charles Kabeo High School and on the shores of Lake Victoria. In addition to these, papers were also presented: Beatrice Ekesa (Nairobi University) talked about issues of globalization in the context of Spoken Word in Kenya; Martin Glaz Serup (Denmark) presented the Holocaust Museum, a conceptual post-productive witness literature that deals with the representation of Holocaust; Eric Francis Tinsay Valles (Singapore) delivered a text about trauma in poetry; Seth Michelson (USA) talked about the process of translation and the practice of human freedom; Micheal Oyoo Weche (Kenya) spoke of oral poetry and aesthetic communication practiced by children within the Luo tribe; Tony Mochama (Kenya) discussed the modernity of African poetry in Kenya; Godspower Oboido (Nigeria) compared Nigerian poet Christopher Okigbo with Russian poet Alexander Pushkin; Margaret N. Barasa (Kenya) explained the convergence of language and culture in Manguliechi’s Babuksu after-burial oratory and Valerie LeBlanc and myself (Canada) presented our poetic work created within the Everglades National Park biosphere.

This was the first time that the Festival was held during the University’s Cultural Week. The campus was alive with students and many attended the festival’s lectures and presentations. Throughout the festival, there was a constant flow of energy, of shaking hands, of being truly part of the whole, like the Festival’s program states.

Here are two key moments, two events that made an significant impression on me. Both happened on October 6rd 2016.

GENESIS PREPARATORY PRIMARY SCHOOL

We were on our way, to the Genesis Preparatory Primary School to meet and to read to the children. As with every morning, the light was intensely beautiful; the sky blue and the sun hot. At the school, three hundred children, dressed in their dark green uniforms with green and white checker shirts were waiting for us. They actually had been waiting all year for this moment and had a program of poetry, songs and dances prepared for the occasion. We all sat outside in the courtyard under the sun and under the shades of pine trees, on blue chairs and yellow chairs, on green chairs and magenta chairs. There was electricity in the air. A teacher came up front, to welcome us and invited a group of students to take place on the stage. Many students had a chance to perform poetry and to sing. To my surprise, a lot of the songs were in French. The Principal told me later that they wanted them to learn English, Kiswahili and French as many countries in the regions speak French. After that, it was our turn to read. Gunnar Wærness (Norway) created a song for a crow that was perched in a tree above us; Martin (Denmark) read 100 words from a children’s book; Jennifer Karmin (USA) involved the children with a participative poetry reading and so on.

After the readings, we were invited to plant trees on the school grounds. Poets planting trees: ‘Poet-trees’ said someone. The holes were already dug and the little seedlings were sitting in a wheel barrel, all ready to go. As each poet was busy planting, students would gather around, looking at our techniques and cheering for the forest to come. Many of the holes were sewn with yellow flowers that looked similar to squash flowers. This seemed to present a wish to protect and encourage the future growth of the trees. The man in charge of the grounds made sure that the dirt was well packed and that the seedlings were straight. When we left it looked like a little forest had been added to the valley.

BOGIAKUMU VILLAGE

When we stepped out of the bus, I don’t think any of us expected to be greeted with such enthusiasm. A musician was already playing his nyatiti, an eight-string instrument, as loud as he could. There was a lot of laughing, clapping and dancing. In the blink of an eye, we were dancing as well, which generated even more laughter. Then, each of the poets was taken in charge by one or two villagers for a personal tour. I left with my two hostesses and Cornelius, a Kisii University student who was translating the exchanges. In Kiswahili I said ‘good morning’ to the women. They both laughed. Cornelius told me that in the afternoon, the custom is to say, ‘good afternoon.’ I wished that I had a pen and a piece of paper to add this to my list of Kiswahili phrases. I repeated it in my head a few times like a mantra as we walked on the main road until we took a path down the hill. The earth is red. Everything is lush. The air is warm and humid. The pathways are incredibly complex, there are paths going everywhere. We walk past mango trees, papaya trees, banana trees, avocado trees, sugar cane and cornfields. Here and there a goat tied to a post looks at us as we go by. Cornelius tells me that the two women are widows and are cultivating their plots and raising their animals by themselves. We finally arrive at a house. As we go in, a few little chicks scramble to get out. The air inside the house is heavy and the sunlight makes the dust appear like diamonds floating in the room. The walls are covered with a lacework-like fabric. I notice two pictures on one of the walls and go to them. They are images of two smiling men. Under the images are their names and two dates. The men are dead. They are the husbands of the two women. The oldest man was born in 1963 and the younger in 1985. The images and the frames look old, as if they had been on the wall for a long time, but the younger man died just a couple of months earlier. After a while, we pull away from the wall and sit on couches. From there I can feel the heat radiating from the tin roof. Cornelius tells me that when one of the women’s husband died, she had to wait for planting the corn and this is why hers is so short compared to the rest. There is a silence. We hear the wind rustling through the nearby sugar canes. At that moment, we also feel the absence of this husband. Then the older woman gets up and goes out. We follow her lead back onto the paths. Red soil. Corn fields. The sun feels good. We arrive at the second home. The woman opens the door. The light floods into the main room. It is very hot and very bright. We sit and rest there for a while.

