Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writing Opportunity: Ankara Press

Ankara Press is devoted to publishing easy-to-read, purse-size romantic fiction titles with African settings, storylines and characters. We believe that one way to get young people reading is to introduce them to short, snazzy, fast-paced stories about the life they live or yearn to live. The stories will be engaging, and above all, they will allow women to see the best version of themselves in print. These purse-novellas will be issued at regular monthly intervals.

Women of all ages have always enjoyed romance. They ask for it in their movies, their music, from their lovers and in their books. But in Africa, they have had to find it in the pages of Western series like Mills and Boon, Silhouette and other Harlequin titles. It is time that the continent’s rising consumer class gets romances that reflect the complexity of their modern lives.

Our reader 
She is young, single and confident with some money in her purse and time to read. She is (or wants to be) financially independent, ambitious and interested in challenging boundaries and going beyond expectations. She enjoys fashion, Nollywood films, contemporary African pop music and she wants to see herself reflected in what she consumes in her leisure time.

What we are looking for
We are looking for strong, original voices to write romance novels for the African market. But we don’t want stories that simply recreate traditional romances. Often, these rely on dangerous notions of male dominance, control and manipulation that have done great harm to women all over the world. Many women tolerate abusive situations because they wrongly believe that this is what romance should look like.

We are looking for a new kind of romance. One in which the thrill of fantasy is alive but realized in a healthier, more grounded reality. One that gives women the tools to shape their own destinies. We want romances in which strong, capable female characters meet handsome, charming men who are secure in their identities and respectful of a woman’s choices.The novels should be 40,000 – 45,000 words long (they should not exceed this word limit) and should be divided into about 10-15 chapters.

Characters
The main character should be an African woman between 20-30 years old who comes from a middle or lower-middle class background, and who because of her intelligence, ambition and hard work has a bright future ahead of her. She must be realistic - with both good and bad qualities - but not so complex that the reader won‘t be able to relate to her. The heroine should be wholesome, likeable and assertive. She should not be shown to be helpless, or wholly dependent on anyone. Even when she finds herself in situations beyond her control, she should always have an optimistic and proactive attitude.

The heroine’s love interest should be an African man. He is attractive and successful in his own field. While standard careers such as doctors, lawyers and businessmen are welcome, alternative careers such as the arts and in skilled labour (mechanics, carpenters, taxi drivers etc.) should be explored and are encouraged. He should be sensitive and realistic without conforming to the romantic hero stereotype (i.e. domineering, arrogant, and dismissive).

He and the heroine should have a genuine connection beyond physical attraction. They should have something in common. While they may have differences which may be the source of the story’s conflict, they should remain respectful of each other. More importantly, they should be passionate about their desire for each other and everything else they do.

Plot and Setting
The novels should be set in an urban environment. They can feature international locales, but a real (not fictionalised) African city should be where the primary story takes place. The story should reflect contemporary speech patterns and expressions without being pretentious or too localized.

The plot should be fast-paced and entertaining. It should focus on the development of a central romantic relationship while the heroine struggles to realize her ambitions. Don’t dwell too much on her trials and tribulations, rather frame them in terms of how she relates to the people in her life. In other words, no sob stories!

No matter what else goes on, the novels should end on a positive note. Major plot threads should be resolved. The heroine should be or about to be in a promising love relationship by the end, but not by giving up her ambitions or her values.

Point of View
The novels should be written in the third person, preferably from the point of view of the heroine. Other points of view may be employed to add depth and insight to the narrative, but should be used sparingly.

Sub-Plots
Authors are advised to keep sub-plots to a minimum. Interesting minor characters are welcome, but they should not dominate the story.

Don’ts
Profanity, explicit sex scenes, religious or ethnic intolerance are not acceptable. There can be a strong physical attraction between the heroine and her Mr. Right, but it should not be the focus of their relationship. They can sleep together during the course of the novel, but if they do, it should be done tastefully and they must practice safe sex at all times or be able to discuss it.

What to do next? 
Email a 500-word synopsis outlining the characters and the plot of the novel and attach the first 3 chapters of your story as a Word document. Be sure to pay attention to punctuation, spelling and grammar before submitting your sample.

Please include your name (aliases and pen names will only be considered once the manuscript has been accepted), the title of the book, your phone number and email address on a separate cover page. Your name or identity must not appear on the manuscript itself. Please include the title of the manuscript and page numbers at the top of each page. Submissions will not be accepted without this. There is no limit to how many or how often submissions can be made. Please note all rights sold will include print, electronic, film, audio and digital rights.

