Zim poet comes second in global contest

HARARE - Popular performance poet Batsirai Chigama claimed second position in a competition organised by StAnza, Scotland’s leading international poetry festival.

Chigama was beaten to the first position by Scotland’s Stephen Watt in a contest in which Ama Asantewa Diaka from Ghana claimed the third position.

The StAnza jury included a top Zimbabwean performance poet, in a shortlist of 10 poets from all over the world and invited poetry fans from all over the world to vote for the best poet.

Chigama’s entry titled Letter to my unborn child was captured during last year’s Shoko Festival.

She told the Daily News that she was pleasantly surprised by the second position she attained.

“This is the first time I have participated in the competition and I am excited because this is also recognition of Zimbabwe’s vibrant poetry sector. I got this far largely through the support of Zimbabweans. Thank you,” She said.

StAnza festival director Eleanor Livingstone said Chigama’s poem and nine other shortlisted entries were of very high standard.

“The clips sent had to be no more than three years old, and the performance on the clip was supposed to be more than four minutes long,” Livingstone said.

“A panel from the StAnza team selected a shortlist from the entries submitted and gave points for the content of the poem and the quality of the performance, and the 10 poets who scored best on the aggregate of these points went through to the shortlist.”

The winners will be profiled on the festival page and will automatically qualify to participate in the stAnza festival held every year in March in St Andrews, Scotland.

Livingstone added that the annual digital poetry slam was very necessary as it enables poets from all over the world to participate without the need for travel which often comes at great cost.

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