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A Poet and A Society: By Utibe Uko.

Chijioke Amu-Nnadi.
Utibe Uko Wrote:
The Port Harcourt Literary Society is a body of individuals that aims to boost the social culture of the city of Port Harcourt through literature.

Through series of events where the Society hosts poets and guests, as well as school children, the Society is slowly but surely generating new and considerable interest in poetry and literature among youths while sustaining the passion in the elders of the business.

As part of this drive to ensure the sustainability of poetry and literature in Rivers State and Port Harcourt,  the Port Harcourt Literary Society recently appointed reputable poet, Amu Nnadi as its Resident Poet.  

The Resident Poet brings his invaluable experience to the Society's activities through unique programmes. The Resident Poet adds verve to the resources of the Society ensuring that literature and poetry is taken to new levels, setting new standards for lovers of literature and poetry.

In his role as Resident Poet of the Port Harcourt Literary Society, Amu Nnadi has launched the PHLS Open Mic Day, a programme which brings writers and lovers of poetry together. He has also introduced the PHLS-LIFT, Port Harcourt Literary Society Literature for Teens programme, aimed at encouraging literature in secondary schools. 

The PHLS Open Mic Day, which offers a veritable opportunity for writers of poetry to interact on site while giving lovers of poetry the rare opportunity to experience  poetry at its innovative best, held its first edition on Friday, November 3. The PHLS-LIFT held on Friday, November 10, with three schools in Port Harcourt in attendance. 

The next Open Mic holds next Friday, on December 1. Already, many organisations such as Shell, Kilimanjaro fast foods, Association of Nigerian Authors, Seaview Poetry Club, Word Phantomz and many more are coming together to support the initiative. 

Only recently, Amu-Nnadi says, the group took delivery of a new set of sound equipment, including amplifier mixer, speakers and microphones, donated by one of its supporters to boost the Open Mic. 

The group also includes interesting young writers such as Edwina Aleme, Sotonye Dan, Maureen Alikor, Sibbyl Whyte, David-Jack Abirima, Ella Chikezie, Dayo Ibitoye and Chidinma Ubakanwa, the manager of the Port Harcourt Literary Society Library, an impressive edifice built and donated by Shell. When the complex is completed, it will provide a hostel accommodation for writers on residency programmes, as well as an amphitheatre. 

THe PHLS Open Mic Day aligns with the character of Amu Nnadi, a poet of repute whose unique style of poetry offers new insights in knowledge, innovation and style. Amu Nnadi's unconventional style of non conformity to the use of grammar, lexicon and punctuation is a new vista in the development of poetry in Nigeria.  

His non-conformist, emotion laden style deviates from the norm and in his role as Resident Poet of the Port Harcourt Literary Society, Amu Nnadi breathes fresh air into an otherwise straitjacket scene.

Amu Nnadi
(A profile)

Amu Nnadi is the author of five collections of poetry:

1.  "the fire within" (2002), which won the inaugural ANA/NDDC Gabriel Okara Poetry Prize in 2002;

2.  "pilgrim's passage" (2004), which was shortlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2005;

3.  "through the window of a sandcastle" (2013), which was runner up to the Nigeria Prize for Literature and won the ANA Poetry Prize, both in 2013, as well as the inaugural Glenna Luschei African Poetry Prize in 2014;

4.  "a river's journey" (2016); and

5.  "a field of echoes" (2016).

He also has a sixth book, "ihejuruonu", an assemblage of his poems of anguish, published in 2015.

A graduate of Mass Communications from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, amu nnadi began writing poetry in response to a dare, having not studied English Literature. He publishes without his photograph, convinced that no poet owns what he writes and that poets are only vessels in the hands of a great influence. 

All his books bear a dominant black image, which, he says, represents the mystery of the poem, as well as the primal essence of being, "the presence and absence of things". He also writes poetry without capitals nor full stop, for he says again that life "is a seamless stream of commas and no stops."

A poet of great and irresistible energy, he is currently concluding work on his seventh and eighth collections, "the love chronicles" and "eucalyptus" to be published in 2017, and a ninth, "conversations", in 2018.

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