Do you have a yearning to express feelings and ideas using a distinctive style and rhythm? Perhaps you find joy in describing the subjects of love and emotion, or composing rhyming verses to soothe a tortured soul. But who reads poetry anymore?
Modern society contrasts vastly from Jane Austen’s novels depicting the slow-paced early 19th Century Georgian society. Albeit, the world in which all her characters are set depict the joys and sorrows, as well as their loves, in their daily lives. It’s the quiet tranquility of sitting in the drawing room, embroidering, reading poetry and sipping tea that is missing in our hurried 21st Century lives. Human emotion and expectations have not changed, only social hierarchies, gender roles, marriage, or the pastimes of people have been altered. If poetry in Jane Austen’s novels provide an understanding of everyday life, why then are modern poets who have a wealth of social issues to write about not gaining recognition?
Awaken the Poet in You!
A common question is: “What is poetry for?” Because poetry today is mostly perceived as an old-fashioned genre, occasionally stumbled upon in writers’ groups or among creative individuals to “express powerful emotions that deepen insight”, published in literary journals and magazines that are affiliated with colleges and universities, self-published books or to produce music. Poetry [also called rapping among nouveaux rhymesters] in our modern age aims to encourage social awakening.
Lyrics are poems to “delight so that it may inform and illuminate the world”. People still see poetry as a means of expressing powerful emotions, to clarify and express a one-dimensional statement. What to do if you want to take that big step and begin writing [and marketing] your poetry? Begin with immersing yourself in reading poetry of all kinds. Study the masters. Read what your contemporaries are writing about. Learn to distinguish between the different ‘voices’. Browse the Internet for numerous poetry sites. This way you will develop an eye for quality writing, which will help in assessing your own work.
Experiment with different kinds of poetic forms, including free verse, traditional verse, avant-garde poetry, and villanelles, to find your ‘voice’. Search for online tutorials on how to write poetry. Learn all aspects of how to market your work. Surf the Internet for magazines and book publishers to submit your work. Prepare a professional manuscript; choose poems carefully. Keep a record of your submissions [list which poems are sent to which editor]. Learn from rejections; hopefully the editor will provide constructive criticism about your work.
Poetry is a very individualistic genre, but at least consider advice offered. Remember to include a one-page cover letter when submitting your proposal. Use it to tell the editor a little about yourself, mention subjects you enjoy writing about, what direction you desire from your collection of poems. For instance, your intention may be to publish a chapbook or regular poetry book, or transform poems into songs. It is important to copyright your work. Use the © symbol, your name and the year. Speak to an Attorney if you need further information.
Many talented writers of poetry keep a private journal, and have no ambition to publish their work. On the other hand, budding poets who do aspire to have their work widely read need to explore opportunities to promote their talent and their work. Get involved in readings at bookstores and coffeehouses. A writers’ group provides fertile ground for a poet to have their work heard and critiqued; special events attract media coverage, including radio, newspapers and TV.
Have an edition of business cards printed. Create a Website. People pay good money for personalized poems, for events such as weddings, eulogies, funerals, anniversaries, and celebrations like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as well as writing songs. If you love language and literature you may want to consider teaching poetry at high school or college level and beyond. Or you could write a self-study tutorial to teach people who are bereaved to express their emotions through writing poetry. A commercial outlet that could be highly profitable is writing inspirational poetry quotes. Imagine seeing your poems imprinted on T-shirts, mugs, posters, bumper stickers, and hats.
Phineas Chizango is a young man embracing his talent by writing stories and poems. He has captured the heartfelt esteem of locals visiting a public park in Johannesburg. He writes about life as a vagrant, the people he meets on his journey, social ills that beset modern society, and poems on a spectrum of topics. He is especially fond of writing personalized poems about the dogs and their owners spending time at the park. A Good Samaritan created a website to publicize his work: https://phineaspoeticdynasty.wordpress.com/contact-phineas-chizango/. Examples of his work:
In my heart
There is an incurable festering sore
Everyday my eyes release an ocean of tears
A victim of rumor I have become
The jail sentence won’t comfort me
Won’t take my dignity back
Won’t take the fury away
Can only whisper a sigh “At least”
Always feeling empty
Confused like a raven
Hoping to conquer the trauma
The product of the cold hearted
I will be stronger, but
Why did you rape me?
© Phineas Chizango, 2015
The grey voices have grey wisdom
Wrinkles arrive with regret and wisdom
Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be a genius
Could be generous with ears but not all bald heads are virtuous
But he who beckons you from crossroads isn’t your adversary
The grey voices have grey wisdom!
Your faculty choice is the choicest
All that glitters gives a thought about gold
Give your best shot, to the summit you shall shoot
The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory
Define your path of glory during varsity years
Your faculty choice is the choicest!
The nemesis of losing hope is national melancholy
Mzansi’s passion is generational oriented intellectuality mentality
All hard working endowments lead to prosperity
Affronted with rational positive misgiving of intellectuality?
Prerequisite for the nation is verve and virility
the nemesis of losing hope is national melancholy
© Phineas Chizango, 2015