Poetry on Moments with Mo

So yesterday was amazing!

Last week I was invited to perform poetry on a Nigerian talk show – Moments with Mo!

They flew me to Calabar yesterday, where the studio is based, and it was straight to the studio from the airport. From there it was make up, dress up and perform.

IMG_20140429_190607After my performance, I was interviewed by the hosts. Everyone was lovely and professional and I had a wonderful time.

I’m back in Lagos now and I’ve been told the episode will air on DSTV sometime next month. I’m already very excited.

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How to Write an Azby or I Really Wanted to Create My Own Poetic Form

I have always wanted to create a poetic form, and I have realized that the way I wrote Black Smile could be a form.

So I would like to introduce you to the newest, coolest, twenty first century, straight from the mind of a gooey-minded girl, poetic form – Azby.

Azby is a playful and flowing form and a great form to attempt if you are a beginner at writing poems using forms (check out my post on The Freedom of Poetry in Form if you are wondering why you should even be using forms).

 

1)      Length: The Azby is flexible in length. It could be as short as three stanzas or as long as 27 stanzas. It always has to be an odd number.

Each stanza consists of two lines (Every stanza is a couplet except for the last stanza).

2)      Rhyme: Each stanza is a couplet (a couplet consists of two lines that rhyme). The rhyme scheme is aa bb cc dd ee and you keep going as long as you want (but you have to stop at zz).

You can use full rhymes and half rhymes (half rhymes are those rhymes that may look like they are meant to rhyme on paper but don’t really rhyme, or have the same fluidity, when spoken)

In the last stanza, the first line rhymes with the stanza above. The last line is a standalone line to give a sense of finality to the poem.

3)      Progression: Ask a question. An Azby is a perfect form for going through your thoughts, delving into a subject, exploring an idea.

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Black Smile

I am committed to writing a post every day for three months! I have skipped one day so far and I am determined that today will not be another (I hate that feeling of guilt, even with the string of excuses I have ready.)

So initially, today’s post was meant to be a How To Write a Villanelle post (coming to you soon) but I couldn’t find a Villanelle that I had created, so I wanted to write a new one but I got all wrapped up in church and ish.

Anyway, to avoid waking up tomorrow feeling guilty…I am posting a poem I wrote a while back. It was created as a result of a poetry prompt – we (my fellow poets and I) were encouraged to write a poem about something without naming it and see if the subject could be guessed.

Here’s mine, let me know if you can guess what/who it is!

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NaijaStories – The Premier Destination for Nigerian Writers and Readers

Naijastories.com was a site that I was introduced to by Farafina. I was actually asked to scout for writers (so if you are posting on Naijastories or any public forum, don’t stop! You have no idea who is watching.) and so began my interest in the site.

On Naijastories.com you will find the good, the bad and the ugly. There will be stories that baffle you mostly because every other word is spelt incorrectly or used inappropriately and then there will be those stories that give you a distinct feeling of hope for the writing industry in Nigeria.

Stories, poems, articles that are uploaded to Naijastories.com are checked by their editors (to make sure it’s all kosher) and once they are posted, comments can be made by the huge community on the website. This is great for the writer that is looking for feedback. Another attractive aspect of Naijastories.com is their regular competitions. They have little competitions and big competitions. I entered one myself:

‘NaijaStories.com is pleased to announce another online writing contest titled “Give us your best Short” to be judged by Chika Unigwe. We want to read your best short story. You can write in any genre, but bear in mind the five elements of a short story – Plot, Point of View, Character, Setting, and Theme. Conflict is not compulsory but it gives your story that extra oomph. We’re looking for really good shorts and winners may be selected for the next NS Anthology. So, Give Us Your Best Short!’

I got as far as the shortlist but no further.

Icatha-FrontIt didn’t end there though, I was contacted a few months later and told that I had been longlisted for the Naijastories anthology which was very exciting. And I was even more amazed to find that my story was the title for the anthology. Now how cool is that!

If this little tale doesn’t convince you to check Naijastories out…Naijastories actually has an arrangement for paying it’s writers on the site!

Keep writing!

The Snow Child – A Review

THE SNOW CHILD

Eowyn Ivey

I picked this book off the shelf because the title suggested itself, and the navy background with white shadowy images of a girl and a fox appealed to me. Every once in a while you score and I certainly reaped the benefits of my choice.

the snow childThe Snow Child is a tale about a childless couple who relocate to the barrenness of Alaska to begin anew. The lives of Jack and Mabel are shaken by the appearance of a mysterious snow child – a young girl who floats in and out of their home and finds a place in their hearts.

I’ll give the title a 10/10. The title simply states what the book is about. Though the main characters are really Jack and Mabel, the inciting incident  takes place when the snow child enters their lives, and the entire story revolves around their interactions and reactions to the girl. What else could Ivey have called it? The white haired girl? Jack and Mabel’s almost daughter? (actually I kind of like that).

There was something distinctly fairytale-like about the story, possibly because Ivey drew inspiration for the plot from a children’s picture book. I found the tale enchanting; it was magical and real, soothing and chilling. It’s the kind of book you want to read by the fireplace, especially as Ivey’s descriptions were so acute that I could feel the Alaskan wind in my bones. Though the plot is derived from another tale, I would still give it an 8/10. After all, there are no really new stories, just new ways of telling them and Ivey found a deliciously new way.

Mabel is a woman haunted by the memories of her still born child and the reality of her barrenness:

 

‘I need peace and quiet, she’d told him more than once. She had withered and shrunk in on herself, and it began when they lost that baby.’

‘He remembered the little girl who had tugged at Mabel’s skirts and called her ‘Mama’, mistaking her for another woman, and Mabel looking as if she had been backhanded.’

Jack on the other hand is a man plagued with the need to provide for is wife in a land that is seemingly as barren as her womb. Ivey’s words reveal the naked needs, fears and desires of her characters. I could relate to and sympathise with the pain and longings of the couple, though they were married and middle-aged. The character of the snow child was unique and engaging and Ivey managed to do justice to the secondary characters in the novel. I would have to give her a 9/10.

Any writer that can make their words flow in the way that Ivey does can count themselves lucky. I have to give the writing 9/10. I loved the ending and it’s a book I know I will be reading again soon.

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