I can’t remember much from this house; my mind was still filled with the other place. Then we were back on the main road. There were many young people walking to the river to get water. It looked like they just came back from school. All carried yellow jugs. The river, I am told, is not far. I asked Cornelius to teach me how to say, ‘How are you’, and then I repeat this to a group of young boys. They all laugh. Cornelius tells me that there is a difference to whether you speak to one person or many. He teaches me how to say ‘how are you’ to many people, which I say many times during the walk back to the village centre.

The weather was turning. Big dark clouds were gathering and it started to rain. Instead of eating outside, we all went inside a large house to share a meal. We had yams and uji, a porridge made from ground millet. By the meal’s end, the weather had cleared up and we were invited to go back outside. We sat on plastic chairs in a big circle. The musician was in the middle with his instrument and dancers came from behind him. Eventually, it was the poets’ turn to join in the dance. Later, as we walked back through the pathways toward the bus, we saw a rainbow arching over the valley.

KISII POSTSCRIPT
The night before we left, two women were killed by the police at the market. Some people at the hotel heard what sounded like fireworks. I heard nothing. But two women died that night. Then there was a riot and wooden stands were thrown into a bonfire as people protested. In the morning as we drove down the road, the market looked empty, here and there were piles of charred wood. A few days later, the University of Kisii introduced new fee payment rules for its students. This change resulted in a massive riot, this time by students. A fourth-year woman student was shot in the head by a stray bullet, but survived. The Daily Nation (Nairobi) newspaper, reported that 10 students had been arrested while the Standard (Nairobi), mentioned that more than 30 students were arrested. According to the newspapers, the fee collection office and a School of Law office were set ablaze. Images of soldiers on the grounds of the University were unsettling to see. Many of our young poet friends from the Kisii University and University of Nairobi (Elly Omullo, Ombui Omoke, Roberto de Khalifa) wrote poignant texts on their Facebook walls, putting words to what was happening around them.

THITIMA (energy)

In this landscape
of shovelled earths
and un-shovelled earths
of arched goats
looking thoughtful
of speeding Boda-Bodas
and Boda-Boda sheds

In this land of Churches
and Choma zones
of men with shovels
walking empowered
dreaming of self-sufficiency
of yams and sweet potatoes and bananas

In this cosmology of paths
extending outward
shortcutting everything

In this endless network
of paths of life and death
of paths taken and abandoned
of paths like the energy of the Big Bang
like the music rising
from every bus
every stand
from the music
that envelops everyone

There is no stopping the going
and no stopping the rhythms.

A path goes this way
another one that way
they overlap
become larger
veer between bushes
They are the tentacles
of giant octopus’
dancing a waltz

The neurons
sending electricity
to each limb
light up this
East African night

The paths are
the way to go
the way to come
back home

They are
what is left
of having to go
of wanting to go

They are what is passed down
to the children who in turn
will invent new roads to travel upon
and new rhythms to walk along.

Daniel H. Dugas
October 9, 2016

GODS

God is everywhere!
Especially as decals on buses

GOD ALMIGHTY
in bold letters
racing on a dirt road
God in the middle of the wilderness
incarnated in every speeding Boda-Boda

God is everywhere!
I see him
in the diesel fumes of buses
I see him
in the whirlpools
of papers and bags
in the tails
of small goats
eating in ditches
I see him
in the yellow plastic jugs
balancing on heads
I see him in the tarps
flapping in the wind
in the wind that controls everything
I see him
in the smoke of every fire
of this never ending choma zone

He is here,
everywhere,
present on each kernel of corn.

Daniel H. Dugas
Oct 10, 2016

*

I would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts and the New Brunswick Arts Board for their support. / Je remercie le Conseil des arts du Canada et le Conseil des Arts du Nouveau-Brunswick pour leur soutien.

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Sep 7, 2016
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Kistrech Poetry Festival (2016)

http://dandatadugas.tumblr.com/post/150034073080

We have been (Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas) invited to participate in the Kistrech Poetry Festival 2016 in Kissi, Kenya, October 3 – 8, 2016. We will also present a paper entitled Flow: Big Waters at Kisii University. We would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts and the New Brunswick Arts Board for their assistance.

Kistrech Poetry Festival
Welcome to the 4th edition of Kistrech Poetry Festival in Kenya. This year’s event is seen to be unique since it will run alongside Kisii University Cultural Week. The venue, being at the University ground, will accord visiting poets an opportunity to interact and share with University student-poets, upcoming writers and lecturers.

KISTRECH POETRY FESTIVAL IN KENYA 2016
The Word is Not Alone. It is Part of the Whole
KISII UNIVERSITY
3rd to 8th October 2016

Website

http://2016.festival.kistrech.org/

Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son neuvième recueil de poésie L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas is a poet, musician and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His ninth book of poetry: L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas es poeta, músico y videocreador. Ha participado en exposiciones individuales y colectivas, festivals y eventos literarios en Norteamérica, Europa, México y Australia. Acaba de publicar su noveno poemario, L’esprit du temps / The spirit of time (Les Editions Prise de parole).

L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time est un projet de transmutation du paysage publicitaire en paysage poétique. Ce livre est à la fois un livre de photographie, un recueil de poésie et un essai lucide mais ludique sur notre société matérialiste. Il a été produit en numérique et imprimé en quantité limitée.

Date : Décembre 2015
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782894239629

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=148

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