Niyi Osundare was celebrated at the Boao International Poetry Prize 2022 in Shanghai, China on December 16, 2022.
The Boao International Poetry Festival which brings together poets, critics, and translators from all over the world to celebrate poetry in all its forms has been hosted in China since 2019. It is organized by the Huang Yazhou Poetry Development Foundation, World Poetry magazine, and Hainan Youth Writers Association.
As part of its activities, they announce the Boao International Poetry Award which includes the Outstanding Achievement Award, Poet of The Year Award, Poetry Collection Of The Year Award, and Young Pioneer Poet Of The Year Award. Some of its previous recipients have been Xiang Ming (Taiwan, China), Philip Salom (Australia), and Fernando Rendon (Colombia).
The Boao International Poetry Festival 2022 was hosted in December with many poets from all over the world attending including Servio Gbadamosi. The Outstanding Achievement Award this year was awarded to Prof Niyi Osundare who could not attend but sent the acceptance speech “Why Poetry Matters” which was translated and read in Chinese. He is the first African poet to win the honour.
The speech read in part, “Poetry matters because it never fails to remind us of the common colour of the blood in our veins, the violence of hunger, the ugliness of evil, the frailty of our forests, the vulnerability of our rivers, and the sigh of our planet. Poetry never forgets, and never ceases to remind the Future of its debt to the Past. Wherever justice is hidden, you can trust poetry to seek and find it. For in its lyrical habitation lives our Lamp of Life.”
Nigerian-born USA-based Niyi Osundare is a prolific poet, dramatist, and literary critic who has won many awards for his work and activism.
Read an interview of Prof Osundare’s feelings on winning the award by clicking here.