So%2BYou%2BWant%2BTo%2BBe%2BA%2BPoet %2BStefn%2BSylvester%2BAnyatonwu%2B%25281%2529

Hello, I believe the first series of this article tasted like finely brewed wine. Here’s the continuation. 

But before we dive into the main course, I have a few questions for you. 

  1. Were you able to write, at least, a poem over the weekend?
  2. If yes, what challenges did you encounter?
  3. What inspired your poem?
  4. Do you think you did your best?
  5. Mind sharing the poem with me?
  6. If yes, send me a message via Facebook messenger, let’s discuss.

Alright, on to the next series.

Revise, Revise, Revise!

I don’t think people talk about revision enough. I have never been used to revision, and it caught up to me. 

Whatever you create, right off the first go, is usually not a masterpiece

Some people say that the rawness of a first draft is indicative of its true power. Well, true. But a poem is made of a few parts, one being heart and one being craft, I think. 

What you write first is the heart of the poem. And then craft is where technique comes in. This is when you finesse it, color in the lines, rework language to better translate those initial emotions. Or erase it altogether (although I do recommend saving even your bad drafts as a beginner).

How best to revise? Make community of like minds, poets, lover of literature and/or family and friends. Recite to them. Listen, observe, critique, and be critiqued with grace.

A friend of mine would say, ‘Stefn, to become a “real poet,” you have to get an MFA or study English’.

That’s not true. There are many wonderful poets from all walks of life, and spending money on a degree doesn’t make you any more of a poet. It may present opportunities with international awards, but you can also find that in local community writing groups, by taking a class online, or by going to local literary readings.

If your city has a limited art scene, Facebook provides a good way to initially meet poets, too. Find poets, befriend them. Join poetry groups, like Poemify, share your work and read others’.

I would say Facebook poets made me the writer I am today. It doesn’t come easily, though; like friendship, it’s something you work at.

Try to get published, or Don’t!

When you think you’ve reached a point where your poetry is impatiently waiting to get into the world, you can submit your work to different magazines, online blogs, or journals and try your feathers on the airspace. See how far your poetry can fly.

Make 100% sure you read the magazine’s “submissions” page and follow each rule correctly. Editors are not into submissions that don’t follow the rules! Don’t let that scare you, though. They are just rules for regulation purposes. Alright?

Here’s a list of Nigerian online blogs where you can submit your poems for publication. 
But if you don’t want to publish your work, that’s OKAY, too. That doesn’t make you any less a poet. Print your poems out, make art with them, or keep them hidden away for yourself, as a talisman. Your words have power, you know. 

Create a space online for your poetry. Poetry is part business.

Now, if your goal is to publish your work and build a name for yourself, create an author website. Even if you don’t have anything published, build a quick blog/website with a picture, your name (or pseudonym), and a bio about you.

Need inspiration? Here’s my author website. Dive in and swim in my pool of words.

You can also google any of the poets you love. Chances are they have a website, too!

Eventually and very importantly, you may want to brand your social media to your poetry — you can share it, or simply list that you’re poet. Share other poems, tweet to other poets, and generally take part in the conversation.

Remember that poetry is not a competition or a race.

Write for you. 
Don’t worry about what other people think or do or win.
Don’t rush your work; the best work comes naturally and is let into the world when it’s ready.
Treat yourself and your work kindly.
Look at the little things in life. The seemingly mundane, the quiet, the shadow, the political, the self, the body, the belief, the disbelief, the beauty, the ugliness, the in-between, the death and the life — that’s where poetry hides.

Always listen, always play, always touch, always question, always watch. Nothing is off-limits. Everything is yours.

Lastly, and most importantly, avoid cliché.

I mention this because I believe it is the poison of all good poetry. Perhaps cliché is subjective. Perhaps my last paragraph was a giant cliché. But please, poet, stray from Hallmark card language.

Stray from the obvious.
Stray from language you’ve heard before.
Resist the urge to recycle words, phrases and cliches.
Push yourself to use language in new ways, to express yourself with words that don’t come bundled together in a neat little package.
Be creative!

You have millions of words (and millions more if you are bi or multilingual). Also, you have an added advantage if you can go bi-lingual with your poetry. Try a fusion of your mother tongue and English, Igbo and English, Italian and English, Arabic and English, Sanskirt and English. Just be creative.

Be wild.

Enjoyed reading? Please help my blog grow by leaving a comment and sharing with friends. Thank you!

30, a collection of poems by Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachị Anyatọnwụ
Jaachị Anyatọnwụ is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachị is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Independently verified
14 reviews