If your sample is selected, you will be contacted and asked to submit a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the novel. If that is satisfactory, you will be asked to sign a legal contract and submit a completed manuscript within approximately three to four months. So please indicate your availability to start writing with your response. If you have an existing work you want to adapt, please send a synopsis along with a chapter of the work as your submission. All finished manuscripts will be paid for on our acceptance of a completed manuscript. To email your sample and synopsis or for further information, please contact Chinelo Onwualu at: AnkaraSubmissions@gmail.com

You've always craved a publishing opportunity. Here is one. Start writing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

iRead

Interesting Links for the weekend. Have fun!

Reading Marathon.
"The words in the pages spat out libations to the gods in me. I swallowed the libations, revering those gods in me, respecting myself as a vessel that sheltered the gods in me. From thence, reading ceased to be some sort of literary pagan ritual. Reading became sacred. Each book was a prophetic medium that interpreted inspiration into a language I could understand.
In books I found a home for my homeless heart. Books taught me the tenets of tolerance and respect. I learnt love and peace and strength. Books taught me how not to be ashamed of being a young woman, how to embrace the person that I am and the person I am destined to be."
This is one of the responses to the Reading Revolution Project here  by Storymoja.

Now the internet is so annoyingly slow...I was going to add more brief on the project. Go to the link and write about the reasons you love reading. Would be great to read them here too ;) Have a great week!



Friday, March 25, 2011

The Carpenter's Door by Ifelanwa Osundolire

Here's a short story by Ifelanwa. Enjoy it!
Every morning she unlocks the batten doors to the carpenter's shop. A door on which new layers of wood continually struggle to hide old cracks in the strips of old pine panels, flaking paint and nail riddled disguise. Sagging with age but hanging on every other day by the twin hinges on either side, the door shrieks ghostly noises anytime she worked into the night and at such times she would seek the help of a sand filled paint bucket that acted as a doorstop to keep the shrieking door quiet. That sand filled paint bucket had somehow become one with the door. Yet, every time she looks at that door, she sees something new. It was as if the battered door had begun to grow into art by itself.

Today she flings it open, allowing the morning light to wash away the darkness within and giving life to floating sawdust, which a moment ago had not been there. Reaching for the sand filled paint bucket with her feet, she drags it with shuffling obstinacy to the top of the time-grooved arc the door’s displaced bottom hook had scored on the workshop floor over the past ten years. Satisfied the bucket had stayed the sway, she settled in to begin the day’s work when she noticed a face in the flaking paint on the boarded side of the door.

It was an emerging image that stood out on the door as random brush strokes would reveal a face in an impressionist work of utter chaos. The emerging image looked like an anguished man in sorrow, holding his face in the palm of both hands, with his bearded face mapped by the space between his palms. The dully shaded hue of where his palms stopped and his face began was accentuated by the contrast in the bare wood grain patterns that outlined his hands and the pale blue paint on his face that had begun to  green with age. For eyes, the man had holes where nails had once been buried, and the sunken chasm of absent nails in the woodwork was what lent the picture its aura of grief. Slightly beneath those anguished sunken eyes, a triangular contraption jutted out rudely – a piece of wood, which beyond the picture was a triangular section of sawn-off bark that provided a handle for opening the doors from the inside. However, in that instant as she noticed the pains of the sad man in the door, the wedge provided a not so befitting nose but a nose all the same.

Careful to leave the door in the exact angle, she stood unmoving too – for to change position would mean losing the picture. Between her, the door and the grief stricken relief, there was a queer oneness and strange mutual dependence that lasted as long as they all remained faithful and for that time being, faithful she was: her unwavering attention solely on the hollow eyes. Then unexpectedly, and out of character with the paint bucket that always held its place, it lost grip of the bearing weight of the door and let go of its heaving mass.

