Monday, July 27, 2015


27 July 2015


The Babishai Poetry 2015 shortlist is out. From over 2,000 poems, judges Professor Antjie Krog, Mildred Barya and Richard Ali, selected a long-list which was unveiled last week, out of which they selected 16 poems for the shortlist. Mildred Barya says this about the process:

“The process of judging poetry or creative work isn’t difficult. It is shaped by the submissions themselves. First, you want to select very good poems and the advantage is that you have a large sample to choose from. You have no idea which poem is going to strike you in a unique manner, tug at your heart-sleeves, so to speak, even haunt you with its freshness, madness, attitude, form, message, voice, inventiveness, and so on. But you will know and recognize that poem in the process of reading all the poems. At least, that has been my experience. After getting the “best” poems, you may then try to figure out why those in particular have connected with you, and produced such a profound effect. That’s when you may notice that they’re saying something old in a new way, or the manner in which they balance radical opposites may be impressive, for instance, clarity and mystery, loss and fulfillment, personal and political all at once, how competent they play language games, how they employ humor or sadness, beauty or grief, in short, how they make you feel, think, and see the world. It is a subjective experience that comes more from the poems themselves, than pre-set criteria. “

The winner of the 2015 Babishai Poetry Award, will be announced during the Babishai Poetry Festival scheduled for 26 to 28 August in Kampala at The Uganda Museum. During the festival, the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation team will launch Poetry OnThe Mountain, which is a poetry excursion scheduled to take place in 2016, at one of Uganda’s mountain ranges. At the festival, Boda Boda Anthem and Other Poems will also be launched, a poetry anthology of Kampala poems.

The Babishai Poetry 2015 shortlisted poems are:-
•    Like Scented Mangoes by Arinze Ifeakandu from Nigeria
•    My Son by Adhiambo Agoro from Kenya
•    A Room With A Drowning Book by Adeeko Ibukun of Nigeria
•    The Ghost of Jevanjee by Nyanduaki Okongo Omare from Kenya
•    Luna by Danica Kreusch of South Africa
•    LHR and Death-fall by Nick Makoha from Uganda
•    Journey Into Songs by Gbenga Adesina from Nigeria
•    Elixir by Femia Nkansa from Ghana
•    Women Lovers by Salawu Olajide from Nigeria
•    Tremours in Kigali by Richard Otwao from Uganda
•    My Hair Is By Lua Davis from Cameroon
•    Dusk Dawn by Waruguru Wa Kiai from Kenya
•    A Poem We Would Rather Forget by Sanya Noel Lima from Kenya
•    Diz Poetry by Babjide Olusegun from Nigeria
•    Evolution (for ardonis) by Tolase Ajibola from Nigeria
You can also read the poems here,

We wish all the shortlisted poets, much success. We’ll be profiling all of them before we announce our Top 3. You may follow the Babishai Poetry Festival updates on facebook at and Twitter

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