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What Is Poetry, If Not a String of Meaningless Words?

What Is Poetry, If Not a String of Meaningless Words?

by: Mariam Oziohu Abdulsalam

For the sake of this guide, we shall be referring to every other person as laymen, even though they pretend like they aren’t. They have gone out of their way to declare your poetry bad. But we all know, from the deepest part of our hearts, you are the only person on the right track. Shebi you’ve added words together and they even rhyme sef, so where are they seeing the bad poetry from? Ta! It cannot be from you. 

I know you’ve been made to believe that poetry is difficult blah blah blah. All those literature students mumbling about iambs and sonnets, calling big words to make you think you can’t understand or write good poetry. All lies! I’m here to debunk all that myth. Just adhere to my steps and you will see how great a poet you become.

Let’s begin!

Have an Instagram account that is dedicated to posting five-line poems

Instagram poetry is the reigning style of poetry. Everyone there is a poet. The rate at which poetry pages blow up is insane! Who stanza and rhythm don help? When you are not Shakespeare or even J.P Clarke. Abeg no dey dull yourself.  Just mix words together – she was beautiful even when you didn’t notice. Draw a tiny flower or something that looks like a woman’s head beside the words and voila! Poet extraordinaire! Instagram people will connect with anything you write. Ask Rupi Kaur and see if I’m lying. This is the surest way to become a poet. 

Put in less effort

An advice from one poet to another; don’t do too much, don’t try too much. You don’t want to appear desperate. Desperation is a really bad thing in this game. As a poet, you can’t be writing everyday. Any day you remember that you identify as a poet, just rush and write five lines down. It should not pass five lines oo, because people will not read it. No go do oversabi.

Love and heartbreak!

Yes, that’s right. Construct a sentence about the heart. Right there is a magnificent poem. Nothing beats this type of poem because it’s the most relatable. You want us to see that you are capable of love. When your boyfriend/girlfriend buys you something, write a poem. When they serve you breakfast, write another poem. Show us vulnerable and raw. Before you know it, you have a hundred poems on love saying the same thing. All na PR and these laymen are not so bright. They will read anything on this theme.  Check these examples out and lie that your soul is not moved.

– I don’t need ‘anything’ from you. I just want ‘everything’ with you.

– Take me to your heart, I miss home.

– Life without you is colourless.

Remember that you are aiming for overdramatic lines. The cheesier, the better.

Use extremely-tired metaphors

Her eyes like oceans, I could swim in them forever. Don’t let anybody deceive you. There is nothing like cliché metaphors in poetry. These lines never get tired so write wetin you sabi. What do these laymen know? Trying to dictate what is cliché and what isn’t to you. If you like it, write it like that. Who cares if you’ve already used it like ten times?

Channel your poetic voice

This is for my aspiring spoken word poets. You know the voice I’m talking about na. That one that’ll make anything you say sound good. Anything and everything can sound like a poem if you use this voice. Even if na rubbish you write, when you start saying it, e go make sense for ear. People will snap their fingers to nonsense. In fact, they don’t need to hear the words, just be bold. Raise your voice and manifest poetry darling.

Copy other poets

This is an art! And as a poet, you must be good at it. Any poet wey tell you say he no copy na lieeeeeee!. All we do here is copy and paraphrasing. So much work! Again, these laymen simply cannot understand the efforts we put into it. If you know how to copy very well, poetry is the path for you. All the giraffe-ing you’ve done in exams were leading you here all along. You just didn’t know. Copy, write, copy, write. Easy peasy. 

Have a cool sob-story

Nothing makes a poet successful like a good sob story. Tell us how your parents didn’t support your dreams, tell us about the girl that called your work trash, tell us how you used to be awkward and weird in school… until you found poetry. Breathren, concoct that story. This is your ticket into the poet community. This is what would decide if you would be accepted or not. How else would your audience connect with you if that can’t feel the sadness radiating off you. Show them that you are one of them. That you have huge problems too. Na wetin go sell you be that.


Are you even a poet if you haven’t written a poem on police brutality, corruption, black lives matter or tribal conflicts? Every one is eager to read your own view on those violent events. Write a bloody poem. End SARS dada dada da! These poems sympathize with the public and that’s what everybody is writing these days. Join the gang!

Congratulations! you are now a master of poetry. Any layman that tries to defame your work all in the name of constructive criticism, slap the person. How dare they question your skills?

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2 years ago

????? .

2 years ago


2 years ago

Thank you Maryam??

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