As the door began its sweeping arc away from the lonely observer, she leapt into the space between the departing door and the doorway and held it back. Careful to drag the door back to its original position before the betrayal, then she stepped back to assume the same position she had been just seconds before but the grief stricken face had gone and now in its place stood a wedge of bark that looked nothing like the befitting nose she had once condemned. She couldn’t tell what had changed. Was it the sun’s angle or the doors position, or the fact that she was not at that exact spot where she stood before? Turning left and right, and adjusting the door here and there, she kept trying to find the man but as much as she tried to bring him back to life, somehow she knew she had lost him forever.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meet Ifelanwa Osundolire

Three words that describe you Happy, dreamy, content

Which talent would you most like to have? Clairvoyance … If that does not pass as a talent, then I will go with being a ‘Virtuoso violin performer’

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Procrastination

What will a book about your life be called? He lived

When did you start writing On a Lot of Things? September, 2008

How did you come by the title of the book? It started off as a magpie collection of musings, poems and shorts stories, and that appeared to be the best suited title

What is the last thing you read that made you laugh? The Puritan Gift by Kenneth Hopper and William Hopper

Who is your perfect audience? The young and the restless

You are an architect; where does architecture merge with literature? The creative process is the same: Both start off as an idea; and the conceiver has to decide from a range of options, how best to bring the idea to life; hoping to lead the reader or the observer back to the original thought – whether it is a building or a story

What is the worth of a book? Its ability to touch a core part of its reader and become part of their life’s experience

How does being a Nigerian influence your writing? It gives me a wealth of cultural experiences to draw from and that is invaluable to the kind of books I long to write

When is the best time to write for you? 4 a.m. in the morning. 4 a.m. precisely

Why short stories? It aligns with my attention span

What is the book that changed your life? Many … but the ones I can remember now are. Future Shock – Alvin Toffler; Brave New World – Aldous Huxley; 1984 – George Orwell; Ake – Wole Soyinka; ati bee bee lo

What inspires your writing? Anything and everything

Define literature in a sentence An expression in words, of our innermost desires

What do you think about the reading culture and publishing industry in Nigeria now? The publishing industry, in my opinion, is latent with capacity to rival any other publishing industry but the reading culture is still nowhere near par. 

How will you introduce your child to writing? Make him or her love to read first

What part of the process of writing do you enjoy most? Rearranging the thoughts to create a structure for the story or article

What is the hardest thing to write about? Politics – I’ve never been able to strike it out with that topic

What is your greatest fear? Not waking up

Who are your favourite writers? Why? Sydney Sheldon and Enid Blyton who illuminated my childhood with so much fantasy, I’ve still not run out of all I gained reading their work.

What wise saying/words/advice keeps you going? There is no such thing as, ‘Impossible’

Read Ifelanwa's stories and review of "On a Lot of Things" here

Monday, March 21, 2011

...Still Bringing Back the Book

"One must however keep in mind though that Nigeria’s “book” or “reading” challenges extend beyond the availability of books or the existence of a flourishing culture of book production and distribution. At the root of the matter are two basic issues: economics, and literacy. In a country where more than half of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line, and where a paperback will consume a chunk of the average monthly income, book-buying remains a luxury, and piracy a major problem."
Extract from Tolu Ogunlesi's article on Publishing Perspectives 

Well, there seems to be a lot of insincerity happening. It is not rocket science, feed the people, maybe they will think of feeding their minds. Till then, we are on a long thing...people will keep chasing the  basics of life rather than the growth of ideas that will enrich their minds. 

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, there is a lot that can be done instead of sinking money in a one-day event which turns out as part-political campaign, part-musical concert, and part-book reading (that's a small part!).  Give us power. Set up an arts grants (and don't put politicians or any untrustworthy art person as its head!). Fix the publishing industry. Fix the book distribution chain (same works with Nollywood and music!) and there is huge opportunity to make money here. But our government would rather organise flash in the pan events. I want change. Not promises. I forget, he may never read this...and maybe his many aides would google GEJ and find this. The issue is ideas are dying by the day...writers are ignoring the power they have to change things because they have to eat. Methinks, it's time for sincere change. 

So sorry to start the week with a rant. And forgive the errors. Have a great week people!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Competition: Naija Stories, Vote Chronicles

The Nigerian general elections are around the corner. The registration exercise has just been completed, and the candidates from the various parties are crisscrossing the nation, campaigning for the votes of the Nigerian electorate. A lot of media attention is being given to the event, and this underscores how important the process of making a choice is, whether at a national level, or even in our individual lives.

So Naija Stories is launching a writing contest called “The Vote Chronicles”. The competition will be centred on the theme of people making – or not making – choices or casting votes, and the process through which they go about doing this. It is our belief that telling and broadcasting stories on this theme will promote a debate about the process itself, and how it is viewed specifically in Nigeria. We also hope it will raise awareness about the April elections, and encourage more people to go out and vote.

