This year, we received 1574 submissions for the poetry contest. There were several competitive pieces in the pool for the prize.
We appreciate our judges: Adetola E. Babalola, Timi Sanni, Damilola Omotoyinbo, Modester C. Alo, Abdulmueed Balogun, and Grillo A. Oluwalogbon for taking the time to select the worthy finalists.
We congratulate the winner, Olalekan Daniel Kehinde and the runner-ups: Negedu Lucky (first runner-up) and Alfred Olaiya (second runner-up).
We also congratulate the selected notable mentions: Olaogun Olasubomi Oreoluwa and Anita Godwin Michael.
Coronach of a Mass Death by Olalekan Daniel Kehinde
i do not care if there are metaphors lying around these bones or not
for the imageries may turn our burning bodies to euphemistic flakes of beautiful things
when we are metonymy for dead dreams & our feet kiss blood in search of refuge.
here, we play dead & teach our children how to take cover, even on a Sabbath, because
the time & season when the gun men come, no one knows.
the bishop says two can be together & one is taken away
but the church was in mass when all of us were blown
& the smoke from our bodies ascended like the aroma of incense sacrificed
to God in the Old testaments. Lord, if the earth is your footstool,
look under & you will see our bones crushed between its legs.
Olalekan Daniel Kehinde (he/him), NGP XII, is an Afro-being, essayist and poet. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in PIN anthologies, BPPC anthologies, NSPP anthologies, The Peace Exhibit Journal, African Writers Magazine, Inkspired anthology, Woven Poetry, The Shallow Tales Review, Upwrite Magazine, Poetry Column NND, Agbowó, and lots more. He has been longlisted in NSPP 2020 and 2021 respectively, shortlisted in PIN AFPC 2020, BPPC Feb-March 2021 winner, a finalist in NNDP 2020, a finalist in PIN Glassdoor PWC 2021 and 2nd Runner-up PIN 10-Day Challenge March 2022. He currently studies English and Literature Education as an undergraduate in the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. He is on Instagram and Twitter as @dapenmustgro
fIRST RUNNER UP
The Road by Negedu Lucky
The ragged road home
is filled with traps and stones
Where bandits banter for bread and butter
By fishing pathetic passing passengers.
A dandy drunk policeman dares to shoot a daring driver
"I will kill you; this willy nilly wanker and no query will I answer".
Money monkey from hands to hands
As drivers and officers shake hands in tight bonds
On the road do potholes know what tires to swallow?
Do fishers of men know what pocket is shallow?
Negedu Lucky is from Kogi state. He completed his primary and secondary education at Lagos state before pursuing a tertiary education in Kogi. He is an aspiring writer and teacher at a secondary school in Kano state.
Negedu is a graduate of English and Literary studies from Kogi state University, where his writing creatively formed. He was influenced from reading the likes of Christopher Okigbo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ngugi WaThiongo. Although, he is yet to publish any work, he constantly focuses on writing political and philosophical poems online (Facebook especially). He also own a blog - negezilarkhi.WordPress.com.
In writing, his major focus is simplicity in presentation of subject matter. He believes, poetry should not be too verbose and overly sophisticated or else it will lose its meaningfulness.
second RUNNER UP
A Dialogue of Hope by Alfred Olaiya
Fisherman: Wayfarer on the mat of this sleeping water,
Sailing from the breast of the falling cloud,
When the sun gets dizzy in its spell
And the lips of the river weave no melody
What song do you sing to my ears?
Wind: Hear, man of the blue,
The rhythm in my cold whispers,
As my limbs sweep this tide into your delicate heart,
Everything good will come.
Alfred Olaiya is a student of English and Literary Studies in Federal University of Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), indigine of Ekiti state, an avid consumer of African Literature with an enthusiastic spirit towards the reawakening and upliftment of African culture and heritage. Olaiya has written several impressive pieces and also been published, severally, in the monthly publication of the English Writers Association (EWA), FUOYE chapter and Best New African Poets (BNAP) Anthology.
notable mention - semifinalist
Where The Sunbeams Play by Olaogun Olasubomi Oreoluwa
Where the sunbeams play under the oak tree's shade
Where we danced all day and time seemed never to fade
I watched our memories drift away as we both began to age
Happy times fading to gray and leaving but a grainy image
But I shall hold on to all that is left as long as my time shall last
For death has done it's best but our love, nothing shall pull apart
Where the sunbeams play and time never waned we laughed with all of our heart
I shall hold on to all that is left till for the yonder, I depart.
Olaogun Olasubomi, was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She is an aspiring writer hoping to one day, be known all over the world for her stories. The annual SprinNG Poetry Contest is the first contest where she has gone very far and she hopes to get more opportunities to assess her writing skills and be put out there. Other than writing, she loves drawing and painting.
NOTABLE MENTION - SEMIFINALIST
The Dreamer's Ramblings by Anita Godwin Michael
The vultures are throwing a party in the garden: Red is the costume, black is the mask.
Alone is the game, depression the player.
Just one card in the pack, might well be the joker.
Lyrics tasting like aloes after the tune fades into shadows.
Buried ghosts that never truly die.
The past is a mortuary with open coffins.
Undertakers keep forgetting their hammers and nails; Amnesia, the word of the day.
Someday, death might learn the art of staying dead.
Meanwhile, a little girl chases a feather in the wind.
Someday, little girls with big dreams will fly.
Anita Michael is a Poet, Spoken Word Artiste, Voice Actor, content creator and Founder Of Street Mentors Network, a Nonprofit organization which takes care of homeless children abandoned on the streets.
Anita was nominated as a Finalist On UBA Africa Poetry Day Contest List In 2018 And One-Time First Runner Up Of The Port Harcourt Literary Society Poetry Contest. She won the IMUN Award of Excellence on Best Position Paper Of UNICEF, conference 59.0, 2021. She was also nominated for the Illustrious African Writers Awards in the category of outstanding Spoken Word Artiste of the year, 2022, BEWA Festival.
Anita is creative, spontaneous, vivacious, captivating, and always a pleasure to listen to. When she is not writing or sharing her knowledge, she is learning or taking care of street children.