It is not a common thing to see an artist admiring a fellow artist. But poet and writer Richard Chilango Junior has done this by dedicating a book of poetry to celebrate fellow artists in various fields.
In his new book Potters of Art, he has published poems praising and admiring the prowess of artists such as models, musicians, writers and visual artists.
In his remarks during the book’s launch, the poet said the book is dedicated to ethusiasts of local art.
“The book is for everyone who likes the creativity and artistry of celebrated Malawian creatives. It is for everyone who makes time for local arts,” he said.
The 32-page book, which has 32 poems, is simply a great creation of art.
The simple lines in which he describes his subjects are a marvel. The simple language and choice of diction is a plus which makes the book a must-read.
In the first part of the book, Chilango praises a selected number of musicians, including rappers Fredokiss and Gwamba. He also dedicates poems to female musicians Leslie and Princess Matiki.
In a poem specially dedicated to Fredokiss, Chilango writes: “You are jewel to the ghetto masses, you have unimpeachable manners,
“You are the most impeccable, you are there is,
“Honourable Kalua, you are the juice after talent, generosity and exclellence have been blended.”
In the second chapter, Chilango takes his time to heap praises on a number of models. He talks of models such as Vuyiswa Tonono Mphalitso Kwachigwada, Thandie Chisi, Jescar Mponda, Tayamika Dillag and Juliana Banda.
The challenge with this chapter, however, is that while in some of the poems he is able to give the reader an idea of the model’s achievements, in the majority he does not, leaving some readers in suspense as they do not know the models in question.
On a positive note, he uses language that truly describes a beautiful woman and that makes his writing beautiful.
In the third and fourth chapters, Chilango paints a picture of the talents of visual artists and writers.
It gives him room to celebrate fellow writers such as Joseph Sukali, Annette Nalikungwi and Emmanuel Mphasa.
In general, the poetry anthology is a good read. However, the publisher chose a small font in printing the words, leaving huge spaces unused.
Reacting to the publication, renowned writer and former Malawi Writers Union president Sambalikagwa Mvona said these days not many writers are writing poetry.
“Poetry is a little bit difficult to write as it needs to use several devices. For one to write poetry, they need patience and practice. This young man has been courageous to pen an anthology of poetry,” he said.
Mvona said reading the book, it is clear that the up-and-coming poet took his time.
“More students should be encouraged to write more and more books locally. Universities should be encouraged to use local books by our own writers,” he said.
Chilango is an award-winning writer and gender activist who is also a student at University of Malawi formerly Chancellor College. He is studying for a bachelor of arts in communication and cultural studies, majoring public relations.
His other books are Capacity Building, Whispers of Beating Hearts and Rhymes of a Phoenix. He has also contributed to several publications, including Journal of African Youth Literature, African Poetry Anthology, African Writers Space and Photo Booth Magazine.