Contest Guidelines:

1. Register at Naijastories.com and log in. Then click on the ‘Submit and Edit Stories’ link to the left of the page in the ‘Communities’ section. This will take you to an ‘Edit Posts’ page.

2. Click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top of this page – this will take you to an ‘Add New Post’ page.

3. In the field at the top of the page, enter a title that defines your entry.

4. In the body of the post, put in your entry. All stories must be original and not previously published, and no political essays or commentaries please.

5. Your entry should be a maximum of 600 words.

6. It must be a short story which has as its central theme, the making of choices, or the casting of votes.

7. The contest is open only to members of Naija Stories who have at least 200 points.

8. Put the entry in the category of “The Vote Chronicles” and press the button, “Submit for Review”.

9. All entries that meet the requirements will be published after the submission period.

Dates for Contest:

The contest opens today Monday, March 7th and submissions end on Friday, March 25th.

More info here


Friday, March 18, 2011

Mark Your Calendar!

TGIF. This weekend (and the next!) looks like a blast with events! And yes, Lagos and Abuja. Hippie, for Lagos, it's on the mainland :-)

Have fun with Chimamanda Adichie, the award winning author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of A Yellow Sun and The Thing Around Your Neck. Chimamanda will feature in our 'Naked Truth' Series in partnership with Farafina Books. She will bare all (get your minds out of the gutter) and attendees have the opportunity to ask questions, take pictures, get autographs and get to know more about one of Nigeria's greatest literary exports. This event will be moderated by Mandy of Smooth FM.

In order to adequately prepare for the expected crowd, please confirm your attendance and invite your friends to do the same.

Date: Saturday, 19 March   Time: 3pm-6pm
Place: Debonair Bookstore
294 Herbert Macaulay Street
Sabo-Yaba

RSVP the event here

...and the Abuja Reading
The March (World Poetry Day 2011) edition of the monthly Guest Writers Session will feature 2 great poets - Lola Shoneyin and Kabura Zakama. Lola, will read from 'So All the Time I was Sitting on an Egg' and her other works. The Fulani Poet as Dr Kabura Zakama is popularly known in Abuja and beyond will read from his award winning collection titled 'The Man Lived'

The event will also feature open mic readings by other poets around.The session will also have in attendance as Special Guest, Professor Remi Raji of the University of Ibadan and immediate past Secretary General of P.E.N Nigeria who will be addressing writers in Abuja on his ambition to contest the Presidency of ANA in Abuja, come October.

Venue: French Cultural Center
Date/Time: Saturday March 19, 2 - 5 pm

...and on Monday too
1st Korea - Nigeria Poetry Feast

Nigeria will join the rest of the world on Monday 21st March 2011 to celebrate the World Poetry Day 2011 in Abuja as the Korean Cultural Centre of the Embassy of Republic of Korea, in collaboration with the Write Squad, an Abuja based Literary Club organized the 1st Korea-Nigeria Poetry Feast. The main objective of World Poetry Day is to “support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.”

It is part of various activities the Korean Centre had undertaken in recent times to commemorate its 30 years of bilateral relationship with Nigeria. “It is our desire to further strengthen our relationship with Nigeria and this event has been identified as one of such means because poetry is a tradition that is peculiar to our two nations. It will provide the opportunity to have a feel of the poetry of South Korea by Nigerians and that of Nigeria by South Koreans” Mr. Suh Jeong Sun, the Director of the Korean Centre said.

The poetry feast will feature as Special Guest, the award winning poet and university lecturer, Professor Remi Raji Oyelade. Other poets who will feature include Hajo Issa, Odoh Diego Okenyodo and Lola Shoneyin among others. The event will hold at 4.30pm at the colourful premises of the Korean Centre in Abuja. A cross cultural anthology featuring Korean and Nigerian poets with theme Culture of Friedship will feature prominently in the day’s activities. The organizers revealed that readings will be taken from the anthology which is being processed for publication before the end of the year. Theme for this celebration is Culture of Friendship: Poetry, Culture and Bilateral Relationship.


...and next weekend

R.E.A.D Our Future Initiative, in conjunction with Spicy Media Solutions (SMS), C.R.E.A.T.I.V (a UK-based Charity Org.) and L.O.T.S (Love On The Streets), Presents:

CelebrityRead Africa - 7th Edition!

26th March 2011 @ Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Str., VI - Lagos. 3pm prompt.

Come watch our special celebrities read off their favorite book, alongside invited authors! And get the chance to chitchat and network with them, the students and their fans amidst so much media glitz and grandeur.

