Titilope Sonuga is no ordinary poet.
She is an award-winning Afro- Canadian actor and master of the spoken word. Eloquent, she is the first Nigerian poet to appear at a Nigerian Presidential inauguration. In 2011, she won the Canadian Authors’ Association Emerging Award for her first collection of poems ‘Down to Earth’. Her work has appeared in Brittle Paper, The Great Black North Contemporary African Canadian Poetry and many more other publications.
Edmonton stood still for seventy-five minutes tonight as she healed the packed theatre with her words. What came across as brazen was her boldness to share her faith and spirituality with her audience. In an age where Christianity is often attacked and ridiculed, it would seem that Ms Sonuga’s poetry is beyond religion.
There was something for everyone. Her poetry centred on themes such as life, God, questions, beginning, second chances, heartbreaks, healing, womanhood, motherhood and so on. Each of her poems carried a lesson for reflection, an opportunity for self-advancement and the belief that ‘we are all the magic we need’. Everyone could resonate with her dignity, grace, mastery of the spoken word and the gift to make ordinary words come alive. Brandon Wints, a friend and staunch supporter of Ms Sonuga presented a moving poem on the hashtag: Black lives do matter.
Some of us struggle to articulate basic feelings. Ms Sonuga has the ability to amplify our inner thoughts. Tonight, her greatest success was to make us one with our emotions. She made us feel as though she was talking to each of us in our quiet spaces alone. She spoke to our collective consciousness: a Herculean feat, her ability to empathize in her own way shows how in tune with herself she is.
Fans on Facebook agree with us that the show was phenomenal. Megan Maggie Mackay posted ‘beautiful! Thank you for the lovely show with a talented band! Your poetry is deep yet inspirational”.
The first leg of her poetic tour that would take her across two continents over, her fans were left asking for more at the end of the show. People simply did not want to go. People stood mesmerized, like in a trance soaking in the music which was provided by the excellent jazz and hip-hop band MelAfrique.
Her next stop is Calgary on the 15th of November, London at the Below Boondocks, 205 City Road on the 23rd of November and Abuja on the 7th of December. Dates for other cities like Lagos and Johannesburg will be added later.
The best bits tonight were:
‘I Come From A Place’
The Woman Is Not Your Mother.
JacanaBooks Verdict: It was an evening well spent. Please make it a date to support Edmonton’s finest when she comes to your city. Ms Sonuga’s win was a victory for every woman in the audience.