Sunday, March 20, 2011

21st March World Poetry Day-Just as surprised as you are!

This is my daughter Zion by the fish tank at China Bowl Restaurant. Children and water are very important elements to me as a writer.
I am a struggling poet, who, after finding it such an upheaval task to write a good sonnet and find at least two readers who will understand my rhyme, then someone tells me it’ s World Poetry Day, March 21st. By the way thanks Ben Oluka. I looked into my overwhelming source of embarrassment at this lack of knowledge but unflinchingly, I convinced myself that I was glad to be learning something new. This is what I have learned thanks to the search engines that have taken over our traditional libraries.
World Poetry Day is on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999. The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout THE WORLD (Wikipedia) It was generally celebrated in October, sometimes on the 25th, but in the latter part of the 18th Century the world community celebrated it on 31 October, the birthday of Virrina rominouse maximus, the Roman epic poet and poet laureate under Augustus. (Wikipedia).
Now that I know that for centuries communities somewhere have been celebrating the teaching of this great art from which eruptions of discussion, argument on its form and structure, contemporary poetry battling it out with traditional forms and so on, I am quite pleased. Discussions of poetry for me make my brain work and appreciate that good art takes great work. Was it one of the Bronte sisters who decided that for a good writer, you either chose the art or the other path of life like marriage and family but you could not have both. Delving into this is like trying to split a mustard seed. Poetry does not come easy. Those who say or think it does are possibly the type of poet whose poem fades away as fast as water washes over a print in the sand. X.J Kennedy said, Poetic fame, like sea-water isn’t worth thirsting for. And also that You don’t need to publish a thousand poems in order o become immortal; you need publish only one poem, if it’s good enough.
Such sentiments make me feel like collecting all the poems I have ever shown anyone and redressing them. Feedback on art is an extremely difficult path because many argue that creativity is suffocated with the rules and regulations and a very good friend told me that if Emily Dickinson had stuck to rules, she would have never been, or that we would have never experienced the romantic era. I can now boldly say this is untrue because further reading brings me to another great quote (do the quotes make me seem academic or just a lazy show off). Anyway, that Poets will sometimes comment that they do not want to be bothered with all that stuff about material and assonance and craft, because it doesn’t come naturally...But once one’s craft becomes second nature, it is not an infringement on one’s natural gift ..if anything, it is an enlargement of them....(William Packard, 1988: 372).
Like I said, getting people to agree on what poetry is and what it should do is like trying to split a mustard seed. So, World Poetry Day is on 21st March. I will certainly read the Monitor newspaper for selfish reasons and finish off The Trial of Dedan Kimathi which I should have but there is this darned series called Criminal Minds and for this week, it has controlled my creative space and I blame it for making me sound like a loony bin. I just love good acting.
For what it’s worth, enjoy World Poetry Day and for poets and lovers of poetry, let the language of poetry take you places you will never forget.


  1. OK... After tagging you in one of my notes on facebook, I somehow hoped to get some piece of advice, comment or tips on how to write good poems... But I guess you must have been engrossed in some absorbing Series of sorts. It goes like this;


    You were indeed for world cup,
    When the world cup first got hosted on African soil,
    But you were more than just a world cup year…
    Such a revelation you were,
    In quite more ways than one!

    You granted me a chance to fly…
    But you still couldn’t let me have Christmas with my family,
    Conniving with my boss so I could end the year in Zambia!
    So from Lusaka I write this,
    Grouching and grinning in turn…
    As homesickness and fiscal delight take turns to define my emotions!

    Hillsongs, James Blunt & Eminem continued to rule my world,
    My music world, that is…
    Of occasional bliss on one side,
    And sheer petulance and melancholy on the other
    Mixed feelings is all I could call it,
    Since I couldn’t tell what it really was!

    And yes, it was in 2010,
    That my emotions finally got the better of me,
    And decided I no longer wished to stay alone…
    My mind’s now mused on some benign damsel,
    Making me look forward to D-day!

    You were the year,
    In which I met Bev & Bake,
    Two mortals that inadvertently inspired me to write on,
    Even as I tried to squeeze time in my rather tight schedule
    This was all in 365 days,
    At times I felt you were just too short,
    But on the whole you were, indeed, a great year!

    -Dan B. Atuhaire

  2. Thanks Dan for this, I can easily understand your sentiments towards the year 2010 and indeed hosting world cup in 2010 was amazing. Also, yoiur encouragement to write and the fact that you spent Chrstmas in Zambia.
    Poetically, i would definitely use more imagery , that is one suggestion. Try relating the year and your experience to something near to it for example by saying when yoiu missed Christmas at home yiou felt like a fish on dry land struggling fopr breath because of the unfamiliarity. I would also economise on some lines for the purpose of the rhythm. The following two lines are too long for a poem that is supposed to convey feelings of sorts.
    Two mortals that inadvertently inspired me to write on,
    Even as I tried to squeeze time in my rather tight schedule
    Some opf the messages are very obvous like conniving wth my bos and therfore feels like a diary and not a poem. Make it more musical, use imagery and read it to yourself some more as well.
    I hope this is helpful.

  3. Thanks Bev for the advice... I hope I will get better.