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The Quest for Poetry – Storymoja Writers’ Blog


I have long declared myself ‘not a poet’, ‘not good with poetry’, ‘excuses bla bla bla’, even though I do occasionally drop some lines of poetry.

Here, I now declare that I shall endeavour not to proclaim excuses for the refusal to build up on my strengths. So I have set out on a quest to discover poetry.

It is my belief that some of you dear Storymoja Readers, know a lot more than I do on this topic. So I beg of you to exercise patience, correct me where I am wrong, and guide me in my discovery. As for everyone else, I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I know I will. Grab your gear, we are going up!

I first set out on a quest for the definition of poetry. This is the one I settled on, and at this point I must say I had a lot of help, from many different books, and writers, but mainly from Mark Flanagan’s decision to wrestle poetry and slap a sign on him that says, ‘I am Poetry. Kick Me.’

Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has been known to employ meter and rhyme, but this is by no means necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has gone through numerous and drastic reinvention over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define.

Remembering my English Lit classes in high school, I just shudder at the thought of rhyme and meter. But as Ms. Nicholls, my English teacher put do much effort to make me understand and enjoy poetry, I feel the need to go past my fear.

One of the most definable characteristics of the poetic form is economy of language. Poets are miserly and unrelentingly critical in the way they dole out words to a page. Carefully selecting words for conciseness and clarity is standard, even for writers of prose, but poets go well beyond this, considering a word’s emotive qualities, its musical value, its spacing, and yes, even its spacial relationship to the page. The poet, through innovation in both word choice and form, seemingly rends significance from thin air.

At this point I think I can barely understand why I am afraid of poetry. I love words. I like to use them in abundance, whether in speech or in writing. And so to master the discipline of brevity, aiyayaii! I must try though.

Poetry is artistically rendering words in such a way as to evoke intense emotion or an Ah Ha! experience from the reader.

Hm… I must admit, that whenever I read or listen to great poets, I must say I am amazed by their ability to hang portent emotions on just a word, or two.

Pointing at the moon
Reminded of simple things
Moments matter most
B.Y. Penman

I know, right? I’d probably have gone on to describe the moon, and then mention every single simple thing that tugs at the strings of my heart, and list every moment that I will remember eternally.

Well, my poetry, your poetry, haikus, sonnets, free verse, odes, epigrams, all poetry!

Here is this month’s poetry exhibition. We will feature 12 poems that have made it into the editor’s cut, and which you can come back over the next four weeks and vote for. The poem that receives the most poems will feature as the Poem of the Month, and might stand a chance to win books from the Storymoja Collection.1. Amongst Kings by Kiongo Karanja

  1. Amongst Kings by Kiongo Karanja

  2. I Will Not Love Yet by Julius Muriungi

  3. It is Time by Arimi Martha

  4. Love at Last Sight by Oluoch Madiang’

  5. Marry me by Anthony Gashagua

  6. Necessity by Mwana Kadhalika

  7. Sing Me a Song by Eric Gichira

  8. The Bleed by Wathingira Gituro

  9. The Creeper by Beth Nduta Waweru

  10. The Naked Preacher by David Kagwi

  11. The Wailing by JKS Makokha

  12. Where did the beauty go to by Quentin Jodera

Next time, we shall spend a little time with sonnets.

Next month, we will discuss sonnets, but we will feature poetry that falls under the following theme:

Red, Black, White, Green.

You can either:

  1. Write a poem, any type of poem, that features only one of those colours.
  2. Write a sonnet that features all four of those colours.

Send in your poetry in word attachment to by Friday 25th February 2011. Mark your email subject as: Red, Black, White, Green.



One comment on “The Quest for Poetry – Storymoja Writers’ Blog

  1. Cecilia
    February 28, 2011

    Hi,this has just rekindled my love for poems,words carefully arranged are powerful.


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This entry was posted on January 31, 2011 by in Writer's Blog.
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