The national poetry festival, Land of Poets, was launched on Sunday, September 23, at the Blantyre Cultural Centre courtesy of Poetry Association of Malawi and The Norwegian Embassy.

The event which attracted poets from all over the country and abroad did not only see the reunion of the old and young poets but also saw the coming back home of the veteran Jack Mapanje to recite to a nation that once punished him for the same thing he was coming back for: poetry.

According to the organizers, the event is expected to be annual and will not only be attracting poets from Malawi but also beyond the borders.

At the launch, Mapanje gave out books of all his titles to the Poetry Association through its chair, Felix Njonjonjo Katsoka, to see to it that they establish a library for local poets where their works could be stored.

Aside expressing pleasure that there were poets making a difference, basing on what he had seen, he lamented that the poetry scene is filled with only Chichewa poetry as though there are no other languages in the country.

Critics hailed the event but had reservations over some acts saying it was better that the organizers do auditions before roping in some other acts which were apparently embarrassing.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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