Thursday, January 20, 2011

Poets I love you, but...

I am mortified. I attended the weekly readers-writers club of FEMRITE and I am still reeling with mortification. A young gentleman hands in a poem with the first verse copied word for word from a hip hop song and wants us to glorify his writing. Another lad hands in a poem which is not bad just rather confusing. The problem is not the pieces themselves because we all learn from sharing, it is the attitude of these lads. Why do you submit pieces if you cannot listen to unanimous and honest feedback from the people who have taken time to read your work? Why do you sit and defend a piece of writing and yet it is obvious from the fifteen voices around you that there is need for improvement. It is the attitude that appalls me and while the club is and will always be a brilliant idea, I hold my reservation. The readers-club reminds me how and why I started the BN Poetry Award for women. I find women much easier to communicate with in the world of arts. They are more responsive and teachable in my opinion. When I held a poetry training workshop last year in October and gave feedback to the participants of the award, it was easy to engage with the poets, not so for most men; and so I will not include men in this competition to answer many of your questions. However, men are always welcome in the workshops and other poetry events because I have met some very talented poets.
I have come to realize that poetry is a tough world to live in. Some foreigners to this exotic world think that it is about muse, inspiration and rhyme. Others think that it is about love, sweetness and mushy feelings and still others are convinced that it is about lyrics. The true dwellers, whose faces and minds have been hardened and sharpened from the wisdom that is poetry; know that it is Robert Frost’s Road Less Travelled. They know that it is the beard that shapes Jajja’s face after 5 decades of marriage. The true citizens of poetry land understand the rings around the trunk of the great oak that have weathered the years. Poetry is hard work. It is like selling a ten- year business plan. It is like convincing your child to take vegetables and cod liver oil. The muse and inspiration and feelings are fine. Then there is the research, the editing, the reading and re-reading, the memorizing and placing the words on the page with the right shape. Does the poem sound like a poem? What does it look like? How do I feel after reading it? How do others feel? I will think of all this before I call myself a poet again.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Thinking with my heart not head.

Those two are the Corry boys, sons to my friends. Dear Journalists, take note.

I really do wish u a great year, 2011. I do not with you drastic change because that is superficial and we rarely learn anything from that. I wish you gradual change which enters us and gives us time to learn and grow from it. For those who have wished me well and send me love thank you. I have noticed that some of you who are sending me your undying love and elastic prayers, why is it whenever we go out, I am the one paying? I really hope that changes. I sincerely have a big problem with people who work and never ever offer to pay for a meal or cup of coffee. My sister started earning money from selling jewelry and washing cars while still a secondary school student. You don’t need the money to show heart, you just need the heart.

So dear friends, use your heart this year and I speak to myself. Using my heart this year. I must thank Kampvita press for being such dears and offering to publish the poems of the BN poetry award annual project and also the outstanding ones of the school project. Since I quit my job, I need such news for my heart because this is a year of following the heart. My head doesn’t always give me the right answers.

My recommendations this year. You must watch For coloured girls. No discussion. You must all read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.No discussion there either.