Reading:
Monalisa Chinda (Prolific Nollywood Actress/Model)
Kenny St Brown (Gospel HipHop and R&B Singer/Recording Artiste)
Skuki (HipHop Music Duo/Recording Group)
Iceberg Slim (Rap Artiste/Performer)
Mandy Brown Ojugbana (Singer, Writer and OAP)

Special Guest Author:
Okechukwu Ofili (Success Coach, Writer/Author of the book 'How Stupidity Saved My Life')

Live Musical performances by: Eleri, Strings, BuckDee and Rhina. 
Loads of exciting poetry performances. 

Admission is FREE!

Please R.S.V.P the event here
Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

iRead

Eurekanaija is a journal of a young, slightly impatient Nigerian . It covers everything that is a distinct part of being a young adult, being a Nigerian, being a writer, being an engineer, being a dreamer. The primary aim is to improve her writing. We think she is doing it well!

Author-Network is cool for writing news generally. They also organise starting writing contests. 

Kidlit is a site for writers, readers and fans of children’s literature written by Mary Kole, associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency! Learn to make your writing Exciting at Sentence Level 

On Philantrophy Writing, you’ll find thoughtful questions, inspiring stories of giving and service, and good news for a change. I will share stories, quotes and links featuring charitable acts, big and small, and hope to dive deeper into what truly motivates people to give. How do we nurture a spirit of generosity in a culture that has evolved away from community and sharing? Once we have the spark to give, how do we sustain it, while staying present to ourselves? And how can we strike a balance between doing nothing, and hitting compassion fatigue? 

PulpFactionClub is an online initiative aimed at making reading cool and hip again. We explore books and their social relevance. PulpFactionClub creates a virtual platform for no holds barred discussions on books of various genres. Our goal is to form a vivacious community of books lovers.








Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Your Favourite Place to Write...

Here's the Arvon Writing Competition...all the best Bookaholics :)

Enter the competition to win an Arvon week by writing a piece of flash fiction or poetry that describes your favourite writing place. The winning entry will be chosen by Sunday Times journalist Cathy Galvin. Send your story to competition@arvonfoundation.org  by 21 May 2011. Further details can be found on p.11 of the 2011 Arvon course brochure.
 Good luck!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Writing Opportunity

Simerg.com is pleased to make an important announcement regarding the essay contest which was launched recently on this page, following the publication of the widely acclaimed photo essay entitled “The Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park.”

The contest will now be known as the “Mahdiya Essay Writing Contest,” and the awards will include US$1,000 in cash prizes for the 4 winners of  two short essays. The name Mahdiya has been chosen in recognition of the first capital city of the Fatimids which was founded in North Africa by Imam al-Mahdi, the 11th Ismaili Imam and first Fatimid Caliph.

The prizes, distributed in the form of money order/draft, are in addition to the original prizes of the first edition of “The Memoirs of Aga Khan”, the autobiography of Aga Khan III and “Animal Voyage” by Prince Hussain Aga Khan. The exact prize distribution is specified in the contest summary and rules below.

The writing contest will become an annual feature beginning with this 2011 initiative.

The closing date for the two contests has now been extended to March 31, 2011.

Read more here

Friday, March 11, 2011

Writing Advice from Norman Mailer

Famously Norman Mailer spent his life attempting to the write the great American novel. In truth, he came closer than most, publishing over 30 books and winning the Pulitzer prize twice. Here are some writing tips from him.
"Most young writers say the same things different ways. You have to choose the best."

Make a firm commitment to your work: "Over the years, I've found one rule. It is the only one I give on those occasions when I talk about writing. A simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write." (Mailer writing in The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing, Random House, 2003)

Treat facts like an art form: "For me there is very little difference between fiction and non-fiction. I can't bear non-fiction unless it reads like fiction. By which I mean there's a sense of presence, you create a atmosphere, the people are as real in their characters as they are novels…and the story is given to you, which is one of the great benefit of non fiction." (Speaking to Charlie Rose, 2007)

Be controversial: "Look, most writers who are timid are afraid of pissing people off, because they feel they'll lose part of their audience. My feeling has always been that one mustn't be afraid of that. It's much better to write with the notion that if you're good enough, you can change people's lives. That's one of the powerful motives of writing, to feel that you've enlarged other people's consciousness. And the way you do that is you open their minds. Now that can be painful and irritating and annoying or worse for people, but you can't look back." (From Entertainment Weekly, promoting The Castle in the Forest in 2007)

Don't be confined by one particular style: "One of my basic notions for a long, long time is that there is this mysterious mountain out there called reality. We novelists are always trying to climb it. We are mountaineers, and the question is, Which face do you attack? Different  faces call for different approaches, and some demand a knotty and convoluted  interior style. Others demand great simplicity. The point is that style is an attack on the nature of reality. " (From an interview with  Andrew O'Hagan in The Paris Review, 2007)
Know when your work is done: "When I read it, I don't wince, which is all I ever ask for a book I write." (Mailer reflecting on Tough Guys Don't Dance in the New York Times in 1984)

More tips here

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ANA Calls...

