Poetry is one art form that has always been a subject for debate.
Some people believe poetry should not be performed but read as it was traditionally. They believe that performing poetry is killing parts of the art. Last Tuesday, Peter Kagayi did just that when he staged his The Audience Must Say Amen, a poetic production where he recited more than ten poems from his debut anthology, The Headline That Morning.
The collection came with an audio CD of 15 poems and was a perfect disapproval to critics. Kagayi does it really well; he writes poems not for stage but those that will be heard as they are read.
Which could partly explain why his The Audience Must Say Amen easily adopted his book to the dot. In the production, the poet takes us through different chapters of his 77-page book traversing topics about childhood, poetry and mostly politics.
It was a break from the norm that has had poetry breathing and smelling erotica; this time, there were no soothing words but, rather, reflection and of course very dark undertone messages.
Since each chapter in Kagayi’s The Audience Must Say Amen comes with a different feel and of course, message, to drive his political message. He had to mostly exploit one, The Headline That Morning which is also the title of the book.
With such stories like In 2065 and 2031 In History Channel, the production predicted Uganda would be hitting even harder political rocks in future.
The latter story predicts that besides people growing, Uganda’s politics may remain the same, the attitude of the people will be the same and the government may still be as corrupt.
The poem got people chanting, especially when he recited a verse; “The president will be the president we have today, and in a wheelchair he will give the nation address...only that his son, then a Field Marshall, will read it on his behalf...”
Kagayi says he wrote the poem two years back but has been surprised how pieces of the poem have come to manifest themselves in the society.
The Headline That Morning is the first publication by Sooo Many Stories, a company that is looking at giving different Ugandan authors a chance.