Celebrating East African Writing!

Singing for Freedom – Storymoja Poetry Exhibit

Since time immemorial, humanity has been concerned with freedom. The world’s most controversial debates, the politics, the wars, cultural movements… All have been built around freedom. Freedom to live, freedom to love, freedom to choose, freedom to vote, freedom to speak, freedom to worship, freedom to criticise, freedom to build nuclear weapons, freedom to belong to a homeland, freedom, freedom, freedom…

Freedom has been immortalised in prose, song lyrics, spoken poetry, written poetry, even chants in the middle of Tahrir Square and Tianamen Square,  on the streets of Manama, Nairobi, Tehran, Johanesburg, even London, Paris and Buenos Aires.

In Freedom Plow, Langston Hughes, he of the Harlem Rennaissance wrote:

When a man starts out with nothing,

When a man starts out with his hands

Empty, but clean,

When a man starts to build a world,

He starts first with himself

And the faith that is in his heart-

The strength there,

The will there to build.

And just as much as he has fought for his freedom, so has man found himself time and again violating the freedom of others, chaining himself to his own perception of freedom that he himself is a slave to it. Khalil Gibran speaks of it in Freedom XIV:

At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,

Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

It has been done, and it will yet be done, the writing of verse to sing for freedom. And so with this in mind, let us see now your perceptions of freedom in the submitted poems.

  1. Dark Future
  2. I want my Freedom
  3. Dirge of Life
  4. Unsaid
  5. Your House

Just a little note on Sonnets:

English (or Shakespearean) sonnets are lyric poems that are 14 lines long falling into three coordinate quatrains and a concluding couplet. Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnets are divided into two quatrains and a six-line sestet.

In February I requested you to submit colour sonnets. I did get one excellent submission from Stephen D. Partington which you can now look at Ensign by Stephen Derwent Partington.

Next month the Genre of verse will be Sonnet, and the topic is Books or Reading. Please send in your poetry to Make sure you clearly mark in the subject line: Sonnet. All other submissions that arrive without this subject line will be archived for a later exhibition. Winner awards will be announced later. Your deadline is Sunday, April 30th, at 4pm.

One comment on “Singing for Freedom – Storymoja Poetry Exhibit

  1. kiiru
    April 4, 2011

    Lovely pieces, hard to pick a favourite so I won’t even bother. Is it possible to make a late submission?


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This entry was posted on April 4, 2011 by in Writer's Blog.
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