Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is the winner of the 2016 edition of the Words Rhymes & Rhythm backed ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE (AJPP).
Kanyisola, a poet, short story writer, essayist, multiple-award-winning campus journalist, and student of Philosophy at the prestigious University of Ibadan, was announced winner of the prestigious award at the Words Rhymes & Rhythm Literary festival 2016 – Feast of Words which was held on the 3rd of December 2016.
He was awarded the AJPP 2016 prize for his poem ‘TELL US WHERE THEY TOUCHED YOU’, the original winning entry of the September edition of the BPPC 2016.
The Osun state indigene was one of the three poets on the shortlist of the AJPP 2016 alongside Valentine Mbagu, winner of the July edition of the BPPC 2016 and Otubelu Chinazom Chukwudi , winner of the May edition of the BPPC 2016.
Kanyinsola, who won the BPPC February 2016 with a romantic acrostic entitled ‘THE FOLLY OF EVERYTHING: RISE TODAY’ and had previously emerged second runner-up in the BPPC September 2015, beat the other finalists to the top prize – a brand NEW LENOVO TAB3 7 device and a copy each of the 2016 BPPC anthology.
Receiving the award, the young poet expressed his gratitude to the organizers, judges and his well wishers.
“I just want to say a big “thank you” to Words Rhymes & Rhythm and the inspirational Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, for awarding me the Albert Jungers Poetry Prize,” he said with a wide smile on his face.
“It’s quite funny. The ones you win are the ones you think are out of your reach.”
Kanyisola’s works has been published on various platforms, including the Kalahari Review, Saturday Tribune, WRR Poetry, Kreative Diadem, Parousia Magazine, and the BPPC 2015 anthology, WIND OF CHANGE. In 2016, he was shortlisted for the Eriata Oribhabor Food Poetry Prize and named co-winner of the Sampad International Creative Writing Contest.
Here is the winning poem, TELL US WHERE THEY TOUCHED YOU:
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.
The AJPP is an annual poetry award instituted in 2014 by Words Rhymes & Rhythm in honor of late Fr. Albert Jungers (1948 – 2013), a Priest, Poet and Teacher who played a vital role in the birth of the WRR College of Poetry. It is awarded to one deserving poem from the top ten entries of the monthly Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC) Season II (February -September 2016). The 2015 edition was won by Showunmi Olawale Michael.
The prize 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.