Celebrating East African Writing!

Happy to Play – July Poetry

This weekend I had the joy of listening to two poems by two different poets being read out loud.

One moved me with the emotion and bursts of imagery. I was left with pictures of boots, bullets, blood and anger flashing on my head. I noticed that there was rhythm and metre most of the way, but there were also lines where the rhythm just wasn’t there. So asked the poet why that was. His answer: The lines that deserved form got it, those that did not, did not deserve it.

I then listened to a poem that pitted two world against each other, the traditional and the avant garde, the insane and the somewhat lucid, the young and the ancient. The contrasts were so vast and yet so subtle, but they tore at the fabric that held each world together. When I asked, I just had to, the author’s answer was simple: Insanity is just a metaphor, even in the real world, lunacy just represents everything we are afraid of.

Both of these poets are experienced in their verse, comfortable with the bursts of imagery and colours, happy to play with words to transmit these images to us, their readers, or listeners.

So I wondered of there is something that can make any writer develop tp those levels of expertise and creative versatility. Sure enough there are many tools and tips that can be found online, which would no doubt help you as a writer and a poet. I thought it would be prudent to share the list below.

36 Poetry Writing Tips by Melissa Donovan

  1. Read lots of poetry. In fact, read a lot of anything if you want to produce better writing.
  2. Write poetry as often as you can.
  3. Designate a special notebook (or space in your notebook) for poetry writing.
  4. Try writing in form (sonnets, haiku, etc.).
  5. Use imagery.
  6. Embrace metaphors but stay away from cliches.
  7. Sign up for a poetry writing workshop.
  8. Expand your vocabulary.
  9. Read poems over and over (and aloud). Consider them, analyze them.
  10. Join a poetry forum online.
  11. Study musicality in writing (rhythm and meter).
  12. Use poetry prompts when you’re stuck.
  13. Be funny. Make a funny poem.
  14. Notice what makes others’ poetry memorable. Capture it, mix it up, and make it your own.
  15. Try poetry writing exercises when you’ve got writer’s block.
  16. Study biographies of famous (or not-so-famous) poets.
  17. Memorize a poem (or two, or three, or more).
  18. Revise and rewrite your poems to make them stronger and more compelling.
  19. Have fun with puns.
  20. Don’t be afraid to write a bad poem. You can write a better one later.
  21. Find unusual subject matter — a teapot, a shelf, a wall.
  22. Use language that people can understand. 
  23. Meditate before writing poetry to clear your mind and gain focus. 
  24. Keep a notebook with you at all times so you can write whenever (and wherever) inspiration strikes.
  25. Submit your poetry to literary magazines and journals.
  26. When you submit work, accept rejection and try again and again. You can do it and you will. 
  27. Get a website or blog and publish your own poetry.
  28. Connect with other poets to share and discuss the craft that is poetry writing. 
  29. Attend a poetry reading or slam poetry event. 
  30. Subscribe to a poetry podcast and listen to poetry.
  31. Support poets and poetry by buying books and magazines that feature poetry. 
  32. Write with honesty. Don’t back away from your thoughts or feelings. Express them!
  33. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Mix art and music with your poetry. Perform it and publish it.
  34. Eliminate all unnecessary words, phrases, and lines. Make every word count.
  35. Write a poem every single day.
  36. Read a poem every single day.
[See Original Article by Melissa Donovan here]

So that said, and you having taken notes, allow me to usher you into this month’s poetry Exhibition.

  1. Amorous Release by Ivory Confessions
  1. Endless Dreams by Meshack Sewe
  1. Justice by Gedion Bore
  1. You Are by Dantez Mwendwa
  1. Breaking Chains by Nixon Mateulah

Enjoy and have a wonderful week!

Next month’s the Genre and Subject of Verse will be Open. Please send in your poetry to Make sure you clearly mark in the subject line: Verse for the Blog. All other submissions that arrive without this subject line will be archived for a later exhibition. Your deadline is Sunday, July 31st, at 4pm.



One comment on “Happy to Play – July Poetry

  1. Kenyan Hasibu Jobs
    July 6, 2011

    It shall take time to store all the 36 in the medulla


Comments are closed.


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