The Power of Poetry

The world poetry competition is hosting an award ceremony this Monday, the 13th of November, as part of Coventry’s annual peace festival. It will include readings of the poems entered in the competition, aswell as music and dance to promote unity among people from all walks of life. The aim of the event is to bring people together through poetry, and allow everyoneto express themselves with whichever words they choose.

Despite poetry not being as popular in today’s day and age, especially amongst the younger generation, there are still millions of people across the globe who value and appreciate it. Sid Valapp, is a 20-year-old spoken word artist from Coventry. He believes that poetry is a ‘tool for healing and education’, and has written and performed hundreds of his original poems.

After asking Sid why he believes it is important to convey meaningful messages through poetry, he explained how he feels it is important to stand up for and defend what you believe in- not only for you, but for others like you. In this context, Sid is defending his religion, debunking stereotypes and questioning the negative connotations that surround his religion. By challenging people’s previous thoughts and opinions in a way that is engaging, Sid says he believes that anyone can make a change and, like him, enjoy the process. He went on to say:

‘There’s so much going on in the world right now, so much that I feel is important to speak up about. Xenophobia, famines- so many injustices. Poetry isn’t just a hobby for me, it’s a tool for healing and education- for me and anyone who listens. You can teach people things in a way that is gripping and impactful. Change is often implemented or encouraged by those who speak out, and I guess I try to do the same with poetry. I don’t think it’s outdated at all. It’s thought provoking, and such an effective way to get your message across- whatever that message is’.

Another future poetry events in Coventry, is the ‘Fire & Dust open-mic’ event at The Big Comfy Bookshop (Far Gosford St), on Thursday the 7th of December. This event is held every month, and welcomes all poets, (including performance poets) as well as MCs and anyone else happy to listen. There willbe a guest poet, Emma Purshouse, who will also be judging the competition. The competition is open to all, and offers a prize of £400 to the first place winner. I spoke with Emma Purshouse herself, to find out what she will be looking for from the contestants.

‘I will be searching for those poems that engage with the reader, those poems that people will want to read again and again. I hope to read something that makes me feel something,whatever that may be. Poetry isn’t easy, you have to be skilled and articulate in order to be a good poet. I’m excited to see what everyone submits, and I really do recommend events likes these- even if it doesn’t seem like the kindof thing you’d enjoy. Break those boundaries that you’ve set up around yourself, try something new’.

By Saleena Yasmin Ali

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