Words Rhymes & Rhythm Ltd. is pleased to announce the shortlist for the ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE (AJPP) 2016. The prize, which is in its 3rd year, is an annual poetry award instituted in 2014 in honor of late Fr. Albert Jungers (1948 – 2013).
The shortlisted poets are:
- Valentine Mbagu, for A UNITED AFRICA
- Kannyinsola Olorunnisola, for TELL US WHERE THEY TOUCHED YOU
- Otubelu Chinazom Chukwudi, for MY GIFT TO YOU
MBAGU VALENTINE is one of the Nigeria’s finest young poets. a native of Ozalla in Nkanu-West, Enugu state, Valentine a Business Administration and Management student of the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He won the July edition of the BPPC 2016 with a very hopeful poem about Africa entitled ‘A UNITED AFRICA’.
KANNYINSOLA OLORUNNISOLA is a poet, short story writer, essayist, and award-winning campus journalist, studying Philosophy at the prestigious University of Ibadan. He won the February edition of the BPPC 2016 with a romantic acrostic entitled ‘THE FOLLY OF EVERYTHING: RISE TODAY’. His poem ‘TELL US WHERE THEY TOUCHED YOU’ also emerged top of the BPPC September 2016.
OTUBELU CHINAZOM CHUKWUDI is a writer from Isiekwulu Village, Ukpo, Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State. He studied Electrical/Electronic Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). His poetic offering entitled ‘MY GIFT TO YOU’ won the May edition of the BPPC 2016.
The shortlisted poems were selected from the top ten entries of the monthly Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC) Season II (February -September 2016).
The Winner of the AJPP 2016 will take home a brand NEW LENOVO TAB3 7 device and a copy each of the BPPC 2015 and 2016 anthologies. All three shortlisted poets will receive certificates of recognition and copies of WHAT CAN WORDS DO, authored by Words Rhymes & Rhythm Ltd. CEO/Publisher, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson.
The Prize Winner will be announced and awarded at the Words Rhymes & Rhythm Literary Festival, scheduled to hold on the 3rd of December, 2016.
Showunmi Olawale Michael won the 2015 edition of the prize
THE SHORTLISTED POEMS:
TELL US WHERE THEY TOUCHED YOU by Kanyinsola Olorunnisola
Men have crawled into me in search of a home,
But all I can give is the restlessness of guilt,
For inside of me, ghouls of darkness roam,
I am the moon with which bad nights are built.
Why do you wear gloom on your soul like this?
Shattering every shred of your inner peace?
They have toured my body in the name of love
And left memories of forced romance and disdain,
Pretend not to know what demons I dream of,
Speak not as though you feel the heat of my pain.
True, but enslave yourself not to bitter yesterdays
For sweet hope, before your tear-clouded eyes, lays.
When Mother said, “Tell us where they touched you”,
I raised my teenage skirt in the cold meekness of shame,
But I wanted to show her my battered soul too
As the colour of my grief nears no known name.
Only weak spirits wither away in sight of sorrow
Your strength lies in the hands of a waiting tomorrow.
Living comes at too much of a price,
I am in need of a divine song of fire,
Agatha says the world beyond is paradise,
Let my transition be greeted with drums and lyre.
They might have defiled your holy temple,
But listen, in you, the heavens still mumble.
A UNITED AFRICA by Valentine Mbagu
Proclaim ye this naked prophesies to the running pregnant sea
That Africa will be the historic eyes from which all nations will see,
An Empire that will rise up to a fortified climax of supreme power;
Tell it to nations that Africa will stand tall as a mighty rising tower.
Though she rides through the storms of rough poisonous fields,
Still from her virgin breast will be sucked milk of democratic yields;
Her land will be the Eden tree from where all great rivers will flow,
A United Africa on whose fertile soil beacons of wealth will grow.
Africa will no more breed slaves nor be a color of discrimination
But a centre of honey for all bees to be attracted in open invitation,
Upon her civilization will be the bait for all nation’s eyes to migrate,
The African culture will form standards for all countries to emulate.
United will be the States of Africa as she commands raw influence
And attain the throne of sovereignty and supreme core dominance:
For the seeds of Adam will desire to feed her eyes than being told,
Then will the beauty of Africa rise above all nation’s treasured gold.
The tale of a United Africa will be heard across the burning horizon,
Her Olive trees will yield much fruits than the cedars of Lebanon;
An Empress that’ll pride herself in a fortified climax of core power,
Tell it to nations that United will be the sovereign States of Africa.
MY GIFT TO YOU by Otubelu Chinazom Chukwudi
Soul of a goddess, breathe life to thy soul
For yonder stars have pumped the thin sky whole
Fear not, these rivers will not your fair cheeks take
Your grief is mine too; the taste of flourless cake
I felt thy stabbing pain tons of miles afar
Leaping like a thief; it hurt me like a scar
Sweet rhymes I have sung to soothe thy ailing head
Pray, heed my humble voice that mumbles at thy bed
That arrow must be smart, long live the marksman!
In rotting red tombs – the architect’s void plan
Yet, your frail feet will not fall to shackles of shame
For wise chords have struck the lush rhythm of thy fame
I know you as a rock – the strength I never had
To part with you is hell; no thought ever so bad
This day may mock your sweat, but never your last be
The morrow shines so bright upon thy shadow’s tree
As softly as smooth silk sails the tranquil sea
Upon that cold gob that craves the heat of tea
Blind eyes have gone deaf; this gate shall quake soon
In calm air or tempest, embrace the mild moon
When will your smile talk to the tall hills again,
Kissing kinks of shut eyes with chills of night rain?
Take my warm hand as wand to thrill thy magic flight
O’er thorns and monstrous pawns from endless morn to night
FR. ALBERT JUNGERS
Fr. Al, as he was fondly called, was a priest, poet, and teacher who played a vital role in the birth of the WRR COLLEGE OF POETRY [WWW.COLLEGE.WRR.NG], which is now Nigeria’s only online poetry college, teaching poetry informally, using Facebook as a virtual classroom. He was until his death in 2013 an instructor and dear ‘father’ to young Nigerian poets, teaching many unfamiliar poetry forms.
The AJPP is sponsored by Words Rhymes & Rhythm (WRR), a leading publishing, and educational institution that promotes Nigerian literature through youth-targeted initiatives.
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.