Young writers are leading a poetry revolution in Uganda

Peter Kagayi, a law graduate from Makerere University and the latest sensation in the Ugandan poetry scene. PHOTO | MIRIAM NAMBUBIRU

What you need to know:

  • William Shakespeare from whom I leant the purpose of metre. Robert Frost because of his warmth, emotion and passion; Wilfred Owen, who taught me about angry, bitter and circumstantial poetry, and Gerald Manley Hopkins. Lately, I have discovered, Rem Raj the Nigerian writer of magical realism poetry.
  • I remember walking up to the biggest publishing house in this country three years ago and asking them to publish my poetry. They turned me down and complained that they couldn’t possibly publish poetry because it isn’t selling.
  • Poetry has evolved and it is no longer just poetry on the page. Performance poetry is really popular  now and it has helped increase poetry publications. It even looks as though performance poets are more relevant in our society now than page poets.

When I first saw Peter Kagayi’s electrifying poetry performance at Gayaza Girls High School in Kampala, I couldn’t help but join the students in chanting and reciting Kagayi’s popular verses; In 2065, My Country is a Badly Taken Selfie and If Its Yours, Touch It.


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