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Thanks to Ambassador Ibiyinka Olufeme Alao!

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The World Affairs Council of Harrisburg thanks Honorary Nigerian Arts Ambassador Ibiyinka Olufeme Alao for a fantastic keynote at the 2014 International Poetry and Storytelling Festival.

Congratulations to the  1st place winner of the International Poetry and Storytelling Festival, Daunessy Pen.

Miss Pen’s winning entry:

[sang]Strange fruit

Hanging from the poplar Trees

Blood on the leaves

Blood on the leaves

Black bodies hanging from the trees


It’s next to her it’s sleeps in between her consciousness,

restlessness leads to selflessness and now

it’s apart of her flesh. Love fled and salvation

bled from wrists split by a sharp silver tip held

between fingertips tainted, the Mona Lisa was painted

and when done she fainted too much blood lost for love

and her life would be the cost or so she thought.


Loving eyes stare at her face pale, bare yes

they do love but they never really do care her life need

not be spared silently she hated GOD for putting her back here.

Now, her dress is sheer heels high, make up just right

she smells just like a woman should smell as she steps

into hell and sits with Lucifer.


Again he holds something silver but it’s heavier

this time she knows she could end life if her aim

is just right. She holds the piece tight, freight seeps

in as she thinks of the sound but she can’t put the gun down,

she drops her jaw and puts it in her mouth no she’s sick

she doesn’t even want her own death to be quick, she would

much rather suffers she remembers her lover the one who now


refuses to love her. Her hand lowers the gun she remembers the

love they made from the dusk to the rising of the sun.

Make sure the gun is loaded she remembers how her

emotions imploded when she was scolded for being in love,

she remembers how it was gun pressed between her breast no

images in her head nothing to take back all she wishes to see is

all black so she cocks back and sends her heart to where her lover is at and lets go.


Snow, it’s white as snow behind her eyes and then fell the

darkest night she opened her eyes to red, white, and blue lights

again they try to save her life but in her mind it’s not right so she

fights to die. She’s alone now with the walls the sheets and the

socks she wears on her feet a small bible faced down and a single

chair on the ground nothing but piercing silence all

around, nothing in her mind she can’t even cry no way to end

her life, kill the strife. Just white walls and silence her loud mind

falls silent and memories begin to echo where does an insane mind

in love go? How does confinement let love go?

Time …moves ..slow…..


A sheet, a chair, a fan and a plan love will not

kill her it will be by her own two hands on the chair she

stands ties the sheet to the fan love had her convinced that

she will hang legs now as firm as they’ve ever been its dark now

so the cameras can’t see her sins, it’s lights out now so

she has to win. Love has her determined on her knees she

begged for love at the brink of she covered up on her spirits

she relied and in those spirits she died. In the secrets of love

she sank and now for death for relief for peace she gives thanks.