The international poetry festival of Medellin celebrated 25 years of bringing poetry to the people- A cultural revolution of healing decades of pain from the Colombian wars from July 11th to July 18th, 2015 and I was there as a guest poet and coordinator of the World Poetry School. I am the 7th Nigerian to be invited to this wonderful festival. The Nigerian Poets who have attended as guest poets are- Odia Ofeimun 2000, Wole Soyinka 2005, Toyin Adewale 2006, Niyi Osundare, Obi Nwakanma, and Chris Abani.
The festival promotes cultural networking and exchange. The cultural networking is evident in a multitude of the different continents and countries represented at the festival. The event is an opportunity to celebrate poetry and culture as well as provide a platform where we are able to underscore the diversity of cultures- the creative perspective of poets themselves, as well as the perspective of different cultures regarding the reading and performance of poetry. Poetry is the foundation and culmination of all the literary genres that provide the basis for understanding and exploring the essence of culture. The festival organizers realize that their role is to create truly meaningful development possibilities in Colombia, healing, reconciliation and peace. The festival provides a space for the audiences to get acquainted with poetry from different continents. This gave the poets the opportunity to create an enriching dialogue; the festival allows the poets to create a fascinating intellectual exchange with other poets. We met, listened to and interacted.
The audiences were ecstatic with fire. The amphitheaters were full- always!
The festival gave a wide platform for expression and exchange between all the participants, and the poets and audiences. There were poetry readings and performances in different parts of Medellin, Bogota, Cali – all over Colombia.
WOW! It was a wonderful experience, I felt like my heart exploded open with so much love, so much warmth, so much energy, so much poetry, and so much light beams! Poetry reached my soul.
Here in the garden of poems there are glad years of colours. Here poets
come in and the air is delighted. Here poems
grow on trees well versed.
Here sweet blend of flowers read with fire the lyrics of life.
Here poems sprout deep within Over there
they slept beside me
and the storm drowned.
©ayo ayoola-amale 2015
The 2nd World Poetry Summit for Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia within the framework of the 25th Medellin International Poetry Festival, between July 13 and 17, was celebrated around three themes: The tasks of poetry and art in the construction of peace, a new language and a new culture in Colombia; Poetry and Art: defense of the Earth and of all living beings and Poetry is the feasible impossible: global actions for changing life. The unrelenting building of peace is our responsibility- The responsibilities of building the peace of dignity and human respect serves a deep internal purpose.
There were in attendance, the Festival’s guest poets and audience from different parts of the world, researchers, peace and human rights activists, social leaders, journalists and intellectuals. A series of activities addressed to the general public, such as plays, concerts and conferences and lectures were also held.
The truth is that poets have an obligation to add value to lives through poetry- to leave this world better than they found it. In a world no one knows how to love anymore. Poets for peace shed tears of awakening, of love, of beauty and light. We teach others how to live. We teach the art of living.
I believe in vision with action. As a poet and peace builder, I get satisfaction from making progress by joining my vision with the right action.
Peace poems have the power to develop our humanity, to shift listeners into higher states of consciousness and empower them to tap into the splendor of unlimited potential. Through the powerful combination of life –changing poems, innovative mind sets and transformative processes, poets are providing pathways where people could be more prosperous, be inspired, have passion, meaning and fulfillment in their lives.
Poetry is the reflection of the world and humanity. Poetry is an art for the nurturing of the spirit.
The fact is that peace is enshrined within us loud as silence.
Let us continue to nurture each other’s humanity for when humanity flourishes, an awakened self develops and recognizes the richness of the human heart.

The wholeness of dawn peels In this silence where cloak souls freeze solid.                                                                             A world we want and want not melts into barrenness In a courtyard toys trigger and communities spill from wombs
Jump numb, say evaporate, And storms full under by description, by no description.                                                            And all is an answer.
That heavy toy breathes at my side, sleeps with me. This scrum of appetite is dusk returning to dusk
Like a volcano, discharges “crash crack, create bridges, break bridges. Our hissing heavens, the gorgeous rubbles
Silent sky-high beyond and beyond drags its wings and tucks a few like fingers away.                                                               And all is an answer
A snowstorm running in wild terror and more snowstorms growing in, growing out into what all have grown.                    understanding that understanding is impossible, a heartbeat of a world that never had one nestles on hanging loose                                                                                                                                                                            crumbling and unending                                                                                                                                                                                 And all is an answer seeking to understand or understanding                                                                                                                                                                            the only war here is man.
©ayo ayoola-amale 2015
Poetry is the voice. Poetry is the true voice. The true voice is the poet’s voice. Poetry is the thunder of singing hearts. Poetry is the dancing petal frothed in love. Poetry is the fingers of life bringing wholeness.
We need poetry. We really do. Poetry promotes literacy, builds community, and fosters emotional resilience. It can cross boundaries that little else can.
Personally, poetry makes me feel life! I am always very happy contributing to something greater than myself- happy to give birth to the great things and let them grow- to open to the true and joy of being. Just now I walked beneath the greening branches; within the infinite folds- I heard the true voice:
We awaken from drunken stagnation,
forgot that the self exists
and found the dawn.
-humanity is my sun.
©ayo ayoola-amale 2015

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