The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has announced that it is accepting entries for its 2011 annual literary prizes. A release from the body said both home-based Nigerian writers and those in the Diaspora interested in entering their new works should start sending same for verification now.

Interested participants are to submit six copies of their entries with a cover letter specifying the category being entered for. The entries should reach the ANA secretariat on or before Thursday, March 31.

The entries should not have been entered before and must be works published between 2010 and 2011.The association said that it would not be responsible for entries sent by post nor will it claim registered parcels in cases where it has to pay for such claims. More info here

Monday, March 7, 2011

Language Dilemma

It started with a debate with a friend. License and Licence, which one is British and which is American? Okay, here it is: all in my (British) English language trained mind, I thought Licence with the ‘c’ was American and the other was British. It’s the other way round.

Now, I don’t underestimate my dictionary. I pick it whenever I am unsure of the spelling or usage of a word. That’s just by the way. The debate went into other things. What language should one write in? Your mother tongue which many scarcely understand? English language which itself presents its own challenges? Many people think in English language and don’t trust themselves when it comes to using the language creatively? You need to read a Morrison or an Achebe…Morrison recreates language; she makes it her own…she laces her words with music and symbols that make them look different. Achebe ‘Igbolises’ his words, lasing them with native proverbs and wise sayings. He uses the master’s language to free himself. You literally think that you are hearing English read to you in Igbo. 

There are many varieties of language. Your native language, English language, there is pidgin, there is the new ‘internet language’ exactly what should a writer use to write? Should you just write in a tongue you are comfortable with?

NB. There was the debate, uproar which started with Adaobi Nwaubani’s article. Several have responded. You can enjoy the debates. 




Nigerian's Talk

A Tunaina

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Poetry...

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute.  We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.  And the human race is filled with passion.  And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for."  Dead Poet's Society
So you tell me: Why do you read poetry?
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold, no fire can ever warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically the top of my head is taken off I know that is poetry. These are the  only ways I know it. Is there any other way." Emily Dickinson
When you encounter poetry how do you do? Is it like music that is "all around us and all you have to do is listen" as said in August Rush, the movie? Do you get swept off your feet like you just found new love? Does it give you a rush in your head, goosebumps on your skin?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The worth of a Dictionary

The dictionary is a writer’s Bible. It is to a writer what the hoe is to the farmer, well for those farmers who still use hoes. Just like the farmers, hoes can be found in modern forms now, the dictionary does not necessarily have to be a huge dusty book opened once in a while, it can be carried around, on a computer, on a phone. The dictionary can end many literary debates. It can strengthen a writer’s vocabulary. It can enrich his or her flexibility with words. (Whatever that means! Go figure in your dictionary)

If you don’t have one now, get one!




Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What is Poetry?

There have been diverse definitions of poetry. Poetry itself is not static; it keeps changing daily, attaining new forms. Here are some definitions of poetry from the masters. Now, you tell us, in your own words what you think poetry is. Here are some things some writers think:

“Poetry is the best words in the best order.” ST Coleridge

“Poetry is the spontaneous outflow of powerful feelings.”


"Poetry is just the evidence of life.  If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."  ~Leonard Cohen

"Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary."  ~Kahlil Gibran

"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry."
~Mark Strand, "Eating Poetry," Reasons for Moving, 1968

“Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.”--Aristotle

"There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either."  ~Robert Graves, 1962 interview on BBC-TV, based on a very similar statement he overheard around 1955

"Poetry is what gets lost in translation."  ~Robert Frost

"Imaginary gardens with real toads in them."  ~Marianne Moore's definition of poetry

"A poem is never finished, only abandoned."  ~Paul ValĂ©ry


Happy new month people. Now tell us: what is poetry? Or share your favourite poetry quote.

Have a great March. May you march successfully over those deadlines :-)